Fleet News

Fleets and drivers to gain from return of car trains

JOHN Prescott, deputy prime minister and secretary of state for the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, is to launch the first cars-on-trains service for four years on Monday, March 29. The move is intended to provide companies with the opportunity to make considerable savings in their fleet budgets and improve the working efficiency of their staff.

The service between London and Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness is being launched by Motorail which aims to transport up to 250 vehicles per train. Talks are also under way with train operator First Great Western to provide a service between London and the West Country.

Motorail believes the potential to expand the scheme to the rest of the country and Europe is vast. Figures provided by Motorail show a company can save hundreds of pounds by using its service. While the cars travel by rail, drivers are expected to journey by air and collect their vehicles at their destination.

On a comparative study of a 900-mile round trip between the south of England and Scotland of drivers of different standard of car and wages, the savings by using Motorail range from £86 to £700. favourably with the cost of fuel, food and accommodation for drivers, boosted by the fact the VAT is recoverable.

Motorail will be fully operational next month when overnight trains will begin carrying vehicles between London and Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness, with services from Bristol and Southampton expected to follow later in the year. Vehicles are to be transported in semi-enclosed wagons similar to those carrying lorries through the Channel Tunnel. The trains will be operated by STVA, which specialises in moving new cars between Britain and Europe.

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