Monday, February 22, 2010

Rail Freight Update for February

Snippets of Some of the Things Happening on Tracks World Wide
Shipping News Feature

AUSTRALIA – BALTIC STATES - UK – The transfer of state rail freight and coal transport assets to private hands, details of which we reported on at the end of last year, is said to be proceeding according to plan according to state contacts. The latest information is that almost all staff associated with the proposed new QR National Company are happy with the agreements in place for the exchange which is envisaged in a few months when the deal goes to market.

After our rail freight review in November this week saw consultants AECOM capturing the contract to study the feasibility of constructing a 1435mm gauge rail link between Tallinn in Estonia through Latvia and Lithuania and the Polish border to tie up with services there. Tallin has just announced increases in port traffic of over 25% in January with over 3 million tonnes of container and general freight throughput for the month.

AECOM were in the news recently when they declared they were investigating the viability of a rail link from the Daventry rail terminal to a new multimodal facility at Holyhead opening up the route into Ireland, the so called “land bridge” from the centre of the UK. They are also concerned with studying proposals for an inter modal freight terminal at Shotton to transfer more cargo from road onto the rail link.

All over the UK there are calls to reinstate some of the branch lines closed due to Dr Beeching’s swingeing cuts of the 1960’s. Although many of these are often passenger related they normally carry a rider regarding rail freight and all over the country we see a drive toward more multi modal operations with an equal number of objections from local groups. The Campaign to Protect Rural England have just launched a website “Stop Big” to try and prevent a typical proposal, this one at Borough Green in Kent whilst neighbouring Bearsted has its own commentators.

The latest proposal is for the old line between Plymouth and Exeter to be reinstated, much of the track work already in place and the redevelopment would not have a serious impact on what is a comparatively rural area.