Letter: Boost rail freight

The fact that Glasgow Central has become the busiest rail station outside of London (your report, 30 March) comes as little surprise to those of us who commute there each day

However, the Scottish Government should take the correct steps to increase rail freight transport in the same way that passenger numbers have increased.

This week I attended the Scottish Rail Freight Conference in Glasgow at which Scotland’s transport minister, Keith Brown, confirmed that grant funding for rail freight had been cut due to poor uptake in previous years.

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However, he did accept that the reason for this was partly because of an extremely onerous application process.

The Scottish Freight Facilities Grant is currently only £2 million.

This is not a criticism of the Scottish Government as budgets are tight but the cost of a new multi-modal terminal is relatively small and would remove large volumes of freight from our roads, thus saving on road maintenance costs as larger vehicles do the most damage.

It would also help the government meet its own targets of reducing emissions by 42 per cent by 2020. The industry is currently pushing for a £50m Scottish Freight Fund, similar to the fund that already exists in England. Network Rail also announced that a new Freight Joint Board will be created

I believe one perfect location for a new rail freight interchange would be in the south of Scotland due to its location close to the timber industry, Northern Irish containers and English and European markets.

Maybe a little extra rail investment in this area would also help us commuters arrive in Glasgow Central before 9:15am each morning.

Brian Pope

Beechgrove

Lockerbie