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Rail freight not playing a big enough role in serving North East

Published 23 March 2017 by Colin Howden

Commenting on Transport Scotland’s announcement of a dedicated team to look at options for rail capacity improvements between Aberdeen and Dundee, David Spaven, the Scottish representative of the Rail Freight Group said:

“The new team is welcome, but the proof of its value will be in the quality and timescale of delivery of transformative rail improvements. Rail freight is not playing a big enough role in the North East at present, partly because the route infrastructure cannot readily accommodate the longest possible freight trains. With longer loops en route from Central Scotland to Aberdeen, longer trains will allow rail hauliers to compete more effectively with road haulage prices.
 
“The rail industry, potential customers and the Scottish Government all have a part to play in securing modal switch in sectors such as bulk whisky and frozen and chilled goods – with the big prize being hundreds of thousands of heavy lorries taken off trunk roads every year.”

Paul Tetlaw of Transform Scotland commented:

“This is a welcome development and step in the right direction but we need to see steps converted into actions. A timescale of up to 10 years is far too long: the rail infrastructure serving Aberdeen compares very badly to cities of a similar size in Europe. A comparable European city would enjoy fast inter-city links, a regional network and most likely some from of light rail system.”