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Loss of coal threatens Scottish freight prospects

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Scotland’s rail freight industry is likely to suffer a severe decline without co-ordinated intervention, according to a consultation released by Transport Scotland.

The ‘Delivering the Goods’ document, which was launched by Scottish Minister for Transport and Islands Derek Mackay on October 22, states: “Despite strong growth in the intermodal market, the rapidly declining volume of coal being transported by rail has contributed to a net reduction in the total rail freight market in Scotland of around 40%.

“The Scottish opencast coal sector has actual and predicted production figures of around two million tonnes of coal in 2015, and this production level is estimated to decrease to around 0.5 million tonnes by 2020.”