Freight grant cuts will hit rail

CUTS to the Mode Shift Revenue Support, which helps companies move goods by rail instead of road, could impact the Daventry to Grangemouth and other intermodal services.

One train that could be affected by the cut in the Modal Shift Revenue Support (see p8) is intermodal working 4S43 from Daventry to Grangemouth, seen here at Docker with Nos. 68002 and 68023 in charge on March 24. CAMERON WALKER

In what has been called a ‘penny-pinching move’ the Department for Transport is cutting £4.2million from the current support grant of £19.9m, with a further cut to £15.2m planned for 2018/9.

The result is that freight subsidies will be cut, and for some logistics companies it could tip the balance to return to road haulage.

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Ken Russell, joint owner of Russell Logistics, has said his firm would seriously consider buying around 100 new trucks and moving more of its operations to road after losing its MSRS grant.

Mr Russell estimated it could put 190,000 extra lorry movements on the road.

Maggie Simpson, executive director of the Rail Freight Group, told The RM: “We are very concerned over the impact of this, particularly on domestic intermodal services such as Daventry to Grangemouth for retail traffic.

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“These have been particularly badly affected by the reduction, and operators and customers are now looking at how best to proceed. There is a very real risk of volume being lost to road.

“We are raising it with DfT, which is engaging, but there is no positive news yet.”

■ See editor’s comment on page 3

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