South Holland rail freight hub on the cards as part of new transport strategy
Plans for a rail freight hub are now back on the cards as part of a strategy to address major transport issues in our area.
The news comes with transport firmly under the spotlight - with strikes inadvertently relieving traffic congestion around Spalding’s level crossings this week, the issue with barriers cutting the town in two getting national attention plus crunch talks due on the future of bus routes and more closures for key roads.
More than a decade ago, plans were floated for a new facility that would allow goods from food manufacturing firms to be loaded onto trains instead of needing long HGV journeys.
The Spalding Guardian understands that the idea is being looked at again, but is at an early stage - with no details yet decided on a possible location for a major new bit of infrastructure.
Coun Nick Worth, South Holland District Council porfolio holder for commercialisation and growth, said: “As part of the emerging transport strategy, rail freight and any sort of rail freight hub to take the pressure off the road network would be something we are obviously keen to do.
“We want to improve the A16 and A17 - ideally by getting them dualled but that’s a long hope.
“As part of that strategy if you could encourage a rail freight hub somewhere in the council partnership area that would be good.”
Coun Roger Gambba-Jones said the revived idea was wrapped up in a wider push for rail freight and that we were part of the conservation given the sheer number of HGV journeys.
Of the idea, he said: “Bring it on - we are open to it.
“We were serious about it then and we are serious about it now.”
The separate issue of the existing freight trains passing through Spalding - and causing congestion - was temporarily relieved this week as a knock-on effect of rail strikes.
Network Rail said Lincoln Signalling Centre is closed on strike days - which include today and Saturday - meaning freight traffic will have to use the East Coast Main Line and not the Spalding route.
On Tuesday, the first strike day, traffic in and around Winsover Road was not as heavy as usual.
Coun Gambba-Jones said: “In the short term it’s a blessing, but what we really need is a long term solution to the issue.
“There are pluses and minuses because it cuts us off from the rest of the world when we are actually pushing for more trains.”
He added: “In essence, it’s nice to have a bit of relief but ultimately it just means more vehicles on the roads that have already been punished.”