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SRA strategy aims to boost freight by 80%

THE STRATEGIC Rail Authority this week unveiled its £4bn rail freight strategy, aimed at increasing freight on the network by 80% in 10 years.

Plans include reopening and upgrading lines to key freight terminals and increasing the size of freight trains.

The plan outlines how the proposed investment will provide extra route capacity and is in line with figures outlined in the government's 10 year transport plan.

Of the £4bn, £3.6bn will come from the government via the SRA, with the rest coming from private investment.

Rail Freight Group chairman Tony Berkeley said the strategy was 'positive.'

But he warned that problems with Railtrack's product approvals system was delaying the introduction of new freight trains and that this could slow proposed growth.

Lines to container ports at Felixstowe and Southampton, as well as freight routes around London and on the East Coast Main Line, are all earmarked for upgrade.

Increased capacity will allow for longer, 750m trains, each capable of carrying up to 3,500t of freight, each enough to take 60 lorries off the roads.

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