We’ve been pointing out for some time that HS2 is needed to provide capacity for freight services as well as passengers.
It was interesting to read the Rail Freight Group (RFG) has written to Philip Hammond, the Secretary of State for Transport, urging him to stand firm on his commitment to the High Speed 2 project.
Tony Berkeley, Chairman of the RFG, believes more capacity is urgently needed for freight and it’s not difficult to see why when North-South container traffic has grown by 56% in the last eight years.
HS2 is often attacked on environmental grounds by commentators who are not willing to suggest or debate alternatives. So Mr Berkeley’s next point is particularly interesting:
“If freight does not go by rail, it will go by road, adding some 200 trucks an hour shared between the M40, the M1 and parallel ‘A’ roads, and adding 500,000 tonnes per year to our transport related output of CO2.
Mr Berkeley says that if longer distance WCML passenger services were transferred to the high speed line, capacity on the former would be released for freight.
He urges Mr Hammond to stand firm and go ahead with HS2.
“So we urge you to stand firm against those who are seeking to prevent HS2 happening; the country needs it, and freight needs a significant part of the capacity freed up to meet the demands of its customers for a more carbon friendly form of transport, and keep all those lorries off the road!”
You can read the Group’s letter here.