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Doncaster - a well placed location for a Road/Rail Freight Interchange terminal. Perhaps that's why it has TWO!

September 24, 2020 11:26 PM
iPort Rail (Verdion)

iPort Rail

Freight being in the news at the moment, Cllr Nick Hollinghurst, County Councillor for Tring, remembering that the County Council is a Transport Authority, thought he should pay some attention to the publicity around the much vaunted iPort in Doncaster, of which iPort Rail forms an important part.

iPort is the name of a very large warehousing and logistics estate (800 acres) build on the site of the former Rossington Colliery. iPort Rail is a 30 acre road/rail intermodal terminal with one 770 m train reception bay and two handling bays. It can handle 8 trains a day and receives trainloads of containers from Southampton, Felixstowe, Teesport, Immingham and Thamesport. At present, two years after it opened it is already up to capacity. However the facilities are able to comply with the requirements of international freight and there is a longterm plan to double capacity to match that of its rival. Let us hope that is going to be possible, because the iPort is connected by a single-track spur off an old single-track freight line which has to be used to reach the main line and the rest of the UK network.

Doncaster International Railport (Genesee & Wyoming Inc)

Doncaster International Railport

So it's just as well that there's also an existing railfreight terminal, the Doncaster International Railport, operated by Freightliner (now owned by Genesee & Wyoming Inc) which has been quietly handling container traffic since 1995 without the fanfares associated with the new arrival in Rossington. This older terminal handles has a container handling capacity double that of iPort Rail plus specialised facilities for handling motor vehicles and enjoys a direct connection to the main line. It was designed and intended to receive freight trains direct from Europe but due to technical and financial issues (the Channel Tunnel freight tariffs among them), together with a lack of political will to resolve matters this never happened. Now it probably never will.

This just underlines the chronic neglect of railfreight in general in the UK and of trans-Tunnel freight in particular. But more topically, as we read in the papers and see on the television the construction of vast lorry parks in Kent for expected delayed HGVs, there are 35 - 40 vacant freight train slots through the Channel Tunnel per day that are never taken up. That could have been over 2,500 HGVs per day taken off our motorways, with customs clearance being carried out at the destination, in places like Doncaster, far from the crowded ports.