The Rail Freight Group is represented on the Timber Transport Forum.
Timber used to be taken by rail from across Britain primarily to Shotton pulp mill. This mill converted to recycled fibre and no longer takes roundwood timber. More recently the main rail freight of roundwood timber is to Kronospan’s panelboard mill in North Wales which has a rail connection into their yard. Kronospan take timber from a railhead at Cargo near Carlisle, from Ribblehead siding in North Yorkshire and more recently from sidings in Devon and South Wales.
BSW Timber use the return leg of the Kronospan train to take sawlogs to their sawmill close to the sidings at Cargo near Carlisle.
Until 2009 Kronospan took timber from the railway stations at Arrochar and Crianlarich near Loch Lomond in Scotland. In 2010 Tactran (the Tayside and Central Scotland transport partnership) undertook a study of market demand to re-instate this service and improve the loading infrastructure but so far this has not been taken forward.
In 2001 a railside loading bank was constructed beside the line at Kinbrace in the Flow Country of Caithness to enable extraction to proceed from FCS forests in Strathnaver. Over the next three years 50,000t were taken by rail from Kinbrace to Inverness by English, Welsh, Scottish Railways (EWS) for onward haulage by road to Norbord at Dalcross. This stopped in 2005 on economic grounds. There are continuing efforts to resurrect rail haulage from the Flow Country where the volumes being harvested continue to increase and are beyond the capacity of the fragile road network.
There are also plans to construct a rail siding at Rannoch in Perthshire with a view to hauling timber from forests to the BSW Kilmallie sawmill at Corpach which still has an old rail siding left over from its days as a pulpmill.
Scottish Government Freight Facilities Grants are available to support investment in infrastructure to shift freight from road to rail. There is also limited term revenue support to support any additional cost of making the change.