Fast track to more growth for Port of Tyne and North East region20 May 2011
Network Rail has restored some 600 yards of track with the rail itself, the crossings and the necessary signalling which had been out of operation for 10 years.
The renewal of the Boldon East Curve will allow freight trains to go directly east from Port of Tyne to pick up the East Coast main line at Northallerton, saving 7 miles and up to two hours on journey times.
For the past 10 years, trains leaving the Port have had to first go west along the Metro line to sidings at Pelaw where the locomotive was decoupled before being reattached to take the carriages back in the opposite direction.
"For us, the shorter rail journey time will have an impact on how many trains we can run in a day and makes us even more competitive as a port,'' said Port of Tyne Chief Executive Officer Andrew Moffat.
"To have the curve operational again is not only a great bonus for the port, it is also a very significant addition to the region's transport infrastructure. Reducing rail freight journey times out of the
Port of Tyne brings the whole region two hours closer to key markets and suppliers."
Mr Moffat added: "This key addition to the transport infrastructure not only improves the efficiency of our rail links with the whole of the UK and Europe, via the Channel Tunnel, it also means that we are transporting more goods around the country in the most environmentally friendly way and has the potential to increase passenger train capacity on the East Coast main line.''
GB Railfreight is a major Port user, running around 20 trainloads of biomass wood pellets and 20 of coal every week to the Drax power station and a further 10 coal trains every week to the Alcan power plant at Lynemouth.
John Smith, managing director GB Railfreight, said: "I am pleased that the Boldon East Curve has been revived. The investment by Network Rail will add efficiencies into GB Railfreight's operations at the Port of Tyne, which will save time and costs and provide significantly improved flexibility for freight out of the Port."
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