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Railhub Archive
1997-02-05 RTK-002
Railtrack plc


Railtrack objects to heavier lorries

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Railtrack plc

Railtrack objects to heavier lorries

5 February 1997
source Railtrack plc
type Press release

Railtrack today submitted to the Government its objections to a scheme to allow heavier lorries on Britain's roads.

The Department of Transport's proposal to allow 44 tonne lorries to carry goods across the country would reverse at a stroke the benefits of all Government efforts to encourage freight on to the railway since 1974, they have been told.

Studies by Britain's largest rail freight operators indicate that as much as 20 per cent of rail freight business could be at risk - a figure greater than that brought on to the railways by Government grant assistance. Allowing heavier lorries would undermine the Secretary of State's policy to move more goods by rail. Railtrack's Head of Freight Robin Gisby said:

"This proposal would seriously affect both our existing business and a number of the major projects we are working on to boost rail freight over the next few years."

The scheme would also mean more noise, pollution, congestion and wear and tear on Britain's already busy roads as they carried an estimated extra three billion tonne kilometres of freight every year.

Railtrack's civil engineering specialists have examined the consultation document, which was not addressed to either Railtrack or the Rail Regulator, and believe that it has underestimated the impact of heavier lorries on bridges not originally designed to take such stresses. They question the claim that allowing 44 tonne trucks will reduce the number of lorries on the road.

Railtrack owns more than 6,000 road over rail bridges which will be affected by the scheme, and has already ring-fenced funding for strengthening works. This is only a small proportion of the nation's bridge stock which has to be upgraded to carry heavier lorries.

Railtrack has told the Secretary of State that it would be happy to discuss the proposals in more detail before a decision is reached.

Railhub Archive ::: 1997-02-05 RTK-002


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