Go-ahead for pounds 220m rail freight link to Chunnel
Monday 10 August 1998
Railtrack, the promoter of the scheme, met transport officials last Friday to discuss funding for the project and is understood to have been given the green light.
The pounds 220m project will allow enlarged "Piggyback" freight wagons to use the west coast main line, leading to a substantial reduction in the amount of freight moved by road.
Under the scheme, freight containers are uncoupled from their cabs and put on to specially-designed rail bogies.
The expressway will come into operation over the next five years and will require Railtrack, owner of the track, signalling and stations of the former British Rail, to widen tunnels and raise bridges on the lines used.
The project is part of an ambitious freight rail network planned by Railtrack. The aim is to triple the amount of freight traffic carried by rail over the next 10 years.
A key consideration will be expanding the busy rail network in the North- east in order to draw freight from the region's roads. Railtrack executives have proposed a pounds 100m scheme which could see lorry loads taken from Ireland to the Continent.
At present containers are unloaded on ports such as Liverpool and cross the country by road to be picked up at Hull.
The route used by lorry drivers is the M62. The motorway is so heavily used that it is congested for most of the day. More than 110,000 vehicles use the M62 daily, of which at least 27,000 are heavy goods vehicles.
Other parts of the scheme include upgrading rail routes to busy ports like Southampton. The most ambitious plans are reserved for the link joining the Channel Tunnel to Scotland.
Railtrack argues that the scheme is not commercially viable without government support. At present the annual rail freight grants budget runs to just pounds 40m. Railtrack has offered to extract pounds 10m a year from that pot for 10 years in order to recoup their spending.
Officials, however, want operators such as English Welsh Scottish (EWS) to guarantee that they will buy rolling stock to make use of the new lines. EWS was formed when 90 per cent of BR's freight business was sold to the American giant Wisconsin Central Transportation two years ago.
Railtrack says that the industry is keen to exploit the new opportunity presented by the "Piggyback" scheme. Ministers want to reverse the historic decline of rail freight.
The share of goods carried by rail in Britain has withered steadily from 40 per cent in the 1950s to 6 per cent last year.
- 1 Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
- 2 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 3 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
The one chart that shows how George Osborne is almost certainly going to be our next Prime Minister
The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
Bono's group has made more money from Facebook investment than from all his music
Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
Wikipedia rocked by 'rogue editors' blackmail scam targeting small businesses and celebrities
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
iJobs Money & Business
£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...
Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses reimbursable: Reach Volunteering: St...