A new £14m railway extension has been unveiled in Buxton which will boost productivity in the UK construction sector.
Network Rail has transformed a disused council tip into 430 metres of railway sidings so longer freight trains can serve local quarries.
The Great North Rail Project investment means freight firms DB Cargo and Freightliner can now increase their number of wagons on each train from 18 to 26.
This allows up to 2,500 tonnes of stone to be transported during each load, providing a boost to UK building projects and the environment.
Each freight train takes 76 lorries off local roads and every tonne of freight carried by rail cuts carbon emissions by 76%.
Martin Frobisher, managing director of Network Rail’s London Northern Western route, said: “We’re really pleased that this upgrade will give both a boost to the UK economy through greater productivity, as well as improving the local environment by reducing the reliance on lorries which cause congestion and produce harmful CO2 emissions.”
Andrew Sumner, head of industrial sales from DB Cargo UK, said: “This is a significant development for rail freight in the Peak District and will go a long way to relieve some of the constraints we face in the area. This is another example of a successful partnership approach between operators, industry bodies and stakeholders working together to develop and innovate the industry – we are stronger together.”
Adam Cunliffe, chief commercial officer at Freightliner, said: “The extended sidings at Buxton mean that we can run longer trains with more wagons, helping deliver an increase in the movement of freight by rail in the area and all the associated economic and environmental benefits that brings.”
Chris Swan, head of rail at Tarmac, said: “With capacity challenges across the rail network, these new sidings at Buxton will enable Tarmac to transport higher volumes of material on bigger trains, supporting the efficient and sustainable delivery of a growing number of major infrastructure and development projects across the country.”
Dai Larner, executive director at High Peak Borough Council, said: “We’re delighted with this major investment project in our local rail infrastructure. It brings this land back into productive use and delivers real – and very welcome – benefits for residents, the quarrying industry and everyone using our road network by reducing the amount of freight being transported by lorry.”
Paul McMahon, managing director of Freight and National Passenger Operators at Network Rail, said: “At Network Rail we want to work with our current and potential customers to grow the amount of freight we’re transporting by rail. It’s through innovative schemes like this that we’re making rail an attractive and increasingly viable mode of transport.”
A car and household waste had to be safely disposed of during regeneration of the former council tip.
The area has now been landscaped to sympathetically blend into the surrounding countryside.
Labour MP for High Peak Ruth George officially opened the new railway today (Monday 29 April).