Thursday, May 6, 2010

Blackfriars Rail Redevelopment To Use Thames Barges For Freight

Another Major Construction Project Goes Up The River
Shipping News Feature

UK – The Blackfriars Station Project is the latest major London development to grasp the potential of using barge traffic on the Thames for material shipments. Network Rail, the UK’s rail infrastructure operator, state that they will take more than two thousand lorry journeys off central London streets over the next two years by using barges on the River Thames to deliver and remove materials from the site.

After feasibility trials were carried out in January in consultation with the Port of London Authority, Network Rail will bring to site via the Thames over 14,000 tonnes of materials to build the station's new bridge deck, longer platforms and a roof spanning the river. At the same time, more than 8,000 tonnes of deck and pier demolition will also be removed.

Not only does the river allow Network Rail to bring more materials to site, more efficiently, it also complements the company's carbon reduction agenda and helps reduce the impact of bridge construction work on line side neighbours by making deliveries to site quieter.

Jim Crawford, Network Rail's major programme director for the Thameslink project, said: "The landmark Blackfriars station will be the first in the capital to span the Thames, providing a direct link to the cultural centres of the South Bank for the first time.

"Working directly above the Thames, delivering and removing materials by barge, makes a lot of sense to us both practically and environmentally. We are committed to using this method."

The Port of London Authority's chief executive, Richard Everitt, said: "Water and rail are well regarded as the most environmentally-friendly forms of transport, so bringing them together is a winning combination.

"Moving building materials through the capital’s marine highway instead of London’s crowded roads will result in less pollution and congestion.

"By choosing barges, Network Rail has ensured the new Blackfriars station will have good green credentials – not only when it’s operational, but also while it’s being built."

The new Blackfriars redevelopment, part of the £5.5 billion Thameslink project, is planned to be a major infrastructure improvement for central London and north-south rail travel that is hoped to dramatically improve the current transport situation in the city when it opens in 2011.