Railway infrastructure firm Central Railway has appointed Shandwick
to lobby in support of its proposed freight and passenger line from
Lille in northern France to Liverpool.
Since February, the company had employed Tavistock, but the agency
resigned the account last July.
Shandwick will seek to gain support for the plan from political
audiences, including local authorities affected by the scheme. The
agency will then work to get backing from city audiences.
Central Railway’s proposed route would enable passengers and freight to
travel through the Channel tunnel to the north-west of England and
onwards into Scotland. The line will use existing tracks, although
bridges and designs will have to be modified. This work could create up
to 2,000 permanent rail operator jobs.
Central Railway initiated similar proposals for the cross- Channel line
two years ago which were rejected by Parliament after criticism from
constituency MPs along the route who formed a coalition against Central
Railway and employed lobbying agency Westminster Strategy.
Shandwick director Jon McLeod, who worked for the coalition against the
company in 1996, said: ’The recent white paper on transport stressed the
Government’s commitment to getting more freight off the roads and on to
the railways. Central Railway’s proposed new rail route will clearly
help achieve this goal.’