Funding for rail freight

The Department for Transport has announced funding grants of more than £132m towards supporting rail freight. The awards have been granted to improve freight infrastructure on four projects across the country and reduce dependency on road transport, removing around 300,000 lorry journeys from Britain’s roads every year.

Funding of £80m is being awarded to enhance gauge and capacity for rail freight on the Peterborough – Nuneaton route, providing an alternative to rail routes via London.

Almost £43 million is being provided to enhance the gauge on the Southampton – Nuneaton corridor, which links one of the UK’s major ports with Birmingham, the north west and Scotland through the West Coast Main Line.

A further £8m of funding has been awarded to increase capacity on the link between the Humber ports and the East Coast Main Line, and £1.7m is being provided to improve access between the West Coast Main Line and Liverpool docks by reinstating a new section of track and enhancing the gauge on two rail routes.

‘This improved infrastructure we are funding will make a significant contribution to reducing road congestion, carbon and environmental emissions, as well as supporting the future growth of our economy,’ said Transport Minister Tom Harris

‘This funding is on top of the £65m the DfT announced earlier this year to support freight through upgrading infrastructure and securing greener ways of moving the nation’s goods. Together, these awards underline the department’s commitment to improving the rail freight network in this country.’

Network Rail will start the construction of these projects in early 2008. All the schemes are expected to be complete by 2011.