Calls to protect West Coast Mainline freight operations

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The Rail Freight Group has urged the Department for Transport to ensure that plans for the West Coast Main Line franchise support freight growth.

Ministers have pulled the specification for the new franchise, due to be issued last week, with a new ‘radically different’ draft expected this week. This could include proposals for restructuring, such as vertical alignment or integration, rather than just tweaks to the calling patterns and service levels.

Some 40 per cent of all rail freight services currently use the WCML for some part or all of their journeys, and many of the principal rail terminals are located on the route.

Maggie Simpson, RFG policy manager, said: “The West Coast Main Line is no place to test out radical reforms. We urge ministers to ensure that the new specification does not hamper the legitimate business prospects of open access freight operators.”

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