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LONGER freight trains are set to travel through Southampton following the completion of a £17million upgrade to a key stretch of railway line.
Network Rail finished the Southampton Freight Train Lengthening scheme – a series of improvements on the line between Southampton Central and Redbridge – last Friday, February 19.
The work on track, signals and sidings adds capacity at the UK’s second biggest container port.
Freight trains once restricted to 520 metres in length can be extended to 775m, or 14 extra containers per train – meaning services between Southampton, the Midlands and the North can carry up to 20 per cent more goods.
Six 775m freight trains per day are set to operate from the Freightliner Maritime Terminal in Redbridge. If each adds 14 containers, they will combine to move an extra 84 containers of goods per day.
Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris 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.”
Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex route director, said: “We are very pleased to finally complete this ambitious project and unlock more capacity for freight on our route. This was a complex project which required us to install longer sidings, new track for heavier and faster moving trains, improved signalling and enhanced drainage, which will make the operation of the area more efficient.
“We are very grateful to our freight operators and passengers for their patience during the recent line closures. We are also grateful to those living close to the railway, who have witnessed a great deal of engineering work very close to them over the last two years.”
Charlene Wallace, Network Rail’s director of freight, national passenger and customer experience, said: “Completing the Southampton Freight Train Lengthening project passes a key milestone in our plans to move more freight by rail across the country.
“We have long sought to improve the route between Southampton and Reading and can now offer our freight operators more capacity and greater flexibility for their operations at an important location on our network.”
This article first appeared on www.andoveradvertiser.co.uk
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