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2008 CILT Rail Lecture

Creating a Stronger European Rail Freight Network, Keith Heller, CEO, English, Welsh & Scottish Railway

Cavendish Conference Centre, London. Wednesday 6th February 2008 6.30PM

Keith Heller, CEO of English, Welsh & Scottish Railway, the UK's largest rail freight company, has called for a European freight network without national barriers and boundaries.

In his important speech to many of the UK's leading rail and transport professionals Keith said that now was the time for joining the dots of economic activity. 'There needs to be an exchange of best practice between European companies and national and international growth with a focus on capturing traffic from road and short sea shipping,' he said.

In his high profile lecture he said that rail freight performance is critical for growth and needs to have the same attention as passenger train operation.

For the UK rail network he called for development to meet the wider European gauge, fewer long diversionary routes, the ability to accommodate longer and heavier trains and the removal of bottlenecks. He also expressed concern that new passenger rail developments such as London's Crossrail could harm freight capacity.

Keith is a Canadian in charge of a UK-based organisation now owned by a German company with operations in France and soon Spain and Belgium. As such he has an international perspective on the industry. He believes it is vital for the world climate that more freight is switched to rail. A freight train's emissions are five times better than road for carbon dioxide and fifteen times better than road for carbon monoxide he revealed.

Keith also discussed his ambitions for the future of rail freight. He believes that the potential is for a UK business of 240 million tonnes and a 20% market share of surface freight transport; and that the opportunity exists to develop a strong freight link between the UK and the Continent using the Channel Tunnel and High Speed 1, the new rail line that links Eurostar trains from St Pancras with the Chunnel.

The CILT Rail Lecture is presented annually in memory of former British Rail Chairman Sir Robert Reid.

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in the UK – CILT(UK) – is the professional body for individuals and organisations involved in all disciplines, modes and aspects of logistics and transport. The Institute's 20,000 members have privileged access to a unique range of benefits and services, which are designed to support them, personally and professionally, throughout their careers and help connect them with worldwide expertise.

Visit the web site at: www.ciltuk.org.uk

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