A train specially adapted to transport timber from the forests of Galloway is one of two projects to receive funding from the Executive today. Nearly �5.8 million has been allocated from the Freight Facilities Grant (FFG) to two haulage companies. The funding will help remove 1.5 million lorry miles from Scotland's roads every year.

JST Services (Rail) will receive £5.2 million towards the construction of a new rail head at Barrhill, South Ayrshire and a custom-built freight train with a built-in mobile crane. This will allow the company to transport timber by rail from Galloway to Ayr, Carlisle, Troon and Chirk in Wales.

WH Malcolm are to receive nearly £600,000 to transport plasterboard by rail from Cumbria to their new FFG-funded rail facility at Paisley. Transport Minister Tavish Scott said: "This devolved government is committed to encouraging the transfer of freight from our roads to rail and water.

"The funding provided to JST Services (Rail) will see them introduce innovative solutions allowing them to move timber from the forests of Galloway and South Ayrshire using a specially adapted train. Importantly this will also help keep heavy lorries off the local road network in Dumfries and Galloway and Ayrshire.

"The additional funding awarded to WH Malcolm will remove 900,000 lorry miles per year from our roads and link in with the rail facility at Elderslie which we are already funding through FFG.

"We want to help businesses deliver their goods and continue to be competitive, while at the same time improving the environment." The Freight Facilities Grant (FFG) is available to fund the capital costs of equipment for rail, inland waterway and sea freight transport where the traffic would otherwise be moved by road. JST Services (Rail) The JST Services (Rail) project is the first time that a dedicated custom built Freight Multiple Unit (FMU) will be used to operate a regular timber service in the UK. It will enable timber harvested from a wide area of forest to be transported to a single point for onward transport by rail rather than road without using the fragile local road network. This will be achieved by linking a series of longstanding forest roads which will allow the use of large low pressure tyre vehicles to haul timber from the forests to a new rail freight terminal at Barrhill which is being built as part of this project. Total capital expenditure is projected to be almost £7.4m, the FFG award of £5.2m represents a grant contribution of approximately 70 per cent. The project will move 110,000 tonnes per year by rail, and remove almost 600,000 lorry miles from Scotland's roads each year over the first 10 years of operation. Forestry Commission Scotland is also contributing to the project by installing a forest haulage network through its land, and a bridge over the rail line, so that timber lorries from private sector forests as well as the national forest estate can bypass public roads on their way to the new railhead near Barrhill. WH Malcolm The funding provided to WH Malcolm will enable the transport by rail of plasterboard from Kirkby Thore to Elderslie from where it will be delivered to the end users (builders merchants) at various locations in Scotland. This product is currently delivered by road from Kirkby Thore. The FFG will fund approximately 50 per cent of the total capital costs of £1.2m of the project. The funding will provide additional hardstanding at Elderslie and associated mobile equipment.