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Railtrack eyes new Thames crossing

NEWS

RAILTRACK IS considering a new Thames rail crossing in addition to phase two of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, director of network development Robin Gisby confirmed this week.

Speaking to NCE on Tuesday, Gisby said the company was looking at two or three options for a dedicated freight crossing east of London to be built by 2009.

'CTRL phase two doesn't make sense for freight trains because of the curve of the track and the line speed,' he said. 'We have looked at the property aspects and connections north of the river for a couple of [dedicated freight] routes but I don't want to say where at the moment because it would stir up unease in the area.'

Gisby added that the route would require 'less than 10km of new rail' and would be constructed mostly in tunnel. It would link with the West Coast Main Line, East Coast Main Line and Midland Main Line north of Stratford and use existing routes through Kent to the Channel Tunnel to the south.

Chairman of Railfreight Group Lord Tony Berkeley gave a cautious welcome to the project.

But he warned: 'When it comes to providing additional capacity for freight on existing lines, Railtrack is very little further on. I suggest Railtrack sorts out today's problems before it concentrates on the next ten years.'

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