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CILT Railway Study Forum Webinar on 10 June 2020: Notes by John Yellowlees

Webinar in progressd

Attendees at the webinar

© John Yellowlees 2020

All traffic is up for grabs, but some road hauliers may not survive. Silk Road has held up well, but still no traffic to Britain.

Williams is going to happen quicker than people thought, freight must be put on the graph before local passenger trains.

CILT has a major role in educating the world on the role of railfreight. One could well see 10-20% of passengers not coming back, that won't happen with freight where junctions at Haughley and Soham-Ely need to be sorted. HS2 on site.

CILT made recommendations to NIC on capacity improvements north of where HS2 joins the WCML and ECML and on requitement for Midland freight routing strategy. Need for 9'6" capability on Trans Pennine routes, and but for Covid there would by now have been a daily train between Teesport and NW England.

Decarbonisation gives rail a unique opportunity since a 44 tonne HGV needs 23 tonnes of batteries. 45% of all railfreight is now consumer goods. 45% of HGV tonne-miles is over 100 miles and a further 12% is bulk materials. We need far more terminals, rail plugged into distribution centres with Highland Spring leading the way, more electrification with just 325 miles to get to 70%, capacity including path value compared to passenger and East-West Rail linking ports into the Golden Triangle of distribution.

Until Covid the passenger sector was effectively cost-neutral, with Government funding infrastructure. In the last couple of months Continental administrations have been responding to the crisis by reducing access charges. We have to find a solution harnessing rail's advantages if we are to achieve Net Zero 2050. Small container solution more likely than passenger stock for urban distribution.

GN/GE Joint line will need to be electrified as a full alternative to the ECML. Class 66s will start reaching end of book life in 2030, replacement must be electric with a diesel or battery last-mile capability. However there are many electric locos going spare, and the industry needs a plan so as to know after Covid what money there will be to invest in the low-hanging fruit like electrification of the London Gateway branch.

Notes by John Yellowlees

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