Widening Clearances For Freight Containers
As some of you may have seen in RAIL magazine no 504 (5th January) the loading gauge from Mossend freight terminal (near Motherwell) to Elgin and Inverness via Aberdeen has recently been checked. The purpose was to find out the cost of slewing and lowering tracks under bridges and elsewhere to permit the new nine foot six high maritime containers to be carried by rail. The author of the article, Councillor Martin Ford of Aberdeenshire, gave one of the most lucid lectures I have ever heard to the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in Aberdeen in November.
The findings are that the job could be done for £2.8 million between Mossend and Elgin. This is deemed to be good value for money given the extra freight traffic in prospect. The section between Elgin and Inverness has several bridges which would need alterations and this would be more expensive. Frank Roach, the Highland Rail Development Officer, is investigating ways to get the survey extended north to Invergordon. As a sheltered deep water port, Invergordon has plenty of potential for use, and a cleared route south for maritime freight containers on rail would give the potential for greater freight use of the FNL.