Rail plan blow for freight operator

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EWS has criticised the decision to complete modernisation of the West Coast Main Line by December 2008, rather than May 2009 arguing that it will damage its rail freight business.

The Office of Rail Regulation gave the go-ahead to the proposal by Network Rail which would hasten completion of the project but at the cost of greater disruption in the process.

The operator, which is now part of German Railways, is seeking a meeting with the Office of Rail Regulation “to gain a full understanding over why this decision made, to ask what will be done to mitigate the impact these closures will have on freight customers and to find out how the ORR will ensure that the outputs from the enhancements meet the future needs of rail freight”.

Graham Smith, EWS planning director, said: “The West Coast Main Line is crucial for freight customers with 43 per cent of all freight trains operated each day using the route, all integrated into the supply chain of British industry. While the Office of Rail Regulation is conscious of the adverse impact on rail freight their decision will have we need to understand how the ORR will protect freight during the enhancement works. You can’t put freight on rail replacement buses.”

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