HS2 ‘good news for rail freight’

The Rail Freight Group (RFG) has welcomed the announcement by the Secretary of State for Transport Justine Greening MP that the Government will go ahead with HS2 from London to Birmingham.

It cautioned however that the development of the route ‘must also work to support rail freight growth’.

The development of High Speed 2 (HS2) will provide ‘significant new capacity, freeing up rail paths on the existing network’.

These paths are ‘vital to enable more rail freight, particularly containers, to move between major UK conurbations’.

Container traffic has grown by 56% in the last 8 years, and customers, particularly in the retail sector, are pressing the rail freight industry to take more of their goods by rail, for reliability, price and low carbon reasons.

However, RFG urged the Government to ensure that HS2 delivered on its promises for rail freight by;

  • Committing now to ensuring released paths on the West Coast Main Line are available for freight
  • Building a high gauge connection between HS2 and HS1 so that niche high speed freight services can use the route in the future
  • Ensuring that, prior to the opening of phase 2, freight capacity on the line is not compromised where high speed trains re-join the existing network.

RFG Chairman Tony Berkeley commented:

“We congratulate the Government in standing firm and announcing the go-ahead for this vital transport link.

“We urge it to press ahead with HS2 with the minimum of delay as a means, not only of delivering much needed capacity on this corridor, but of making a major contribution to reducing the carbon emissions from road freight transport that is can unlock.”

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