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Upgrade to key strategic rail freight route which will cater for pent-up demand, welcomed by campaigners

27 September 2017

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

The enhancements to the branch line, announced by Network Rail as part of the Strategic Rail Freight Network funded schemes, which will be completed by 2019, will allow another 12 trains in and out of the port each day; this represents a 30 per cent increase on the existing 33 daily rail freight services.

Philippa Edmunds, Freight on Rail Manager, 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 [1] and pollution as well as making road freight more reliable.

She added:

“Research carried out earlier this year for Freight on Rail, sponsored by the Department for Transport (DfT), 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 and 17 per cent of all traffic [2 ]. These additional rail services will remove another 840 large HGVs each day off the route which is the equivalent of around 3360 average cars. [3]

“We urge the Government to prioritize further work on this key corridor, as part of its industrial and emissions strategies, to improve productivity and reduce air and CO2 emissions.”


For further information please contact Richard Watkins on 020 7566 6494 / 07984 773 468 or richard.watkins@bettertransport.org.uk

Notes to Editors 

[1] Government statistics show that HGVs were almost six times more likely than cars to be involved in fatal collisions on local roads in 2015. Source: Traffic statistics tableTRA0104, Accident statistics Table RAS 30017, both DfT published in 2016

[2] Read about Campaign for Better Transport’s research which looked at the economic benefits of using the railways to solve road congestion and improve productivity here – Impact on congestion of transfer of freight from road to rail on key strategic corridors

[3] When extra road space and longer braking distance for trucks are taken into account around 4 passenger car units are applicable for these large HGVs on congested routes. 

[4] The DfT recognises that a cross modal approach to transport planning is needed and they made the following comments on 21 April 2017 when this research was published: “We agree with the Campaign for Better Transport that rail freight offers real benefits for the environment and helps keep bulky loads off of the road network, helping to ease congestion for other motorists. We look forward to using these findings to help inform our coming road and rail strategies and are committed to working with the rail freight industry to support growth of the sector.” 

[5] Network Rail announced that the upgrades, part of the Strategic Rail Freight Network funded projects during Control Period 5, to the branch line between Felixstowe and Ipswich are on schedule to be completed by December 2019.

[6] 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).