Rob is backing a scheme to help reduce pollution and congestion by putting high value, time-sensitive freight onto passenger trains.
The MP, who is also chair of the All Party Parliamentary Freight Transport Group, says, “In these days where autonomous trains and retinal scans to track passengers are seen as glimpses of the future of rail it’s important to remember that old ideas are not necessarily bad ideas. I’ve recently been talking to people from a company called InterCity RailFreight who are taking a concept which would be completely familiar to the Victorian rail passenger and turning it into a serious prospect for moving freight by rail and cutting road congestion.”
InterCity RailFreight began trials of their scheme in 2010 and have now become partners with two rail franchisees, GWR and East Midlands Trains, moving a wider range of commodities from fresh seafood to clinical trials samples by rail on passenger services. These two types of cargo might seem rather disparate, but they have one thing in common, which is an urgent need to find the quickest route to their destinations. The medical samples are moving between Nottingham and Leicester as part of clinical drug trials, and as such need to reach the London labs where they are examined as speedily as humanly possible. The fish is coming fresh off the boat in Cornwall to be distributed to various click-and-collect points in London, ready to be cooked the same day it was hauled from the waves. In each case, the time and cost savings are significant when compared to road transport. The process is cheaper than using a diesel delivery van, up to 300% faster and of course, causes no more pollution than the passenger train on which they goods are carried would have already produced because, as the company slogan goes, “The train is going there anyway.”