Road haulage loses RfD work
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by Karen Miles • Last-minute efforts by a newly privatised rail freight service could stop thousands of tonnes of freight switching to road after being dumped by British Rail's international rail freight operation, Railfreight Distribution.
Discussions are continuing between English, Welsh and Scottish Railway (EW&S)—formerly the three British Rail trainload freight companies bought by the US railroad company, Wisconsin—and the management of Seaforth docks and two private railheads. This follows RfD's decision to end international services to the sites because of low traffic volumes.
The talks could result in EW&S trains serving the terminals domestically, leaving RfD to carry out the international journeys.
RfD plans to end its service to Seaforth next month—Seaforth is an RfD-designated Channel Tunnel terminal for swap bodies and containers. Services will also cease to Potter Group's Ely site and Railstore's Rumford terminal which handle conventional wagons.
In the first commercial collaboration of its kind, EW&S has already agreed to carry several hundred tonnes of conventional traffic a week from Gilbraith Transtore's private siding for onward transport by RfD after RfD refused to continue to serve the company's Blackburn terminal.
The move represents a turnround on RfD's position last month when it announced it was stopping its service to the terminals. It said then that it would see if it could co-operate with EW&S, although it was "not aware" of any synergies.
Sarah Crockford, rail freight policy manager at the Freight Transport Association says: "This is a far more positive move with RfD willing to negotiate within the new commercial environment and giving the customer more