Ipswich freight train maintenance hub set for approval
- Credit: Archant
Multi-million pound plans to establish a freight train maintenance depot just outside Ipswich Station are set to be given the green light.
Freightliner lodged a planning application in January for the fresh depot on land between Ipswich Station and the London Road railway, where existing tracks are in place but are rarely used.
The hub will feature a maintenance workshop able to accommodate two train wagons, a separate building for the maintenance of wheelsets, a facility for inspecting locomotives and a refuelling point.
The planning report ahead of the committee meeting on June 26 said Freightliner had considered a site in Felixstowe but capacity was limited.
If it goes ahead, around 20 new jobs are expected to be created.
Planning officers have recommended approval, with the report adding: "The proposal would facilitate rail freight, which has a number of key benefits including economic and environmental benefits.
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"Furthermore the applicant has considered other locations other than within Ipswich, however these have been found to be unfeasible for the proposed development."
If approved, Freightliner anticipates that construction will take around nine months.
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In its application, the firm said the nearest maintenance depots for its fleet were Manchester or Southampton, which were costly when many of its trips started or ended at Felixstowe.
Moving its refuelling point, which is currently on the other side of the station, means it will not have to cross the main line which has been limiting Network Rail's capacity.
Freightliner currently operates 22 trains a day in and out of Felixstowe to all parts of the country.
Company director Tim Shakerley said: "There is a growing demand from the government to move more goods by rail.
"Each freight train takes up to 76 lorry journeys off our congested road network and is a far safer means of transport.
"We take any impact we have on our neighbours and the environment very seriously and have written to local residents to give them full details of our plans and invited them to contact our project team with any questions."
The site was vacated by DB Cargo in 2014, and since then has been used by Freightliner for its train crews.