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Scotland sets aside 25 million to boost rail freight industry

The Scottish government has announced to dedicate 25 million British pounds (28.8 million Euros) of ring-fenced funds to the rail freight industry. This is supposed to support the sector for the next five years. This commitment was announced by Transport Secretary Michael Matheson during a visit to the Freightliner Terminal in Coatbridge on 9 May.

The fund is open to rail freight industry partners, including Network Rail and Transport Scotland, to table proposals for improvements which meet freight modal shift objectives. Innovative proposals which meet strategic objectives without costly infrastructure upgrades, for example wagons/locomotives or other interventions, are also welcome.

Next 5 years

“This Government has a strong track record of support for rail freight which we are committed to taking forward over the next five year funding period. We know that rail freight and modal shift to rail reduces road congestion, improves air quality, and reduces emissions”, commented Matheson.

“Rail freight services are vital to sustainable economic growth across Scotland. This fund will support the development and delivery of strategic rail freight projects which improve capacity and capability. It aims to build on and complement our existing and future investment in Scotland’s railways.

Network Rail

The secretary noted that it would like to see a sharper business-focus from Network Rail, setting challenging but achievable regulatory targets for freight in terms of average speed, performance and growth.

Paul McMahon, Managing director of Freight and National Passenger Operators at Network Rail, responded by saying: “Over the next five years we have committed to working with our industry partners to get new traffic onto Scotland’s rails and today’s announcement is welcome. We understand that Network Rail is vital to supporting freight growth, but this will only be realised by working in partnership with the wider industry. That is why, in April, we launched the Industry Plan for Freight Growth in Scotland and this will help us to achieve the ambitions set out in that plan.”

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of RailFreight.com, online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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