BR writes off £550m at RID
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• British Rail has written off £500m losses of its troubled international freight
operation Railfreight Distribution. Traffic volumes for RID have turned out half the size forecast 10 years ago, with RID last year carrying just 3m tonnes of freight through the Channel Tunnel, says BR. As a result, Railfreightthe only operator allowed to take complete trains through the tunnel—made E59m loss on £70m turnover for year ending 31 March 1996.
BR blames expensive tunnel tolls, cut-throat ferry fares available to hauliers and French rail strikes for its woes. "It is very difficult at this stage to compete with road haulage," says a BR spokesperson. Its failure has also led to a £300m write-down in the value of RfD's assets, and the write-off of £200m of contractual payments to the tunnel operator, Eurotunnel. RID is to be privatised soon.