Freight takes fright at possible rail plan delays

31 January 2002
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31 January 2002

Freight-dependent supply chains will suffer if improvements proposed by the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) are not implemented quickly, an industry body has warned.

The authority has earmarked £4 billion for freight and logistics projects in its plan.

These include a freight facilities grant scheme for capital projects and the promotion of forward-looking freight technologies with extra funds for innovation in rail-based logistics.

The plan also confirms the creation of a £300 million fund for short-term projects to enhance gauges and reopen branch lines.

It aims to increase freight traffic by 80 per cent by 2010.

But Sarah Watkins, rail freight expert at the Freight Trade Association, said that as the deadline draws nearer, freight's long-term needs must to be tackled.

"The freight strategy is very contained," she said, "and there is no public exploration of the tensions between passenger aspirations and the availability of network routes for freight."

SMjan2002

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