Consultation on Freight Route Utilisation Strategy briefing FRUS
Freight on Rail urges local and regional authorities to respond to theNetwork Rail Freight Route Ulitisation Strategy consultation which closes on 24th November.
Freight on Rail welcomes the draft FRUS as being an important strategic document for rail freight. The document covers the entire country, and interfaces with the other, route based RUSs which are under development.
1. Why is the FRUS important
The FRUS is important for a number of reasons;
The final version of the document is also expected to provide the preferred options for resolving those actions, which, in some cases, will need to be developed in detail within the route based RUSs.
What it does not cover
As the FRUS is a national document some area are not covered in detail, but will be picked up in the route based RUSs.
It does not cover the locations of terminals although it does give indications for strategic flows.
2. How will the FRUS be used?
We expect that the FRUS will be used in a number of ways;
3. What does the FRUS cover?
FRUS has been drawn up after detailed consultation with the industry. FRUS considers how the rail network should develop to cater for the growing demand for rail freight. FRUS has generally incorporated the future needs of rail freight and has used the industry forecasts published last year.
The FRUS looks at five main areas
The freight forecasts within the FRUS show demand growth over ten years: in tonnes lifted as follows;
This relates to an increase in tonnes.miles of about 50% over the same period.
This growth leads to network constraints in a number of areas set out in the document. The options to resolve these include:
4. Do respond to the FRUS, in particular sections affecting your region
As it is a consultation it considers options rather than drawing final conclusions so it is important that Network Rail receive feedback on this document. Network Rail has offered various solutions so it is important that you check the sections affecting your region are appropriately covered.
The NR document describes the additional freight trains on a route by route basis, together with pinch points and proposals for enhancing capacity, gauge etc.
It focuses on priority gauge enhancements for containers from the ports of Southampton and cross-country from the Haven ports, and for capacity enhancements on the above routes plus parts of the West Coast Main Line and the coal traffic route from Hunterston to Carlisle and Leeds.
Below are points that you might want to include in your response
5. On-going Interface between FRUS and RUSs crucial
The FRUS aims to ensure that the freight demand forecasts used within each of the geographical route based RUSs are consistent. Freight on Rail believes It is crucial that a mechanism is set up to maintain consistency between the FRUS and RUSs in the longer-term.
6. Relationship with Regional Funding allocations
Smaller projects may be relevant for prioritisation in RFA rounds
7. Liaison with Regional and local authorities
NR should liaise with regional and local authorities to make sure that plans for enhancements are known to the authorities who produce Local Transport Plans. Also enhancements which use additional rail lands should be catered for in Local Development Frameworks and Regional Transport and Spatial Strategies. In particular, Route Enhancement Managers and Freight Route Managers need to communicate with authorities.
8. Partnership role of Network Rail
NR has an important role to play in brokering partnership between itself, authorities, developers and other public bodies to bring about joint funding for rail improvements.
Philippa Edmunds email Philippa@freightonrail.org.uk. www.Freightonrail.org.uk