Southampton – WCML : Freight Upgrade
Southampton to West Midlands Work is proceeding on the business case for this project as a whole. As a first element, Phase 1 of Cherwell Valley resignalling is progressing towards implementation in May 2004. This initial stage provides both capacity and performance enhancement for the section of route between Banbury and Leamington. Phase 2 of Cherwell Valley resignalling is currently deferred until funding is available.
The existing development work for freight gauge enhancement on the routes from Southampton to the WCML at Stafford will be completed by summer 2003. Physical implementation of the work will be subject to re-examining the business case and the
future availability of funding.
Gauge clearance of the routes from Stafford to Manchester Trafford Park, via both Crewe and via Macclesfield, will be provided as part of the West Coast Route Modernisation work in 2003/04.
Studies investigating the options for capacity enhancement, in conjunction with planned
resignalling projects at Reading and at Basingstoke, will continue in 2003/04
Southampton – West Coast Main Line is a two stage programme of projects aimed at, firstly, increasing the gauge on this corridor to allow larger 9’6" containers to be carried, and secondly, to allow more and longer freight trains to run. This is targeted at protecting and then building rail’s market share of deep-sea container traffic. The initiative will support the proposed development of Dibden Bay by Associated British Ports.
The programme includes capacity improvement works on the Cherwell Valley, between Leamington Spa and Banbury, which is scheduled for completion in May 2004. This will provide double the available signalling capacity and is timed to be complete to enable additional services to be operated on this route during the West Coast Main Line blockades in 2004.
Completion of the development work for the gauge enhancement work is scheduled for May 2004. Implementation planning is progressing, based on a target completion date of October 2007. This is subject to a funding agreement
EWS is concerned that like last year’s NMS Railtrack has yet to develop plans to meet the growth forecasts of passenger and freight operators between Basingstoke and Southampton. This route is a major corridor for freight from Hampshire to the West Midlands and the north and it is vital that freight train paths are developed that match the strategy for Routes 3 and 4 at Reading. EWS notes that its requirement for W10w gauge, 775m long trains and clearance for class 325 units are included in the NMS