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Plans submitted for massive freight rail hub

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Developers behind a massive strategic rail freight interchange in Northampton have submitted a planning application to the Planning Inspectorate.

Ashfield Land Management and Gazeley GLP said the proposal was to build a new 101ha next-generation Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI).

The proposed site is said to be capable of handling traditional container freight and the emerging demand for “fast freight” linked to the growth of e-commerce and customer expectations for rapid and next day delivery.

The proposed development would be located in Northamptonshire, 20km northwest of Milton Keynes and 6km south of Northampton.

To the east of the site is the Northampton Loop Line and the West Coast Main Line is on the southern boundary. The A43 is on the site’s western boundary while the M1 motorway is 1km north.

Proposals include a traditional container handling ‘‘inter modal’’ terminal connecting with the Northampton Loop Line and an ‘‘express terminal’’ connecting directly with the West Coast Main Line.

In addition to the key rail infrastructure, the plans include up to 69ha of rail-connected and rail-served logistics and commercial buildings plus a new grade separated roundabout junction with the A43 and key improvements to J15A of the M1.

The new facility will also be able to handle at least four up to 775m long trains per day.

Ashfield Land said submission of the application followed three years of consultation and development in line with technical studies and assessments, plus feedback from a wide range of stakeholders.

Ashfield Land managing director Andrew Fisher said: “Rail Central occupies the best strategic location in the UK for this type of development – where two railway lines and two major roads come together right in the heart of England.

“To meet the government’s policy for shifting more freight from road to rail – and to meet customer demands for fast, reliable and sustainable logistics – Rail Central can be a major factor. We are pleased to have submitted the proposals and look forward to the next stage in this important planning process.”

The application had to go to the Planning Inspectorate as the proposal is considered to be a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.

The Inspectorate has 28 days to review the application and decide whether it should be accepted.

If the project is approved, it is hoped construction will start in late 2019. 

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