Monday, June 13, 2011

UK Rail Freight to Get Boost from Second Southampton Link

Freight Tonnages Rise Last Quarter
Shipping News Feature

UK – The UK’s rail infrastructure provider, Network Rail, has announced that they are to upgrade a second rail route out of Southampton docks to take larger, 9’6” high-cube freight containers so as to guarantee services to shipping service that use the port in the event of problems or maintenance on the main line.

Network Rail has already completed upgrades to the main track linking Southampton and the Midlands which will allow the larger containers, which are preferred by many global shipping firms, to be transported by train and is expected by the company to remove up to 50,000 container lorries a year from the roads annually.

Richard O’Brien, Network Rail’s route managing director for Wessex, said: “It is important that the food, clothing, electronics and other consumer goods which arrive into Southampton in containers can make their onward journeys by rail at all times to stock shops around the country.

“Following the recent upgrade of the mainline, we expect increasing amounts of these goods to be shipped in larger, modern containers as this keeps thousands of lorries off the roads, and is the quickest, greenest and most efficient way of transporting them around the country. It is vital we provide an alternative route out of the port for those occasions when we carry out improvement works to the main line so we can offer a reliable service for businesses around Britain”.

The first works are due to start in August 2011 confirming our story last year that such developments would go ahead and the whole project is scheduled for completion by June 2013.

The news of the additional investment is good news for the UK’s rail freight carriers, who according to figures from the Office of Rail Regulation have seen a 16.6% rise in the volume of freight moved on the rail network in the first quarter of 2011 compared with the same period last year.

Rail accounts for 11 per cent of UK freight and Network Rail anticipates that this could more than double by 2020.