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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 August 2005, 08:10 GMT 09:10 UK
Dock's rail freight line reopens
Freight service - Photo: EWS
The contract is to transport building materials from Germany
Rail freight services have returned to Ridham Dock in north Kent for the first time in more than three years.

The rail freight line closed in 2002 but has been upgraded by operator EWS.

EWS said the move would take 1,200 lorries off the roads in the next six months and there was enormous potential for more services to and from the dock.

The contract behind the move will see five services a week bringing building materials from Germany previously transported by road.

EWS managers say the company is committed to increasing the amount of freight hauled on the rail network.

'Rising fuel costs'

The company has said the dock is part of an overall plan to bring 33m tons of freight to the British rail network.

Spokesman Graham Meiklejohn claimed their customer was making more use of rail transportation because of rising fuel costs.

"All over Britain, hauliers and managers are trying to manage the effect of rising fuel prices by using a rail solution," he said.

"I would not say that increasing fuel costs will decrease freight but it is making a number of transport managers review their options.

"Customers are not exclusively using rail, but they are using rail in some way so that both modes of transportation are working effectively together."

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