The cash will help to resolve issues between Eaglescliffe to Northallerton branch of the East Coast Main Line, where low bridges and tunnels currently restrict the size of cargo containers that can be used.
The line carries containers travelling between Teesport and key distribution locations in the South on a daily basis, with the largest containers taking a time consuming and costly detour via Darlington. If services are to expand to meet expected demand from the port, improvements between Eaglescliffe and Northallerton are a critical requirement.
Network Rail is contributing £750,000 to the project, through its Strategic Freight Network funded by the Department for Transport, with a further £250,000 from the Tees Valley Combined Authority. This investment will be used to find a workable solution to increasing the container sizes on the line.
Geoff Lippitt, PD Ports’ Business Development Director, said: “We very much welcome the news of this investment from Network Rail and the Tees Valley Combined Authority. These rail links are vital to the region’s future economic growth as we continue to increase the number of containers that travel by rail between key locations in the UK and Teesport in addition to our well-established daily service to Scotland. Teesport now handles over 500,000 containers a year and is one of the major shipping and logistics hubs in the North of the UK.
“Moving freight by rail is more cost effective, safer and better for the environment than road haulage. As international trade increases and demand for greater flexibility and efficiency in supply chains to move goods around the UK intensifies, our transport infrastructure needs to be able to service the industry’s requirements.
“Investment in UK rail infrastructure is needed now. This announcement is a step in the right direction to find an answer to the problems on the route between Eaglescliffe to Northallerton, which will help futureproof Teesport for importers and exporters, boost productivity and help the whole of the Tees Valley’s economy.”
Mayor Ben Houchen, said: “As we leave the EU and become an outward, globally trading nation once more, we need to throw our weight behind Teesport by ensuring our rail freight infrastructure is fit for purpose.”