Text Size

Current Size: 100%

Government needs to act on its own recommendations to upgrade key rail freight port routes

24 April 2018 

Welcoming the Department for Transport (DfT) Ports Connectivity Study, issued today, Philippa Edmunds, Freight on Rail Manager at Campaign for Better Transport said:

“This study, acknowledges that upgrading the rail freight connections to our ports is critical to providing sustainable efficient freight distribution and identifies key routes which need enhancing. This study is all very well, but we now need action the Government needs to get on and commit funding to these projects to make them happen. The strong benefit cost ratios for freight enhancements, typically in the range of 4:1 to 8:1, should be factored into investment planning.”

Research commissioned by Campaign for Better Transport, sponsored by the DfT and mentioned in this study, demonstrated that upgrading the rail routes out of the two largest container ports, Southampton and Felixstowe, could remove 2,000 large HGVs each day which equates to 8,000 average-sized cars from both the A14 and A34; further research also showed that these enhancements would reduce air pollution by ten per cent on each corridor too.

Targeted rail freight investments work; within a year of the completion of the gauge upgrades on the A34 route out of Southampton, rail’s share of the market increased from 29 to 36 per cent, showing that there is considerable suppressed demand for more rail freight services.


For further information contact Philippa Edmunds on 020 8241 9982 or 07593976548.

Notes to Editors

  1. Transport Infrastructure for our global future: A study of England’s Port connectivity and England’s Port Connectivity: the current picture – nine regional case studies, are available from the Department for Transport.
  2. The A14 and A34 roads have up to 6,500 of the largest HGVs (five and six Axle articulated lorries) on the corridors each day, between ten per cent and 17 per cent of all traffic.
  3. Rail is the best way to deliver long-distance consumer freight - the largest HGVs make far more longer distance trips than smaller trucks –  a quarter of all their trips are over 300 kms. Source. DfT CSRGT data.
  4. Freight on Rail is a partnership of the transport trade unions, the rail freight industry and Campaign for Better Transport.
  5. Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).