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HS2 has the green light: now it must deliver for logistics


FTA is relieved the government has provided clarity on HS2, but logistics businesses now need a guarantee it will use the high-speed rail line to free up space for rail freight services on existing lines. The business group is also calling on the government to commit to a nationwide programme of upgrades to the rail network; HS2 will not solve capacity issues in other regions.

Alex Veitch, Head of Multimodal Policy at FTA, said: “FTA is calling on the government to provide reassurance that HS2 will release much-needed capacity for rail freight services on existing lines once operational; the UK’s rail network is bursting at the seams and too often freight loses out to commuter and leisure services.

"With HS2 trains able to carry more than 300,000 people per day, the shift in traffic will release significant capacity on existing lines; FTA is seeking a guarantee from government that this capacity will not be pre-allocated to passenger services, but instead made available for bids from freight operators, in a fair and transparent way.

“While FTA and its members appreciate the clarity this decision provides, HS2 should be considered as just one element of a nationwide strategy to upgrade the rail network; this is long overdue. For example, we need to see upgrades to freight facilities on the trans-Pennine network; this area is currently excluded from a broader programme of upgrades, which is a missed opportunity in the view of FTA.

"We would also like to see the complete electrification of the network so rail freight can become the first zero carbon freight mode, and the delivery of the Strategic Freight Network, which is a suite of projects aimed at unlocking freight capacity on the conventional network. As the UK transitions to a net-zero emission economy, rail will play a much larger role in logistics; the government must ensure the framework is in place to enable this transition.”

www.fta.co.uk/rail

Published On: 02/03/2020 12:22:06

 

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