FoFNL has submitted a detailed response on the future of rail freight to Transport Scotland. Essentially we believe that the Scottish Government needs to be much more ambitious and proactive in trying to steer traffic from road to rail in situations where the train is environmentally preferable and a practical alternative.
FoFNL has identified the distilling, timber and retail sectors as promising significant traffic for major growth. On safety grounds we would also like to see the gas traffic to Caithness and outbound domestic waste traffic from the Highlands transferred from road to rail.
A major constraint at present is the lack of capacity on all lines serving Inverness. Major works to modernise signalling, provide more and longer passing loops and significantly more double track are required. Carrying freight by rail rather than by road will help achieve carbon reduction targets and secure a more environmentally friendly and sustainable future.