Rail Central (Strategic Rail Freight Interchange)

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Rail Central (Strategic Rail Freight Interchange)

Received 04 December 2018
From Northampton Rail Users Group


Northampton Rail Users Group (NRUG) object on the basis of the adverse effects this proposal will have on passenger services.

Any assertion of capacity on the WCML with no restriction to freight and no interference to passenger traffic by freight is not supported by a number of studies, including the NSPNN and freight RUS.

Capacity restrictions DIRFT to Wembley, including at Northampton, are well documented. Locating a new terminal in the middle of these well documented restrictions makes no sense.

The Northamptonshire Rail Capacity Study, as prepared by SLCRail and presented to Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (now integrated into SEMLEP) identifies a 32% market growth for Northampton passenger traffic by 2023 and a 106% growth to 2043, ie doubling the current usage in the next 25 years, bringing the WCML back to its current capacity constraints within 25 years, even with HS-2.

The WCML will continue to host a significant number of “conventional” intercity services, as the ES for the revamp works at Euston makes clear. There is no case for an assumption of significant capacity release for freight over this part of the WCML outside of a very short term window.

None of the strategic freight corridors shown in the NSPNN and Freight RUS include the WCML south of DIRFT, which might have been expected given the limitations identified in the various studies.

Northampton station is a pinch point for freight, with no identified solutions from Network Rail to solve this. Further, as the pinch is caused by the narrow corridor between the station and river, any required changes to the track layout at Northampton station to accommodate more freight are impractical following the building of the new station.