Diesel trains from Ipswich to get fuel delivered by road

Freightliner depot

The new Freightliner depot nearing completion beside Ranelagh Road in Ipswich. - Credit: Paul Geater

Residents of a busy road near Ipswich station have been told that plans to bring in diesel by road to a new rail depot will have only a minimal effect on traffic.

Freightliner has built a new depot on rail land between the Ipswich goods yard and Ranelagh Road, and will move its depot from its current site near Platform Four of Ipswich Station.

The multi-million pound depot is nearing completion - its construction has been delayed by the pandemic and lockdowns - and is expected to make it easier to maintain locomotives without disrupting the rest of the rail network around Ipswich. It should lead to the creation of 20 new jobs.

But local residents were concerned when they heard about plans to bring in fuel by road rather than rail.

However, Freightliner says there will only be two HGV movements to the depot every day - including fuel deliveries.

Ranelagh Road entrance

The Ranelagh Road entrance to the new Freightliner depot which will be used by a maximum of two HGVs a day according to the company. - Credit: Paul Geater

A spokeswoman for the company said: "There is a comparatively low requirement for diesel fuel at our maintenance facility, which means we were able to commit to only two HGV delivery vehicles to the site a day, including fuel deliveries.

"We use so little fuel that the volume benefits of transporting fuel by rail make the delivery unviable - we only supply fuel by rail to our existing facility as there is no other way of serving the facility.  

"Being able to serve our new fuel point by road will enable us, in future, to diversify our fuel suppliers, allowing us to receive deliveries of bio-fuels and other alternative fuels, which further improves the environmental credentials of rail freight.

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"Fuel deliveries by rail are well suited where there are high fuel demands, such as refineries or to airports.  

"Small trains of fuel take up valuable capacity from the rail network that can be better used by high volume, high density, freight trains removing, typically, 70 or 80 lorries from the UK’s congested roads."