AN £80million scheme to improve rail freight capacity between Felixstowe and the Midlands will take 65,000 heavy lorry movements off the A14 every year, the Government said. The scheme is part of a £132million package announced by the Department for Trans
AN £80million scheme to improve rail freight capacity between Felixstowe and the Midlands will take 65,000 heavy lorry movements off the A14 every year, the Government said.
The scheme is part of a £132million package announced by the Department for Transport last week, and involves upgrading the line between Peterborough and Nuneaton to take 9f t6in high cube containers, which otherwise require specialist rail vehicles or have to be carried by road.
Upgrading the route from Felixstowe through Ely and March as far as Peterborough is already in the programme or has been done.
While the reduction in the number of lorry movements will be welcomed, it will be barely noticeable to most users of the A14 in Cambridgeshire, which already carries 18,000 HGVs a day, so the change will be only around one per cent when the work to enlarge bridges and tunnels is completed in 2011.
Nonetheless, the move was welcomed by Railfuture's East Anglia branch for the benefit it will bring to passengers on the Great Eastern main line, which is the route large rail-borne containers have to use to reach the Midlands via the West Coast main line.
Cambridgeshire County Council also welcomed the announcement. Councillor John Reynolds, lead member for planning and regional matters, said: "We have been campaigning for years to see these improvements and I am pleased that the Government has listened and is investing in rail freight.
"The improvements will mean fewer lorries on our already congested roads, such as the A14. The county council is committed to bringing forward a range of linked transport solutions from better rail links, public transport measures, roads, cycleways and pedestrian facilities to keep Cambridgeshire on the move.