GREEN campaigners welcomed the news yesterday that mail trains - axed by Royal Mail in June - will return in time to deal with the Christmas post.
Royal Mail has signed a trial contract with GB Railfreight to run four daily rail services between London and Scotland during December.
Two services will continue until March 2005, when Royal Mail will assess whether it should extend the contract.
Friends of the Earth has been part of the Save Mail on Rail campaign - alongside the rail and postal unions - which had been lobbying Royal Mail and politicians over the axing of the trains.
FoE chief executive Duncan McLaren said: "The return of mail trains is great news for the environment and a vindication of the efforts of all those who tried to prevent their demise in the first place.
"Royal Mail's earlier decision always put short-term gain ahead of environmental and social benefits.
"This trial must properly assess environmental and social implications, as well as financial ones," he insisted.
"Failure to get mail back on rail permanently would worsen road congestion, pollution and safety."
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