Written evidence from DB Schenker Rail
UK Ltd (HSR 75)|
1. DB Schenker Rail is pleased to submit evidence
to the Transport Committee's Inquiry into the Strategic Case for
High Speed Rail. Our evidence focuses on:
(a) The experience of freight and High Speed
(b) The strategic importance of additional UK
rail capacity for rail freight growth.
We would be pleased to provide oral evidence to the
Committee if required.
2. DB Schenker Rail is the largest UK rail freight
operator. DB Schenker Rail moves around 80 million tonnes / 10
billion tonne kilometres of freight a year and employs 3500 staff
in Great Britain. Besides transporting coal for electricity generation,
steel and petroleum, we move stone, deep-sea containers and operate
international freight services through the Channel Tunnel in connection
with our open access freight business in France and Spain. DB
Schenker Rail is wholly owned by Deutsche Bahn AG, the second
largest logistics provider in the world.
3. Rail freight produces between three and four
times less CO2 per tonne moved than road haulage and up to ten
times less polluting emissions. Whilst rail must continue to reduce
its own carbon footprint, its primary contribution to Climate
Change is to continue to attract traffic from more polluting modes.
4. Rail freight in Britain has been one of the
success stories of privatisation and has grown by over 60% in
the last fourteen years, increasing its surface market share from
8% to 11.5%. At the same time the industry has become more efficient
with DB Schenker Rail having reduced key asset numbers and costs
by over 30% in the past five years. Although rail freight volumes
reduced during the recession, the industry continues to invest
in the firm expectation that absolute growth, as well as increased
market share, are achievable.
5. Rail freight industry forecasts, endorsed
by the Department for Transport and Network Rail, suggest a doubling
of rail freight activity by 2030. The rail industry's "Planning
Ahead" document anticipates an increase in rail freight's
market share from 11.5% to 20%. Growth in rail freight will form
a key input to the rail industry's Initial Industry Plan that
will inform both the forthcoming Periodic Review by the Office
of Rail Regulation and be part of the industry's response to the
McNulty Value for Money report.
6. Increasing rail's market share is perfectly
feasiblecritical to this will be both the development of
both new terminals and the Strategic Freight Network (see http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/strategyfinance/strategy/freightnetwork.
). The West Coast Main Line is a key artery of the Strategic Freight
Network and growth on the WCML is vital to achieving the growth
forecasts for freight. The experience of rail freight and High
7. The proposals for freight on High Speed Two
are similar to those that have applied to High Speed One:
(a) The infrastructure was designed to accommodate
some level of continental gauge freight traffic (eg freight loops,
connections at Dollands Moor & Barking).
(b) Potential traffics were assumed to be higher
speed than conventional international rail freight, for example
mail or express traffic.
(c) Operation of freight trains would be only
at night, possibly under single line working conditions, whilst
the infrastructure was maintained.
8. Technical barriers to the operation of freight
on HS1 are finally in the process of being overcome and one Class
92 locomotive has been successfully modified to operate on HS1.
Trials are underway and it is anticipated that some level of night-time
continental gauge freight service will commence between the Channel
Tunnel and east London during 2011.
9. These are likely to be at a conventional speed
of 75mph initially and possibly at a lower speed of 60mph in due
course. There have been technical issues to overcome with the
cab signalling system to operate at these speeds, but with the
assistance of EU Marco Polo funding these are being overcome.
10. One lesson from HS1 is that High Speed Lines
may turn out to offer genuine opportunities for conventional speed
freight (75mph or even 60mph) as well as higher speed freight
and it would be unwise to rule these out at this stage.
11. DB Schenker Rail therefore supports:
(a) making the infrastructure of High Speed 2
freight-compatible and ensuring there is passive capability provision
(b) making operations on High Speed 2 compatible
with those on High Speed 1 and the Channel Tunnel wherever possiblefor
example the cab signalling system; and
(c) physically linking High Speed 1 to High Speed
2 to offer continental gauge freight opportunities from the Channel
Tunnel to the Midlands and, potentially, the North.
12. DB Schenker Rail agrees that the most significant
benefit for the UK rail freight industry and its customers from
High Speed Two would lie in the capacity a new line would release
to support growth in freight operations on the West Coast Main
Line and other existing routes.
13. Whilst we welcome the prospect of additional
capacity being made available through the construction of HS2,
this will be of less use if it does not align with paths through
to north west England and Scotland.
Although we expect growth in services on West Coast
south, particularly in the domestic sector, growth from the deep
sea ports at Southampton and Felixstowe joins the corridor in
the West Midlands area and is unlikely to benefit significantly
until HS2 is open as far as Manchester.
14. However without significant additional capacity
on the WCML, the industry's plans for modal shift will be severely
constrained. Each intermodal freight train on the WCML replaces
up to 112 lorry journeysthe equivalent of up to 30,000
lorry journeys per annum for each train.
15. Modal shift between road and rail using the
released capacity on the WCML can therefore play a key role in
promoting sustainable transport and helping the UK meet its carbon