Background and Summary

The first stage of new rail terminals since the Victorian rail building age, was in the 90’s’ under the local planning system.

These were in a rather specialist market mainly aimed at the expected Channel Tunnel on-line freight at the time as few other terminals (except those for the ‘heavy bulk’ market such as coal, aggregates and fuel and later biomas fuels) were available. When the larger container market grew in the late 80’s, shipping containers flooded the key port road arteries raising the need to shift the concentration the goods intermodal traffic on the UK’s rail for the long haul. With coal and steel services very much reduced in recent years, rail freight now needs to revive and intermodal is the opportunity.

Joined-up thinking

Rail freight networks in the UK and throughout Europe are extensive and complex, although in strategy they an ideal starting block for future, modern, sustainable and efficient new rail freight intermodal 'hubs'. 

Key freight corridors have been established but with new even longer intercontinental trains rapidly increasing as well as a fresh look at Mediterranean ports to access Northern Europe's ports, new intermodal 'hubs' may need to be revised and improved.

The European rail freight market has recently activated a number of key rail freight corridors, almost completing the original intent. The new Gotthard Rail tunnel through the Alps opening up another major rail freight corridor.

The UK government published its National Policy Statement for Rail and Road in January 2015, setting out their intent and shaping the best possible way to create efficient new rail freight terminals throughout the UK.


Summary of need


Government vision and strategic objectives for the national networks. The Government will deliver national networks that meet the country’s long-term needs; supporting a prosperous and competitive economy and improving overall quality of life, as part of a wider transport system. This means:

Networks with the capacity and connectivity and resilience to support national and local economic activity and facilitate growth and create jobs. Networks which support and improve journey quality, reliability and safety. Networks which support the delivery of environmental goals and the move to a low carbon economy. Networks which join up our communities and link effectively to each other.

In the UK government  Chancellors Autumn Statement - November 2016 the need for better infrastructure was highlighted:-

An extra £1.3bn is to be spent on improving Britain's roads, Chancellor Philip Hammond will say in his first Autumn Statement.

Most of the money will be for cutting congestion and upgrades to local roads and public transport networks.

The Treasury said investment in infrastructure and innovation to boost long-term economic growth would be "at the heart" of Wednesday's statement.

The fundingfor roads is said to be part of a wider package of pledges for infrastructure projects, amounting to billions of pounds.

The Treasursaid Mr Hammond and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling had "identified the importance of prioritising projects which make an immediate impact".

See - SLE web site NEWS