Campaigners welcome upgrade to key strategic rail freight route

Campaigners welcome upgrade to key strategic rail freight route

Campaign for Better Transport has welcomed increased capacity for freight trains from Felixstowe which its says will cater for the immediate, suppressed demand for rail freight services.

Network Rail recently announced that the upgrades to the branch line between Felixstowe and Ipswich are set to be completed by December 2019. The upgrades, part of the Strategic Rail Freight Network funded projects during Control Period 5, will allow another 12 trains in and out of the port each day, a 30% increase on the existing 33 daily rail freight services.

Philippa Edmunds, Freight on Rail Manager (pictured above), said: "These additional rail freight services can be filled almost immediately as shippers have been demanding additional rail services on the parallel rail route to the A14 corridor for years. Increasing long-distance consumer rail freight will reduce road congestion, road crashes and pollution as well as making road freight more reliable.

"Research carried out earlier this year for Freight on Rail, sponsored by the Department for Transport, showed that the A14 corridor from Felixstowe had up to 6,500 of the largest HGVs, 5 & 6 axle articulated lorries, on the corridor each day which represented between 10 -17% of all traffic. These additional rail services will remove another 840 large HGVs each day off the route which is the equivalent of around 3360 average cars."

She added: "We urge the Government to prioritise further work on this key corridor, as part of its industrial and emissions strategies, to improve productivity and reduce air and CO2 emissions."