Rail Freight Depot needed more than ever, Helioslough argue

PUBLISHED: 17:02 15 December 2009 | UPDATED: 14:47 06 May 2010

THERE is more of a need for a rail freight depot in Park Street than ever before – that s according to Helioslough s rail expert who spoke today (Tuesday). Giving his evidence to the public inquiry, which has entered its fourth and final week, Nick Gallop

THERE is more of a need for a rail freight depot in Park Street than ever before - that's according to Helioslough's rail expert who spoke today (Tuesday).

Giving his evidence to the public inquiry, which has entered its fourth and final week, Nick Gallop said there had been several changes in circumstances which increased the demand for the development.

They included a letter submitted to the inquiry by developers Helioslough from Tesco, which wanted to show its support for the proposal.

The supermarket giant already uses rail freight and it said that Park Street would be a suitable location for a depot rather than elsewhere in the Home Counties.

Another factor to be considered, Mr Gallop said, was leading European rail freight group DB Schenker approaching Helioslough to say that they too would like to use the depot for rail freight distribution. Like Helioslough, the company has also identified a need for such a development in the northwest sector of the M25.

Mr Gallop also argued that there would be sufficient freight paths available to service the site and estimated that six trains could enter and exit the site during the daytime off-peak.

Although the 2015 Thameslink timetable is not yet available and will include an increase in services, Mr Gallop said he had taken that into account when making his judgements.

In his submission he said: "Whilst inevitably there can be no guarantee that sufficient trains paths would be available to serve the proposed SRFI, there is nonetheless a reasonable assurance from Network Rail, as guardians of the rail network, that sufficient paths could be made available outside the peak hours to properly service the facility if built."

A number of witnesses, including train operator First Capital Connect (FCC), have already argued that the additional freight trains on the line will have a detrimental impact on services and that the rail paths would not be available when the extra services in the Thameslink 2000 programme began.

The inquiry is set to finish on Friday afternoon.


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