The Freight Transport Association (FTA) is pressing the Government for assurance that freight will benefit from released capacity on the southern West Coast Main Line (WCML) once HS2 has been built.
The Second Special Report by the HS2 Bill Select Committee, which was published this week, recognised the need for greater engagement with the freight industry to allow time to exploit the additional capacity that will be released once HS2 is operational.
However, the report fell short of binding commitments on freight capacity.
Chris MacRae, FTA’s Rail Freight Policy Manager, said: “FTA first petitioned Parliament in 2014 regarding the HS2 Hybrid Bill to reflect our members’ concerns over rail freight capacity and was called to provide evidence to the Committee last month. Chief among these concerns was the lack of any guarantee for capacity to be released to freight on the southern WCML once HS2 has been constructed.
“While the Committee has clearly recognised the need for early engagement with the rail freight sector, FTA is seeking firm assurance in the form of binding commitments that it will benefit from the additional capacity that will become available.”
FTA and the other freight petitioners were called in January to give oral evidence to Committee. FTA’s Rail Freight Council had agreed not to withdraw its petition on HS2 freight matters and to seek contractual undertakings on a number of issues including Anglo Scottish freight, protection of freight capacity following completion of phase 1 and commitment to expedite phase 2 to Crewe.