£132m boost for rail freight

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The Department for Transport has announced grants of more than £132 million for rail freight.
The money will be used to improve freight infrastructure on four projects with the aim of removing some 300,000 lorry journeys from the roads every year.
£80m will be used to enhance gauge and capacity for rail freight on the Peterborough – Nuneaton route, providing an alternative to congested rail routes via London.
Almost £43m is being spent to enhance the gauge on the Southampton – Nuneaton corridor – an important link from the port to the Midlands, north west and Scotland.
£8m  will be used to increase capacity on the link between the Humber Ports and the East Coast Main Line, including to the power stations in the Aire and Trent Valleys.
£1.7 million is being provided to improve access between the West Coast Main Line and Liverpool Docks by reinstating a new section of track and enhancing the gauge on two rail routes.
Transport minister Tom Harris said: “”This funding is on top of the £65m the DfT announced earlier this year to support freight through upgrading infrastructure and securing greener ways of moving the nation’s goods. Together, these awards underline the Department’s commitment to improving the rail freight network in this country.”
Lindsay Durham, Freightliner’s head of rail strategy, said: “This announcement for funding which is in addition to the recently announced £200 million to start a strategic freight network will make a step difference in the ability of rail freight operators to move 9’6″ containers on standard wagons from the major deep sea ports.”
Currently, a third of containers passing through Southampton are 9 ‘6 ” high and this proportion is expected to reach 50 per cent by 2012. As they cannot be transported from the port on standard rail wagons, up to 500 more lorry moves per day would be expected by 2012, as the ever-increasing numbers of 9 ‘6 ” containers would be forced onto the roads without this gauge clearance. Freightliner now provides 34 services a day transporting over 225,000 containers per year between Southampton and the Midlands, North East and North West England, Scotland and Wales.

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