Major boost for freight by rail as Southampton upgrade is completed - CILT(UK)
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Major boost for freight by rail as Southampton upgrade is completed

24 February 2021/Categories: CILT, Industry News, Active Travel & Travel Planning, Rail, Transport Planning

A major upgrade to transport more freight by rail to and from Southampton is complete.

On Friday 19th February engineers finished a series of improvements on the lines used by freight trains between Southampton Central and Redbridge, unlocking more capacity at the country’s second busiest container port.

Freight services between Southampton, the Midlands and the North can now carry up to 20% more goods thanks to track, signals and sidings improvements. Trains once restricted to 520 metres in length can now be extended up to 775 metres in length, or 14 extra containers per train.

Six 775 metre long freight trains per day are now set to operate from the Freightliner Maritime Terminal in Redbridge and if each of those trains adds 14 containers, they will combine to move an extra 84 containers of goods per day.

Chris Heaton-Harris, Rail Minister, said: "The completion of this freight upgrade will not only lead to a greener and more cost-efficient way to transport freight from Southampton, but will also significantly boost the volume of goods transported to and from the Midlands.

"Our freight industry has played an integral role keeping this country moving through this pandemic. Our investment ensures it will continue to play a pivotal role supporting our economic recovery."

The completion of the Southampton Freight Train Lengthening scheme is a major boost for the Port of Southampton’s three rail freight operators DB Cargo, GB Railfreight and Freightliner.

Freightliner average up to 24 container trains per day in and out of their Maritime Terminal in Redbridge, while DB Cargo and GB Railfreight average up to 18 trains per day. DB Cargo and GB Railfreight can now transport three different kinds of goods to and from Southampton – intermodal containers, vehicles and gypsum.

The upgraded railway also brings environmental benefits. Each container transported by rail has the same capacity as one Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV). Each container added to a freight service removes the need for an HGV on local roads, reducing both congestion and pollution.

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