Government must ensure HS2 delivers on freight

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Freight will only benefit from rail capacity released by HS2 if the government ensures it doesn’t have to compete with passenger operators through the existing train path bidding process, the Freight Transport Association has warned.

The government has unveiled its preferred route for Phase 2 of HS2 from Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to Leeds creating new passenger capacity and freeing up space on the existing network for additional commuter and freight services.

But Chris MacRae, the FTA’s head of rail policy, said: “There is no mechanism in place to guarantee this additional capacity released by HS2 is available for freight. In fact, the government says the released paths will be subject to the usual bidding process.

“Passenger operators will no doubt spot a gap in the market to offer cheaper services than HS2 on the existing lines so freight operators will be competing with them for the freed-up space. If the government is committed to shifting freight from road to rail, more must be done to ensure this happens.”

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