Rail freight promoted by new industry initiative

May 20 2015  

Rail freight promoted by new industry initiative
Making rail freight the preferred means of supplying material to major infrastructure schemes is among the aims of a new joint initiative launched by the Rail Freight Group and the Mineral Products Association.
The initiative, entitled ‘A Commitment to the Future’ sets out five key measures that the partners will take to develop the UK’s freight logistics. These include supporting development of the rail network and terminals so that major routes can routinely accommodate trains of 450m length, with 2000t of payload.
“We need to unlock the full potential of rail for transporting key materials such as aggregates and cement from production sites to construction markets and to help ensure future national demands can be met,” said Mineral Products Association director of economics Jerry McLaughlin.
The partnership said that over the last decade the construction sector has been increasing its use of rail for freight transport, with industry forecasts predicting further growth of around 2.5% per year.
One example of recent good practice can be seen on the West Coast Main Line, where a siding has just been completed at Little Bridgeford (pictured), allowing track materials and ballast for the Stafford Area Improvements Programme to be delivered by train.
Staffordshire Alliance manager Matt Clark said: “We’re delighted to have the railhead in place. It is great news for the local community as we can take traffic off the roads and deliver our materials direct to the site without affecting the running of the railway.”
The Staffordshire Alliance – a partnership of Atkins, Laing O’Rourke, Network Rail and VolkerRail – is currently working to deliver £250M of investment in the area including new signalling equipment, line speed improvements and a new rail over rail flyover at Norton Bridge.
(Photo: Network Rail)

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