Rail freight


Rail Central proposals for controversial freight interchange submitted

Plans for Rail Central, a proposed new Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) in Northamptonshire which could create 8,000 new jobs, have been submitted to the planning inspectorate.

Ashfield Land and Gazeley have submitted the proposals for the “next-generation” SRFI to be built where the West Coast Main Line and Northampton Loop Line intersect, adjacent to the A43 and within two miles of Junction 15A of the M1.

The project is defined as a ‘Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP)’ and if the plans are approved by the government’s Planning Inspectorate (PINs), the earliest start date for construction would be late in 2019.

The proposed freight interchange will take up to eight million sqft, which has led to complaints from residents in the area over the effects it may have on the Northamptonshire countryside.

Andrew Fisher, managing director at Ashfield Land, said: “Rail Central occupies the best strategic location in the UK for this type of development – where two railway lines and two major roads come together right in the heart of England.

“To meet the government’s policy for shifting more freight from road to rail – and to meet customer demands for fast, reliable and sustainable logistics – Rail Central can be a major factor.

“We are pleased to have submitted the proposals and look forward to the next stage in this important planning process.”

The proposals include a “traditional container handling inter modal terminal” which connects into the Northampton Loop Line and an “express terminal” which connects into the West Coast Mainline.

On top of the key rail infrastructure, up to 7.4 million sqft of rail-connected and rail-served logistics and commercial buildings are to be built as part of the proposals, plus a new grade-separated roundabout junction with the A43 which could see an increase of traffic caused by commuters and the transfer of goods.

The freight interchange would be built on a site between the villages of Blisworth and Milton Malsor, with local residents expressing concerns that the development could effectively merge the two villages together.

A campaign group called Stop Rail Central has been founded to oppose the plans, and last month changes were promised by developers to limit the impact of the plans.

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