Call for continued support for Welsh rail freight
There is a strong case for at least maintaining rail freight capability and existing access in Wales on routes that have handled often substantial flows in recent years.
That is the view of the Rail Freight Group (RFG), in a letter to Transport for Wales as part of the consultation into the new Wales and Borders franchise that is due to start next year.
Signed by RFG Welsh Representative Robin Smith, the letter states that while most of the issues raised in the consultation are beyond RFG’s remit, and while accepting there appears to be a declining demand for rail freight in the Valleys, “circumstances may well change significantly over the years to the likely end of a new franchise in 2033.”
RFG argues that in the foreword to the consultation: “The Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure [Ken Skates AM] refers to the need to reduce the environmental impacts of transport protecting rail freight capability as a key contributor to achieving that goal.”
Smith also writes: “Where additional and improved passenger services are proposed elsewhere in Wales, outside the core Valley Lines, or when infrastructure enhancements including new stations are planned, the schemes must take account of and not be at the expense of both existing rail freight flows and/or potential growth, including of new flows, in the future. Protecting the interests of rail freight should be a key element in any scheme.”