Latest Rail News

06.02.15

Port of Sunderland lines back in use after 20 years

The transport secretary has visited the north east to see a locomotive run along the rail line to the Port of Sunderland, for the first time in 20 years. 

The use of the lines for a light engine rail trial yesterday followed £600,000 work by Network Rail to reinstate the former line into the Port during December 2014 and January 2015.

During the work, the port saw almost half a mile of rail lines reconnected by Network Rail, a boost to its cargo handling capabilities. Port of Sunderland already handles more than 700,000 tonnes of cargo each year. 

Port director Matthew Hunt said that the trial with DB Schenker Rail UK, using a 22 metre long Class 66 locomotive, was a significant moment for the Port, after 20 years without links to the national rail network.  

It is expected that the Port will use the lines over the coming months as a means of supporting the increasing number of cargo handling projects it is managing. 

“The reconnection of the Port’s rail link will boost its import and export capabilities significantly,” said Patrick McLoughlin. 

“It’s fantastic to once again have rail connections at Port of Sunderland. We have always enjoyed great access to open sea, and the port is well placed in terms of its links to major roads and airports.” 

Work is about to be completed and the rail line will soon be used for commercial operations, increasing the Port’s capability to manage cargo handling projects. 

Mark Tarry, area director for Network Rail, added: “It is fabulous to see rail traffic once more running at the port of Sunderland. Network Rail is committed to supporting the local economy and to promoting the use of rail freight. 

“Reconnecting this line supports both of those aims. We look forward to continue to work with the port as they seek to attract new rail freight business to the area.” 

Neil McDonald, head of sales at DB Schenker Rail UK, said: “Britain’s ports are a vital link to overseas markets, but landing cargo in the port is not the end of the journey. Excellent transport links from ports to cities are essential in order for shippers to reach their final customer, and rail ensures low carbon, low congestion transport. 

“Ports play a crucial part in DB Schenker Rail’s growth strategy and we are delighted to bring rail back to Port of Sunderland.” 

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