18 July 2012
Government investment for rail freight
Manufacturers who move goods by rail will be heartened by the government's announcement this week of a £9 billion investment for the rail freight network.
As part of the package, transport secretary Justine Greening said £200m would be available for the development of the Strategic Rail Freight Network, which will enable key schemes to be developed, including the upgrade of major container routes from the deep sea ports.
Greening said the plans for network improvements would be "absolutely key to securing our country's prosperity in the decades ahead".
An'electric spine' will be developed, running from Yorkshire and the West Midlands to ports on the south coast, allowing more reliable electric trains to reduce travel times and boost capacity for those moving freight.
The investment will also fund completion of the 'northern hub', a cluster of rail improvements, with track and capacity upgrades in Manchester city centre, Manchester Airport and across to Liverpool. These are in addition to northern hub schemes already approved, such as electrification of the North Trans Pennine route between York and Manchester.
The announcement is in addition to £30m committed by the Scottish government for the development of rail freight schemes in Scotland.
The Rail Freight Group welcomed the news. Policy manager Maggie Simpson said: "We are delighted the government has demonstrated its commitment to the rail freight sector, with the benefits it brings to the environment, road congestion and the economy.
"This package of investment will support future growth and enable freight operators and customers to develop ever more efficient and innovative services."
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