Rail Freight Interchange

21st August 2015

Anne Main has called the approach to the proposed rail freight terminal ‘piecemeal and chaotic’, following the latest response from the Department for Transport.

The rail minister, Claire Perry, responded to a letter from Anne after an announcement to pause the electrification of the Midland Mainline.

Commenting on how this announcement would affect the rail freight terminal, Ms Perry said ‘there may potentially be an indirect impact arising from a temporary pause’ meaning any necessary gauge clearing work for a rail freight site ‘may be impacted’. Ms Perry said it was ‘not possible to conclude on the nature of any impact’ until ‘Sir Peter [Hendy] reports back in the autumn.’

The St Albans MP said, ‘this builds on our suspicions that the site at Radlett will be one big lorry park. It also builds on my concerns that this could potentially have a huge negative impact on Hertfordshire commuters.

‘First Network Rail’s funding for major infrastructure improvements was paused, after the chairman was “replaced”. Next they were fined by the regulator for mishandling of scheduled works. Now we’re told we don’t know the impact on any gauge clearance work until the new chairman has looked into how Network Rail will deliver their upgrades.

‘I know the county council will have to consider their options, but the lack of clarity surrounding this development must surely mean this cannot go ahead amidst such uncertainty. The whole approach to rail freight has been piecemeal and chaotic.

‘Oliver Dowden and I are asking what you think would be basic questions that cannot be easily answered. It is clear to me that there should be no movement at this time on any decision regarding the future of rail freight. We must have clarity on the most basic of infrastructure improvements needed to support a rail freight terminal, and during this whole process we’ve not had any.’

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