Creating a platform for growth
The rail freight sector is a vital part of Scotland's economy, providing a safer, greener and more efficient way of transporting goods and materials, with each freight train removing up to 76 heavy goods vehicles from the roads. The Scottish Government's vision, as outlined in our rail freight strategy, is for a competitive, sustainable rail freight sector, one that plays a significant and increasingly significant role in Scotland's economic growth.
The Scottish Government is, therefore, leading the way in supporting rail freight growth with an industry first regulatory target for Network Rail to work with partners to grow rail freight on the Scottish network.
Strong and sustainable partnership working across public and private sectors is key to achieving growth and Network Rail has undertaken a significant amount of work with the rail freight industry on a growth plan for rail freight to achieve or exceed the growth target. This plan was published on 15 March 2019 and sets out objectives for encouraging customer confidence, developing growth, doing things differently and looking for simpler solutions.
Investment is also key to providing capacity for growth. The Scottish Government has invested around £8bn in rail services and infrastructure since 2007 and, going forward, freight is a key consideration in the pipeline of projects being developed by Transport Scotland and Network Rail.
In addition, the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity announced a new £25 million Scottish Strategic Rail Freight Fund for the period 2019 to 2024. This fund will support the development and delivery costs of proposals for minor-medium freight interventions to improve the capacity and capability of the Scottish network for rail freight. More information on this fund will be available in the near future.
The fund does not replace the Freight Grant schemes which are still available to enable companies to transfer freight to sustainable modes such as rail.
If your organisation is interested in using rail as part of its logistics solution, our rail freight guide has more information on the benefits of using rail freight and contains key industry contact information.