Felixstowe: Passenger trains cuts call as port starts work on new rail terminal

BRITAIN’S biggest container port was today starting work on a �40 million project to build a third rail terminal – and take 750,000 more lorries off the A14 every year.

The scheme at the Port of Felixstowe could mean some changes to the Felixstowe-Ipswich rail line, with executives calling for a rethink on the use of the track and suggesting off-peak less-used passenger trains could be cut to make way for more freight.

Services would be replaced with a top-quality express bus service.

Mike Penning MP, under-secretary of state for transport, was today due to carry out the ground-breaking ceremony for the new rail terminal, watched by rail freight industry representatives, local dignitaries, and officials from contractors Volker Fitzpatrick.

The rail terminal will be the third at Felixstowe and the first in the UK designed to handle 30-wagon long freight trains, capable of carrying 90 standard-sized containers.

Clemence Cheng, managing director of HPH Central Europe, said: “This new rail facility is part of the port’s on-going programme of expansion which will further consolidate our position as the leading gateway in the UK for deep-sea container traffic.

“We already move 750,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) per year by rail and the new terminal will eventually more than double our capacity for intermodal traffic.”

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The port has 58 train movements a day currently and connections with 17 inland destinations. Its berths are able to handle the world’s largest ships.

David Gledhill, chief executive officer of Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd, which owns the Port of Felixstowe, said: “What many people fail to grasp is that scale is actually very good for the environment.

“Felixstowe is the only port in the UK able to accommodate the next generation of container ships. These ships will have 50pc less emissions than the Asia-Europe average, and the new North Rail Terminal will allow enable us to handle longer and more efficient freight trains.

“The scale of our operations at Felixstowe, which will eventually increase to eight million TEU per annum with the addition of Bathside Bay, also provides the critical mass to support a wide range of coastal feeder services. Taken as a whole, the range of benefits open to HPUK customers is absolutely unique.”