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Railways: Freight

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 2 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the steps that need to be taken to facilitate rail freight movements from Felixstowe via Ipswich and Huntingdon to the midlands; what she estimates the cost of such steps to be; and if she will make a statement. (195940)

The Network Rail Freight Route Utilisation Study, published March 2007, identified the Felixstowe, Ipswich and Peterborough to Nuneaton route as requiring gauge and capacity enhancement to meet growth in demand.

Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd. (HPUK)—the owner of the Port of Felixstowe—is funding the cost of upgrading the gauge capability and capacity of the route between Felixstowe, Ipswich, Peterborough and the east coast main line and South Yorkshire.

The funding commitment from HPUK was made through a Section 106 agreement relating to the planning approval for Port of Felixstowe south quay reconfiguration.

The Peterborough to Nuneaton route has received £80 million in funding support through the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) for gauge and capacity enhancements to complement the work east of Peterborough. This work will start in April 2008.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the potential for the diversion of freight traffic from the A14 to the rail network (a) in the absence of improvements to the rail network and (b) following improvement of the rail path from Felixstowe to the midlands. (195941)

The business case supporting the Peterborough to Nuneaton gauge and capacity enhancement scheme, for which Productivity Transport Innovation Fund funding was announced in October 2007, estimated that these improvements have the potential to remove 65,000 lorry journeys per annum from a number of roads including the A14 when completed.