Freight News, Rail

Trains suffer too in Calais crisis

[ July 23, 2015   //   ]

It’s not only cross-Channel truckers who have suffered during the recent strike and stowaways crisis in the port of Calais – operators of through rail services have also been under immense pressure.

In a statement issued on 23 July, the Rail Freight Group warned: “The impact on cross-channel rail freight services by the migrant crisis in the Calais area is now reaching critical levels. Whist the Rail Freight Group is aware of, and supports, the very considerable efforts being made by both Eurotunnel and train operators to protect rail freight services, it is evident that this in isolation is not sufficient.

“We urge the UK Government and regulatory authorities to work with their French counterparts to urgently implement solutions, and rigorous security, across the Calais area to prevent migrants accessing the rail infrastructure and to allow unimpeded cross-channel transits to recommence.”

GB Railfreight’s director Channel Tunnel development, Neil Crossland pointed out: “All through freight services stop in Calais Frethun which is infrastructure owned by SNCF Reseau and the boundary security fencing is the responsibility of SNCF. At night, hundreds of migrants access Calais Frethun and it is impossible to operate through freight trains due to threat of injury.”

While GBRf has had no instances of stowaway as all through freight trains are subject to rigorous checking before entering the Tunnel, the need to stop through freight trains has filled up the yards either side of the Tunnel and delays are occurring.

Neil Crossland added: Channel Tunnel through freight trains has seen double digit growth in recent years but customers will not stay where their is doubt over the delivery of product, even if the integrity of their product is secure.”

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