Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Rail Freight Group Praise New High Cube Container Facility

Track Lowered to Accommodate Larger Wagons
Shipping News Feature

UK – Work was underway over the Christmas period in the Southampton rail tunnel ensuring the tunnel could remain open next year without seriously disrupting current schedules. With thousands of shipping containers passing through the local port it is essential that the rail distribution network can carry higher boxes on standard rail trucks and this has necessitated lowering the track through the Victorian tunnel.

The Rail Freight Group Chairman praised Network Rail for managing to maintain single line services whilst the work was underway. Because of the forward planning it will not be necessary to close the tunnel next Christmas whilst works continue.

“The Southampton Tunnel gauge enhancement is perhaps the most important of a number of structures that need altering to accommodate the modern W10 gauge on the Southampton to West Midlands route corridor. Three other bridges were dealt with during the same possessions, two on the Great Western Main Line between Didcot and Reading and one at St Denis near Southampton, commented Tony Berkeley.

“The RFG has campaigned for many years for the line between Southampton and the West Midlands to be made capable of accepting 9’ 6” containers on standard wagons. We are very pleased to have witnessed such a successful start on site to this vital project.”

Much more work is needed to accommodate larger units on the new W10 gauge track all the way through to the West Midlands but 9’6” high boxes should be able to traverse the entire route by 2011. The work is being funded by a consortium consisting of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Strategic Freight Network fund, the South East England Development Agency, Associated British Ports (ABP) and Network Rail.