Rail Freight's Bright Future

Freeman, Lord
December 2001
Logistics & Transport Focus;Dec2001, Vol. 3 Issue 10, p37
Trade Publication
This article focuses on issues affecting the plan of the government of Great Britain to modernize its rail freight system, reported as of December 2001. First, the rail freight track charges have to be made comparable with road usage charges. That means either an introduction of road tollcharges or decrease in rail usage charges. There must be an equivalence in direct usage charges. Second, the government will have to deal with the review of the Channel Tunnel charges for rail freight. Currently, there is a significant subsidy for rail freight through the tunnel. This needs to be continued for the longer term. Finally, there is a need for a greater degree of guaranteed access to track for freight traffic. The proposed new Central Railway for freight is still an aspiration, not a certainty. In order to deal with the issues, the government needs to have a practical and immediate plan. First, the need to improve marketing of rail freight capability. Second, the government needs to cooperate with France, Belgium and Germany. Third, private investments should be encouraged. Finally, there is a need to increase the political awareness of the importance of rail freight.


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