A new Anglo-Scottish rail freight shuttle will begin in January 2004.

Advenza Freight intends to take cargo off congested roads with its long-distance pallet trunking service for hauliers.

Advenza's Freightbus product will offer a rail service between Glasgow and London for hauliers with more pallets than they can handle in a single lorry journey.

The exact launch date is yet to be announced, but Advenza Freight's managing director Tony Hagon says it will be in January.

Freightbus will run three times a week each way - Monday, Wednesday and Friday southbound, and Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday northbound, with plans afoot to upgrade the schedule.

Mr Hagon expects the average order booking from a haulier to be between five and twelve pallets, but it could be any size.

He said: "We will gladly accept a single pallet."

The service will accept all types of product other than hazardous cargo.

Since the company was awarded its rail safety licence in April last year, it has been in discussions with Network Rail about available routes which are all congested.

Mr Hagon added: "For us the speed of the train service is not of the essence.

"Far more important is the reliability of Freightbus between London and Glasgow, at a price that is attractive to the haulier."

The service will use leased 40-year-old Class 47 locomotives, each hauling 12 pairs of wagons, with a capacity for 650 pallets.

For collections and deliveries in London, Freightbus will use the Barking depot of Roadways Container Logistics, owned by Anglo-Dutch P&O Nedlloyd.

In Glasgow, Freightbus will use the Deanside premises of haulier John G Russell, a company that offers its own rail services to Hams Hall in the Midlands via train operator EWS.

Hauliers can use their own vehicles to collect from or deliver to the London and Glasgow depots, or opt for a third party provider.

Once Freightbus has been established, Freight-Taxi, a web-based booking system for filling empty pallet space on road haulage sectors, will be re-launched.

"The original Freight-Taxi, matching freight in a depot with return load haulage, was suspended after a year 'due to its own success'," said Mr Hagon.

The revamped Freight-Taxi will use booking software, developed in-house by Advenza, to place up to 10,000 pallet spaces a day on the website.

Information from <a href="http://www.eyefortransport.com">http://www.eyefortransport.com</a>