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Railways: Freight

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 18 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department’s capital expenditure on rail freight facilities has been in each year since 1997. (243959)

Since 1997, the Department for Transport, its predecessors and the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA), awarded the following grants for rail freight facilities through the Freight Facilities Grant (FFG) programme and Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF).

Grants (£)

1997

1,467,174

1998

2,437,920

1999

9,917,526

2000

24,936,743

2001

20,729,001

2002

11,294,172

2003

3,771,456

2004

0

2005

915,772

2006

493,681

2007

1,160,449

The SRA suspended the FFG programme for most rail projects in 2003, although grants continued to be available for aggregate-based facilities through the ALSF. FFGs were reintroduced for all rail schemes by the Department in 2007.

In addition to FFGs, the Department has announced over £200 million of investment schemes through the Productivity Transport Innovation Fund, as well as £200 million provided for Network Rail to develop a Strategic Freight Network. The determination of Network Rail’s outputs and access charges for 2009-14 also included £275 million for the upgrade of the Great Northern/Great Eastern joint line via Lincoln and Shaftholme junction grade separation. All these projects have particular benefits for freight and, taken together, provide the largest investment package for rail freight in decades.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what funding support his Department has provided for the development of rail freight facilities in (a) Halton, (b) Merseyside and (c) Cheshire in the last 12 months. (244208)

The Department for Transport provides match funding for rail freight facilities through the Freight Facilities Grant (FFG) programme. There have been no applications presented to the Department for an FFG for rail freight facilities in Halton, Merseyside or Cheshire in the past 12 months and as such no funding has been provided.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent estimate he has made of the rail freight carrying capacity of the West Coast Main Line. (244209)

Network Rail has recently commenced work on the West Coast Route Utilisation Strategy. Rail freight capacity and enhancement options will be assessed as part of this workstream.