Werrington tunnel : A pressure valve for freight

Werrington tunnel isn’t a tunnel that immediately springs to mind. A £200m railway tunnel few have ever heard of. The intention of the tunnel is to take pressure from the East Coast Main Line. It will allow freight trains to bypass the area around Peterborough. The benefit, allow passenger services to pass slower moving freight trains.

Integrated Rail Plan

The Werrington tunnel project is part of the Integrated Rail Plan. A £96bn development to improve rail services in the Midlands and Northern England. This project is part of the East Coast upgrade. It should cut passenger and freight journeys from London to the North East and Scotland. The Integrated Rail Plan was the replacement to the original HS2 plan. According to the Government this new plan is more inclusive. Seeing smaller cities benefit from additional rail rather than an overall faster line between major cities. Werrington Tunnel is one such venture. Allowing passenger trains to pass freight trains speeding up journey times for both.

This country’s railways have long been home to marvels of engineering and the new Werrington Tunnel shows that we are continuing that proud tradition.

Opening this new section of railway marks the end of a project which saw Network Rail engineers deliver an incredible feat installing an 11,000t concrete tunnel, freeing up tracks and unlocking new opportunities for rail freight.

Chris Heaton-Harris : UK Rail Minister

Werrington tunnel design

The design of the Werrington tunnel is new. Sitting underneath the existing East Coast Main Line it allows freight trains to drop below the main line. Emerging some 155 metres later. The need for passenger trains to stop for freight trains crossing the track has been removed. Decreasing journey times and reducing delays.

With the issues this year on freight services and the ports this can only be a good thing for freight forwarders. Indeed John Smith, Chief executive of GB Railfreight commented on how this was a win for both consumers and the rail freight industry. Appreciating how this would unlock much needed extra capacity on the network.

With freight services stretched and issues at rail terminals with container storage increased network capacity must be a win0win for the freight industry.

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