HS2 is an important project for the UK railway, and the freight sector continues to support its development. However, the Rail Freight Group (RFG) remains concerned that existing freight services on the West Coast Main Line may be adversely affected in future, once HS2 services leave the high-speed network and start running on the route.
On behalf of its members, RFG has been seeking assurances that the future West Coast timetable can accommodate all existing freight alongside HS2 trains and residual passenger services. HS2 have been unable to demonstrate this to date, and with the new West Coast Partnership franchise leading work on the new timetable for Government, freight operators and customers require a commitment that their future needs will be properly and fully included.
RFG has therefore welcomed the commitments in the Third Special Report of the HS2 Bill Select Committee published last week. After hearing evidence from RFG, the Committee have asked HS2 to give an ‘absolute commitment to the industry that the capacity for freight, including train size and capability is maintained and improved’.
Maggie Simpson, RFG Director General, said: “We all want HS2 to be a success, but RFG members also need assurance that their current trains will be able to keep running in seven years’ time once HS2 opens. We are pleased that the HS2 Bill Select Committee has understood these concerns and set out this requirement for HS2.”
The HS2 Committee report can be found here.