Freight customers shift to train travel

1.5.2011 (Financial Times)
By Robert Wright, Transport Correspondent

Full article at
(excerpts below ….)
The article deals with moving freight from road to rail. However, each year some
86,000 tonnes of freight are transported within the UK (2010) – and this is a
very fuel-inefficient means of transport.

High fuel prices for trucks, growing road congestion and increasing environmental
concerns are gradually pushing some of the UK’s highest-profile freight customers
to shift traffic on to trains, according to senior logistics and rail executives.

The revival has seen increasing numbers of operators transporting containers
between retailers’ distribution centres within the UK by rail, rather than only
from ports to customers’ main centres.

It has been encouraged by the completion of two projects to allow the latest,
larger shipping containers to travel more easily by train.

Major retailers including Asda, Tesco and Marks and Spencer have all recently
moved traffic on to rail.

Fuel typically accounts for 10 to 15% of the costs of a freight train – which
may carry as many as 43 containers – while it can account for 40% of the costs
for a truck, which generally moves only one box.

………….Freightliner and other operators have also benefited from work by
Network Rail, the rail infrastructure owner, to raise bridges and lower tracks
to allow 9ft 6in-high containers to run on normal wagons on more of the rail network.