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  • Network Rail acquisition of freight sites

  • List of 2014 freight site acquisitions (32 KB)

    On 31 March 2014 we unconditionally exchanged contracts on a deal to transfer ownership of more than 100 key rail freight sites across Britain from three of the country's biggest freight operating companies to Network Rail. A universal completion date has been set for 31 st October 2014.

    With freight market growth predicted to more than double over the next 30 years, the acquisition of more than 100 leasehold sites from DB Schenker, Freightliner and GB Railfreight will help us to make better use of the network, providing improved access to freight operators and adding capacity at critical points on the East Coast and West Coast main lines.

    Consolidating ownership and management of a large part of Britain's rail freight infrastructure will allow for far better long-term strategic management and development. It will make more sites available to more operators, increasing competition and driving growth in a sector which directly contributes almost £900m to Britain's economy each year and supports an economic output of £6bn.

    Acquired site characteristics

    While the majority of acquisition sites are in regular freight or other rail use, a small proportion are not and the siding infrastructure within such sites, to the extent that it still exists, is either inoperable or disused and not currently supporting or capable of supporting rail traffic.

    Similarly, some sections of sidings infrastructure at otherwise active freight sites are either inoperable or disused and are again therefore not currently supporting or capable of supporting rail traffic.

    Moreover certain sites feature modified sidings infrastructure layouts that are not accurately reflected on contemporary maps.

    So, to clarify and establish the extent of the sidings infrastructure, layout, tenure and operational availability upon surrender of ownership by the incumbent FOC on 31 October, we've produced the following site plans informed by site surveys this summer.

    Site plans by Route

    East Midlands

    The plans feature simple colour coding:


    • Light blue background shading: acquired FOC headlease extent.
    • Red line bounding: tenant headlease extent.


    • Red shaded infill: inoperable or disused siding infrastructure (including track that no longer exists), such tracks will not become part of our operated network (whether or not under lease to a tenant).
    • Dark blue shaded infill: operable siding infrastructure that is under lease to a tenant; such tracks will not become part of our operated network.
    • No shaded infill: operable siding infrastructure that will be part of our operated network (not presently being included in any lease to a tenant) unless and until we become obliged pursuant to any pre-existing industry arrangement to grant a lease of any site including any of that infrastructure to any person.


    We will not be maintaining or operating that siding infrastructure identified as inoperable or disused; the intention being that any subsequent refurbishment, reconfiguration or other steps required for productive use would be instigated either by new rail freight users taking tenure of a site or other new railway operational investment schemes.

    As the siding infrastructure at the acquisition sites has not previously formed part of our network (and where inoperable or disused is not being used by any Access Beneficiary currently) the tenure and availability of use of this track as illustrated in the plans is not inconsistent with any existing access rights of any Access Beneficiary nor would any Access Beneficiary have had any expectation of access being granted by us.

    It is our intention and belief that the changes in siding ownership, maintenance and operational responsibility brought about by Project Mountfield will have no material effect upon either the operation of trains serving the acquisition sites or the operation of the network.

    No material effect (NME) letter