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Railwatch 076 - July 1998

Parcels go by piggyback

Parcels are now travelling by rail between England and Scotland for the first time in years.

Parcel Force was one of the first customers for a new piggyback service which transports road semi-trailers on special rail wagons.

The service from Deanside Transit's depot in Glasgow to London Willesden was about to start as Railwatch went to press.

English Welsh & Scottish Railway will operate the trains along with its Enterprise service and will be trying to attract long-distance road hauliers to go piggyback.

Railtrack has given the go-ahead to plans to enlarge the loading gauge north of Daventry on the West Coast main line to clear the way for large containers (9ft 6in high).

It is still considering £250 million plans to enlarge the loading gauge from the Channel Tunnel all the way to Scotland which RDS has long advocated.

Another piggyback service started in June, between Tilbury and Liverpool, with Exel Logistics as the main customer.

The Settle-Carlisle line, once threatened with closure, is gaining ever more freight traffic. EWS is planning to operate 25 trains a day from Scots coal mines to English power stations. The line is also likely to be used as a diversionary route when the West Coast main line is upgraded.

Steel, wine and consumer goods are likely to be carried on a new direct freight train from London Willesden to Cologne from the autumn.

European cities are desperate to have rail freight depots connected to the Trans-European Network, a conference was told in March. Britain has 14 out of 210 terminals recognised by the European Union.

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