Transport Committee roads inquiry supports prioritising rail freight investment
Freight on Rail welcomes the Transport Select Committee’s call for continued investment in the Strategic Rail Freight Network (1), in its Major Roads Inquiry, to help reduce road congestion (2) and secure a low carbon (3) economy but said that the Committee was in danger of downplaying rail freight’s contribution to cutting congestion.
Philippa Edmunds, Freight on Rail Manager said,
“Even if rail only has a small proportion of overall freight flows, it is responsible for a significant amount of the long-distance business, in particular traffic to the major ports, which is forecast to increase fivefold over the next 20 years. This is demonstrated by the fact that rail has increased its intermodal market share during the recession (4) even though imports across the quay have dropped by between 10-20%. For long distance freight, rail freight is already a major player and continued investment will pay off in reduced congestion and lorry traffic.”
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Notes to editors
(1) The Department for Transport’s Strategic Rail Freight Network, is designed to provide a reliable robust strategic network with diversionary routes which will connect national major freight routes including links to the ports..
(2) An average freight train can remove 50 long distance HGVs from our roads and the largest UK freight trains can remove 160 HGVs from our roads – Source Network Rail 2010
(3) Rail freight produces 70% less Carbon dioxide emissions than the equivalent road journey. Rail is therefore more energy efficient than road. Source: DfT Logistics Perspective Dec 2008 p 8 section 10
(4) The intermodal rail figures for the last quarter Q3 were 12% higher than Q3 in 08/09 despite difficult trading conditions.