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Potential Entry of Freight Trains into UK Cities Tested

Freight trains, carrying critical business supplies into major cities in the UK, may start rolling again for the first time in over 20 years, following a test train from Rugby to London's Euston Station on June 5, which the operator claims delivers a faster service, and potentially saves thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions compared to that of road haulage.

Euston Station was formerly a regular destination for freight. The 1963 mail train from Glasgow was Euston bound when it was famously robbed.

The trial, run by TNT Express, in conjunction with Colas Rail, Intermodality, Network Rail, and TfL, saw TNT deliver cages of products for customers Staples and Bristan, into Colas Rail's Rugby depot.

Nick Gallop, director of Intermodality, said: "This trial has more than ever laid to rest the myths about rail freight and urban logistics -- the overnight train ran to time, achieved a faster transit than by road, used an otherwise deserted main line station as a freight interchange, and significantly reduced emissions in the process. I am delighted that our sponsorship helped make it happen, reflecting our commitment to raise awareness and promote further innovation in the rail freight sector."

The project aligns with Government policy to encourage greater modal shift of freight from road to rail, as evident in Network Rail's recent “Freight Market Study” which forecasts a potential doubling to 45.2 billion tonnes per year in rail freight traffic over the next 30 years.

Ian Wainwright, Head of Freight and Fleet at Transport for London, said: "During the 19th and much of the 20th century, the UK's rail network was the backbone of the freight industry, moving products and goods across all corners of the country. This new trial will help in understanding how major cities can re-integrate this delivery option along with the recent growth in rail passenger journeys, helping to shift freight back onto the rails and free up local roads while reducing emissions by using the cleanest vehicles available."

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