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Rail freight must speed up its development

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New markets must be found for rail freight to continue its valuable contribution, as Transport Minister Derek Mackay said, in his introduction to the Scottish Government’s recent Delivering the Goods strategy.

He remarked that ‘time is of the essence for the Scottish rail freight industry’. The rapid decline in the traditional coal market means that rail freight has to step up its development of new markets if it is to continue to make an important contribution to Scotland’s economy and environment.

Rail freight has increased its role in the long-haul transport of supermarket supplies from the Midlands of England to Central Scotland and onwards to Aberdeen and Inverness. A major step forward is now anticipated in the bottled water sector, with Highland Spring recently securing planning permission for a bespoke rail terminal beside its Blackford plant. This should ensure that scores of freight lorry movements daily to switch to rail.