scotland (4K)
The Friends of the Far North Line
Cairdean Na Loine Tuath
the campaign group for rail north of Inverness - lobbying for improved services for the local user, tourist and freight operator

Tesco Could Opt for Rail Transport

By Gordon Calder, Correspondent, John O'Groat Journal
Published: 28 November, 2007

A CALL has been made for Tesco to transport its supermarket goods to its Caithness stores in Wick and Thurso by rail rather than road.

The plea was made this week by Friends of the Far North Line convener Mike Lunan, who said such a move would take lorries off the A9 road and help the environment.

"We would hope that Tesco would move its goods by rail rather than by road, especially as they now have stores in Wick and Thurso", he told the Courier. Mr Lunan pointed out that Safeway used to transport its freight to Georgemas when it had supermarkets in Caithness and he urged Tesco to think along similar lines.

He said the company transfers its freight from England to central Scotland by train. "We would like to see this being expanded to Inverness and on to Georgemas. Such a move would take lorries off the road and would be welcomed by FoFNL", Mr Lunan added.

Tesco spokesman Nick Gellatly said yesterday the company would consider taking its goods north by rail rather than road.

"We are very keen to do our bit on climate change", he said. "We currently transfer goods from Northampton to Grangemouth by rail and use the English canal network to transport some of our stock. We are always happy to look at innovative ideas which would benefit the environment."

Mr Gellatly explained that at present goods are delivered by road from the company's distribution depot at Livingston but said Tesco would be willing to look at the use of rail for the transport of its products to the Far North. "We would be happy to talk to FoFNL on the matter", he said.

The spokesman pointed out that the company previously had a partnership deal with Safeway to deliver goods by rail to Tesco stores in Inverness, which at the time were its most northerly supermarkets, but that fell through when Safeway was taken over by Morrisons.

Mr Gellatly said that the opening of the new store in Thurso could make it more attractive to look at transporting goods to the Caithness stores by rail rather than road.