Future of Rail Freight

Ross, Malcolm
September 2000
Logistics & Transport Focus;Sep2000, Vol. 2 Issue 7, p53
Trade Publication
This article discusses why the launch of the interim report from the Commission for Integrated Transport, permitting the general use of 44-ton trucks in Great Britain by 2003, has added to the controversy concerning rail freightage. Incentives for 44-ton trucks could mean fewer trucks carrying the same amount of freight on the roads, predicted environmental savings of 35 million pounds, and substantial operational cost savings. On the other hand, possible drawbacks include freight vehicles travelling increased distances and suppression in the movement of freight from road to rail. The rail freight industry claims it could lose up to 20 percent of its business to road operators. To sustain an integrated policy the government must reincentivize the rail freight option, through increased payloads for combined transport movements or by further reducing the cost of licenses for rail operations.


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