The Freight Transport Association has welcomed the announcement by the Government of a £200 million investment fund in strategic rail freight enhancements for England and Wales.
The announcement was published as part of the Department for Transport High Level Output Specification (HLOS) and Statement of Funds Available (SoFA) between 2014 and 2019 for railways in England and Wales.
According to the HLOS, the fund should improve the current strategic rail freight network. Additional investment in schemes such as the "Electric Spine" corridor of electrification linking Yorkshire and the West Midlands to south coast ports will benefit freight as well as passenger traffic, and will be accompanied by loading gauge enhancement for taller shipping containers.
FTA’s Rail Freight Policy Manager, Chris MacRae, welcomed the news as good for the continuing development of Britain’s trade links and connectivity, modal shift and the environment.
He said: "Rail freight has already benefited from an equivalent freight focussed scheme in 2009 to 2014, so it is great that this investment is to continue; this has been a key objective of ours."
FTA continues its efforts to promote and support modal shift within the industry and MacRae stated that this investment will assist those wishing to make the shift to rail by enhancing the infrastructure to facilitate this.
He continued: "FTA has already lobbied the Government and Parliament on key rail freight infrastructure enhancement schemes. The announcement of the fund for the Strategic Freight Network, together with the additional investment schemes that will benefit freight as well as passenger traffic, is welcome progress on these objectives."