A £14m rail freight extension in the Peak District has been unveiled by Network Rail to boost construction productivity and take lorries off the road.
A disused council tip has been transformed by Network Rail into 430 new metres of railway sidings in Buxton so longer freight trains can serve local quarries in the area.
As part of the Great North Rail Project, the investment means freight firms DB Cargo and Freightliner can increase their number of wagons on each train from 18 to 26, which will allow up to 2,500 tonnes of stone to be transported during each load.
Managing director of Network Rail’s London Northern Western route, Martin Frobisher, said he was “really pleased” that the upgrade will provide a boost to the construction sector through greater productivity, but also improving the local environment.
The rail freight upgrade will reduce reliance on lorries which cause congestion and produce CO2 emissions, with each freight train taking 76 lorries off local roads and every tonne of freight carried by rail cuts carbon emissions by 76%.
Andrew Sumner, head of industrial sales for DB Cargo UK, said: “This is a significant development for rail freight in the Peak District and will go a long way to relieve some of the constraints we face in the area.
“This is another example of a successful partnership approach between operators, industry bodies and stakeholders working together to develop and innovate the industry – we are stronger together.”
Freightliner chief commercial officer, Adam Cunliffe, echoed this, stating: “The extended sidings at Buxton mean that we can run longer trains with more wagons, helping deliver an increase in the movement of freight by rail in the area and all the associated economic and environmental benefits that brings.”
Labour MP for High Peak Ruth George officially opened the new rail freight extension, and Network Rail said the area has now been landscaped to sympathetically blend into the surrounding countryside.