FTA road men 'boo' chunnel
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• The Freight Transport Association's image as a multimodal organisation was worn thin this week when some members took exception to Transport Minister David Mitchell's enthusiasm for the railonly Channel Tunnel.
Mitchell, principal guest at the FTA's annual dinner, was greeted by cries of derision when he told members that the tunnel will give British Rail an opportunity to compete successfully for international freight traffic.
"Half of the BR freight trains using the tunnel will be container trains," he said and added that these trains will also be given access to the British Rail network in the South of England.
A switch from road to rail freight will benefit the environment, he added as hostility from the audience reached its peak.
Undaunted, Mitchell replied: "You live by competition . . . and you cannot deny that it will be good for exports and for the quality of life in environmental terms."