Major changes to the railway will transform access for freight trains to the Port of Southampton.
A £17 million upgrade is providing almost a mile of new track, 22 new signals and 14 new sets of switches and crossings. As a result, longer freight trains, each capable of carrying up to 14 containers more than at present, will be able to access the facility. They will also no longer need to move in and out of Freightliner’s Maritime Terminal to load and unload goods, boosting efficiency of freight operations by as much as 30%.
Work commenced between Southampton Central and Redbridge at the end of January 2021. To complete the work, the line from Southampton Central to Brockenhurst and Romsey will be closed from Saturday 13 to Friday 19 February.
Passenger services will be replaced by bus services. Rail shuttle services will also operate to keep passengers moving.
Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex route director, said: “The line closure between February 13 and 19 will bring the core work of this project to an end, and with it, huge benefits to our freight operators and the local environment.
“It’s vital that we continue to modernise the rail network and we’re grateful to our passengers and those living close to the railway in Southampton for their patience while we finish this work.”
Charlene Wallace, Network Rail’s director of freight, national passenger and customer experience, added: “We’re delighted to see this programme moving forward, building on the work already undertaken in Southampton that is helping our customers run longer and heavier trains.
“We’re committed to getting more freight onto rail and schemes like this give the sector the boost it needs to deliver.”