Central Railways hires Holborn PR

Central Railways, a company set up to create a rail freight operation between Liverpool and the Channel Tunnel, is launching a PR offensive in the wake of the Government’s refusal to back its £8bn project.

The company, established in 1991, has hired Holborn PR to advise it on a campaign to garner public support for the project as a privately financed venture.

Holborn is also helping Central Railways in its bid to convince the Government to pass legislation that would allow the company to acquire the disused track and land it needs from rail infrastructure firm Network Rail.

Central Railways said of the 440 miles of track needed for its project, around 400 miles already existed within the UK’s rail network. It hopes to repeat the success of the US lorries-on-trains model, which cuts haulage costs by providing an alternative to road freight.

Holborn director Chris Steele leads the account and reports to Central Railways chairman Andrew Gritten.

Last month, transport minister John Spellar wrote to Gritten refusing to back a proposed Bill to allow the construction of additional track and the handover of the disused part of the network.

Spellar said he was concerned about the Government’s financial exposure to the project and the likely crisis of confidence in rail freight if it failed.

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