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Scotland reveals agenda to develop rail freight strategy

GB Railfreight 66709 Sorrento hauls a loaded coal train north of Bank Junction, near New Cumnock on March 15, with the 1515 Greenburn-Drax Power station. DONALD CAMERON.

The Scottish Government, in its latest rail freight strategy published in late March, says it will “consider the barriers to innovation and attracting new freight onto the railway network, and how these can be overcome”.

Among the initiatives aimed at growing rail’s modal share in Scotland is the establishment of a working group - chaired by Transport Scotland and including train operators - to consider how low-bulk goods and parcels can be moved on passenger services. This will report in January 2017.

Meanwhile, the Scotland Freight Joint Board is to commission a study on the potential for an ‘urban freight network’ aiming to deliver goods to and between the centre of cities and large towns. This will report by the end of February 2017.

The Scottish Government says it believes that many of Network Rail’s central headquarters and systems operator functions “could be more effectively carried out if they were fully devolved to the Scottish route”. It argues that such a move would allow “more effective and timely responses to network issues”.

  • For more on this, read RAIL 798, published on April 13
  • For an in-depth interview with Rail Freight Group Executive Director Maggie Simpson, read RAIL 799, published on April 27.

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  • Niall Laybourne - 23/05/2016 20:57

    Interesting..."the barriers to innovation and attracting new freight onto the railway network, and how these can be overcome"...Well, freight companies wouldn't need to innovate if you'd invested in the rail network and why not attract freight onto the rail network by...investing in the rail network! Problem solved. Stop spending £6bn on two trunk roads (transforming them into the equivalent of a 4-track railway) while at the same time NOT double-tracking the Highland Mainline and Inverness - Aberdeen completely. Government needs to show the same commitment to railfreight as it has towards wind energy...then we wouldn't be even having this conversation.

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