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Traffic problems created by freight trains in Spalding could be looked at in Network Rail study

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Traffic problems created in towns like Spalding by long freight trains are hoped to be looked at in a new study on the county’s railways.

The county’s transport and growth manager Jason Copper says that Network Rail will soon be launching a major study of the county’s railways - but he has warned that there are no quick fixes.

Lincolnshire County Council is putting together its fifth Local Transport Plan and is looking at actions it can introduce to reduce transport related carbon dioxide, which could include a road freight network or ‘intelligent’ loading bays to stop lorries queuing in town centres.

A freight train passes through Spalding
A freight train passes through Spalding

Long queues of traffic can be seen in Spalding town centre once a large freight train has passed through as the town is divided by the railway - creating problems for taxi firms, businesses and motorists.

Mr Copper told this newspaper that freight is an ongoing issue for a number of communities in Lincolnshire and that he has raised it with Network Rail.

He said: “ One freight train can take 50 to 60 lorries off the road which most people consider to be a good thing. If you have one community which has significant growth in rail movement when a level crossing goes down and severs that community.

“It is an issue I have raised with Network Rail who are about to embark on a study of Greater Lincolnshire to look at the future of rail.

“We need to think about the long-term need to remove severance issues.”

Bridges or tunnels are the options to resolve the issues of rail intersecting roads in places like Spalding but these are expensive warned Mr Copper.

He said: “It is a question we are hoping will be picked up as part of the Network Rail work.

“Getting more stuff moved by rail that is a good thing for UK PLC but that has consequences at a local level. If you live in Spalding and have the town cut in two for good chunks of the day it is not so good. There are no quick fixes to that particular problem.”

As part of the net zero work, the county council will be speaking to hauliers, including those in South Holland, about a possible development of a road freight network of preferred routes.

Another option to reduce carbon dioxide could be the introduction of intelligent loading bays in Spalding, Stamford, Boston and Lincoln. This scheme would require lorry drivers to book a slot to deliver at the kerbside and prevent waiting. Another option could be a consolidation centre, which would see multiple loads dropped off and the transferred for onward movement by a single vehicle.

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