Freight News, Road

Eurotunnel denounces railfreight ‘obstacles’

[ October 31, 2014   //   ]

There are five main obstacles to the development of cross-Channel rail freight, Tunnel operator Eurotunnel told a conference in Lille, northern France on 9 October. This was despite the double digit growth in cross-Channel rail freight in the third quarter of 2014.

Problems included the lack of electrification on lines from the Channel Tunnel across Kent and the absence of a rail freight corridor between Manchester and Birmingham.

Other significant barriers were the differences in maximum train length: in Italy, trains are limited to 500m a\nd in Germany 600m compared to 750m in France and the UK. This automatically reduces potential capacity between Italy and the UK by 25%.

Another handicap was the small UK loading gauge, which makes wagons more expensive and reduces capacity, increasing transport costs by €300 per train and reducing revenues by 20%.

Another problem is the widespread use of “long” (13.6m) containers, which are less adaptable to the multi-freight wagons used across continental Europe

Eurotunnel is calling on the governments to take measures to put more freight onto rail and help develop cross-Channel transport.