Freight gives up 4,700 spare paths to create extra capacity

RAILFREIGHT companies have given up almost 50% of their timetabled (but unused) weekly paths as part of an industry-wide initiative to create extra capacity on the national network.

The decline of traditional freight traffic has freed thousands of train paths across the country, some of which will be used to reduce congestion, while others will allow new passenger and freight trains to run – especially intermodal traffic, which continues to grow in importance. On May 6, 2015, Freightliner No. 66419, still carrying vestiges of its former DRS livery, weaves onto the Great Eastern Main Line at Stratford – one of the busiest locations on the national network. BEN JONES

A major timetable reorganisation is now being implemented by Network Rail and operators that should open up more slots for passenger and freight trains or reduce congestion without requiring any further investment in new infrastructure.

A total of 4,702 allocated weekly ‘paths’ – the slots a freight train has on the railway and in the timetable – have been relinquished without reducing the number of freight trains operating.

NR and the operators point to several factors that have created this opportunity, including the steep decline in coal traffic over the last two years, along with reductions in iron and steel traffic moved by rail, plus more efficient operation by freight operators running longer, heavier and fuller trains.

Read more in the May issue of The RM – on sale now!


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