Plans to improve journeys for thousands of rail passengers using the East Coast main line are on display in Doncaster this week. The plans, by Network Rail, look to separate freight trains from passenger services by building a flyover at Shaftholme Junction, to the north of Doncaster.
At the moment freight trains, running between ports on the Humber to the Aire Valley power stations, have to run on the East Coast main line for up to 14 miles, slowing the passenger services which run between London and Scotland.
Richard Lungmuss, route director for Network Rail, said: “The past decade has seen a 35% increase in passenger numbers between Doncaster and York. This scheme will allow us to run faster trains and more of them. It will also allow us to provide space for the massive increase in the amount of freight being transported by rail, supporting business and keeping lorries off our congested roads.”
The East Coast main line (ECML) is one of the busiest railway lines in Britain. It is a vital transport link between London, the North East and Scotland and serves many commuter and regional passengers. A number of constraints along the route need to be addressed in order to deliver a better railway in the future. These will help open up the line for additional trains, improve journey times, reduce delays and provide more reliable services for passengers and freight operators.
As well as tackling a crucial bottleneck on the line, this project is part of Network Rail’s vision for freight that will allow many of the increasing numbers of freight containers coming into Britain’s ports to be transported by rail. The alternative would be to take the containers by road, adding to traffic congestion. Taking freight by rail rather than by road reduces CO2 emissions by 74%, helping the UK to improve its carbon footprint.