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Freight increase may see rail yard expand

Dudley | News | Published:

A rail yard in the Black Country is in line for expansion as transport chiefs predict freight trains running through the region will more than double over the next 18 years.

A rail yard in the Black Country is in line for expansion as transport chiefs predict freight trains running through the region will more than double over the next 18 years.

Transport authority Centro is appealing to the Government to turn Bescot Yard in Walsall into a freight station, complimenting existing sites in Wolverhampton and Dudley.

Centro predicts the amount of rail freight will increase by 120 per cent by 2030, based on current trends over the past few years as well as rising congestion on the country's roads.

Bescot Yard was built in 1966 as a locomotive maintenance and storage facility but, despite the size and strategic location of the site, it is generally perceived to be underused.

The transport authority believes the site, next to junction nine of the M6, would be much cheaper than building a new freight rail terminal from scratch.

They want to start in 2013, when signalling work is done, and provide longer sidings for big trains.

Councillor Angus Adams, chairman of Centro, said: "Bescot was missed out of the national freight strategy by Network Rail, but the site is ideal and it's ready. Rail freight is an ideal part of the solution to congestion on the roads."

Centro wants to see the freight line between Walsall and Stourbridge re-opened.

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It is also intended to use it for an extension of the Midland Metro network to get services between Wednesbury and Brierley Hill.

Other freight stations include Tata Steel's Round Oak site in Brierley Hill and the Wolverhampton Steel Terminal run by EWS.

The Government claims by 2030 there will be a need for 20 million cargo containers in the UK. The country currently only has the capacity to handle 7.5m.

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