Rail transformation at the port of Southampton moves to final stages
The Port of Southampton Solent Rail Terminal is undergoing a significant upgrade as part of a joint investment between rail terminal operators Solent Stevedores and Associated British Ports (ABP). Once the project is complete, deep sea shipping lines will have access to an 18-acre facility that will link the existing intermodal rail transport site with laden and empty container handling, storage, maintenance and repair within a single-site boundary – a first for the Port of Southampton.
The second phase of the rail terminal project has been topped out, connecting a further 6.5 acres (2.7 hectares) of space to the existing rail terminal. New track has been laid and new offices on site have been completed. This phase included realigning the track and creating two container sidings capable of servicing 640-metre trains at the quayside. The final phase is well underway and will see all rail track works completed.
Moving into third and final stage
Southampton is already capable of handling 775-metre intermodal services. UK rail freight operator Freightliner, for example, already has three daily roundtrip intermodal trains at that length from Southampton. The new infrastructure will further increase capacity and align with a policy of favouring rail for inland freight traffic. “This project enables our customer to handle, store, and fix more containers on-site at the port”, said Paul Reeves, Head of Commercial at ABP Southampton. “The improved rail provision for the Solent Stevedores will enable the company to transport more of their clients’ containers via rail, reducing the number of HGVs [heavy goods vehicles] on our roads and improving the local air quality.”
This 17.5 million pound (20.3 million euro) investment in partnership with Associated British Ports (ABP) to enhance the Port of Southampton’s container offer for deep sea shipping lines is moving into its third and final stage. “This project is a key part of the future of rail freight movement at the Port of Southampton”, said Clive Thomas, Commercial Director at Solent Stevedores. “[It] crucially goes a long way to support the Government’s target to reach Net Zero by 2050.”