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FTA welcomes Network Rail’s proposals

For strategic freight network. The Freight Transport Association has welcomed the publication of Network Rail's proposals for spending the £200 million allocated by the Department for Transport for the creation of a Strategic Freight Network. The £200 million was allocated in last July's White Paper as additional monies to be spent between 2010 and 2014 to optimise the rail network for freight usage by seeking to ease passenger and freight train conflicts, and increasing capacity and loading gauge capability for freight along with diversionary routing to allow for more seven day operation and network resilience. This is key to facilitating the increasing number of taller 9'6″ intermodal deep sea containers to be carried from the gateway ports of the south for onward distribution to the rest of the UK.

Network Rail's proposals have been developed in consultation with industry stakeholders including FTA. There is an early commitment to progress a gauge–cleared diversionary route for container traffic from Southampton and capacity improvements for container traffic from Felixstowe.

FTA's Rail Freight Policy Manager, Chris MacRae said, 'This is welcome news and a good plan to prioritise the additional spending that DfT has made available to help optimise the network for freight traffic. FTA has been glad to participate in multilateral and bilateral discussions with Network Rail on this as the work dovetails with freight growth forecasting.

'The Eddington Report stated that investment in transport infrastructure should be focussed on where it would achieve maximum benefits for the UK supply chain – this work on a Strategic Freight Network will help meet that objective.'

The Strategic Freight Network proposals by Network Rail are available at http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browse%20documents/StrategicBusinessPlan/Update/Strategic%20Freight%20Network%20paper.pdf

Updated Rail Freight Forecasts are available at http://www.fta.co.uk/information/rail/r71116forecasts.ppt

The Freight Transport Association represents the transport interests of companies moving goods by rail, road, sea and air. FTA members consign over 90 per cent of the freight moved by rail and over 70 per cent of sea and air freight. They also operate over 220,000 goods vehicles on road – almost half the UK fleet. The main UK rail freight operating companies belong to FTA as do the major global logistics service providers operating in the European and UK markets. www.fta.co.uk

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