High Speed 2 needed for rail freight growth

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The Rail Freight Group has called on transport secretary Philip Hammond to stand firm on his commitment to the High Speed 2 project, arguing that more capacity is needed to move containers on the West Coast Main Line.

RFG chairman Tony Berkeley forecasts that by 2030, with traffic from the London Gateway and other developments added, freight will need six paths an hour in each direction on the WCML just to keep up with demand.

“If the longer distance WCML passenger services were transferred to the high speed line, capacity on the former would be released for freight,” he said.

Ministers had to resist any temptation to offer non-stop tilting trains every five minutes from Milton Keynes to London as ‘compensation’ for the construction of the high speed line.

“If freight does not go by rail, it will go by road, adding some 200 trucks an hour shared between the M40, the M1 and parallel ‘A’ roads, and adding 500,000 tonnes per year to our transport related output of CO2,” he said.

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