Network Rail and Highways England have published the first phase of the Solent to the Midlands Multimodal Freight Strategy.
The study forms part of Network Rail’s Long-Term Planning Process and Highways England’s Route Strategy and Pioneer Projects work, both of which are designed to identify investment priorities for the future.
The study uses data to identify where there may be freight flows that currently use road but could be better served by rail.
It also outlines the benefits that modal shift to rail offers to freight end-users and wider road and rail networks.
Key findings include:
- Roads are critical to complete door to door journeys for shorter distances, such as regional and local movements or the last mile from a rail freight interchange.
- Rail is most cost effective over longer distances and for higher loads.
- Rail and road both have similar reliability in terms of journey times, key for freight consumers where much freight is time dependent.
- Modal shift to rail provides an opportunity to free up road capacity on the Solent to Midlands corridor, especially for those journeys that are greater than 50 miles and greater than 100 miles for bulk and consumer goods respectively.
Paul McMahon, Network Rail’s managing director for the System Operator said: “Both our organisations have a shared goal of keeping Britain moving, as well as contributing to achieving the government’s target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
“This study contributes to these goals by demonstrating how both networks could be used more efficiently in terms of their overall capacity and their carbon footprint.”