Monday, March 3, 2014

Rail Freight Group says Faster Cargo Logistics and a More Efficient Supply Chain is Possible

As Independence Referendum Looms Upgrading Northern Infrastructure Would Benefit Shippers as Well as Passengers
Shipping News Feature

UK – (but for how much longer?) – With Scottish independence to be decided in just over six months’ time, there is a somewhat unreal air about all matters Caledonian at the moment, and spending on transport infrastructure is bound to be a key, but uncertain, issue for many in the logistics business. Now the Rail Freight Group (RFG) has spoken up on one key factor in the supply chain, the radical upgrade of Scotland’s rail capability north of the Central Belt, with its firm support going behind the recently launched ‘Inter-City Express’ campaign.

The campaign will be seeking support from across the whole of the country, from Scottish businesses and business groups such as Chambers of Commerce, Local Authorities and Regional Transport Partnerships, politicians, media outlets, campaign and community groups and other organisations and individuals in order to move forward its vision of a better transport future for Scotland and RFG’s Scottish Representative, David Spaven, commented:

"The great thing about radically upgrading the rail infrastructure north of the Central Belt is that freight transport would benefit enormously, as well as passengers. With a fit-for-purpose Perth-Inverness railway, for example, we could increase the number of daily freight trains from two to as many as eight in each direction. That’s the equivalent of taking more than 300 lorries off the A9 every day.”

There are three key elements which impinge directly on the cargo carrying availability should the scheme go ahead as proposed. Firstly by doubling and electrifying the largely single-track Inverness-Perth railway the capacity of both passenger and freight traffic would be dramatically increased. Secondly transit times from Inverness, Aberdeen and Dundee to the Central Belt through the electrification and doubling of single-track pinchpoints would result in reduced transit times. Finally the provision of more stretches of double track and extra crossing loops on the long-neglected single-track rail line from Aberdeen to Inverness would usher the route into the 21st Century.

Photo: A train laden with shipping containers passing through Perth, courtesy of RFG.