Rail freight upgrade between Doncaster and northern Lincolnshire ports to boost local economy.(Network Rail)

Rail freight upgrade between Doncaster and northern Lincolnshire ports to boost local economy

(Network Rail Image)

Work is underway to upgrade the rail route between Doncaster and Immingham in an exciting new project which looks to boost businesses while keeping traffic off the regions roads.

Network Rail is partnering with the Humber LEP and North Lincolnshire Council to invest more than £15m to support the growth of rail freight in the region.

The project will allow high cube shipping containers to run between Doncaster and Immingham/Killinghome on standard height wagons.  While high cube containers can be accommodated on the Immingham – Doncaster routes, it currently requires special low wagons of which there is a limited supply.  Low Floor wagons are also more expensive to run and to maintain.

Rob McIntosh, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, explained:

“Rail freight is vital to our economy. It contributes £870m to the economy and plays a big role in reducing congestion and carbon emissions. The northern Lincolnshire ports are an essential part of the freight network and this improved route will allow onward distribution from Doncaster to Scotland, the Midlands and beyond.  This in turn will support the growth of local businesses at the ports and in the distribution network as well as preventing the need for goods to be transported on the road network.”

Cllr Rob Waltham, Leader of North Lincolnshire Council, added:

“These much-needed enhancements to the rail network throughout North Lincolnshire will open up further business opportunities for the area by reducing the limitations on freight being brought to and from our ports. These works are critical to enhancing the port infrastructure on the south Humber bank.

“This significant investment from the council, Network Rail and the Government through the Humber LEP, shows commitment to securing the future of our area and will boost the local economy by opening up more opportunities and creating jobs in North Lincolnshire.”

The project involves 29 “interventions”. These include platform alterations at stations and trackside changes. Work is also needed on three road bridges. These are Armthorpe Lane (between Barnby Dunn & Kirk Sandall, Doncaster), East Halton Road and Eastfield Road (North Killingholme, Immingham).  Work will also be carried out underneath the bridge which carries the railway over the A18 (Near Althorpe Station, Scunthorpe).

In order to create the space needed on the railway the bridges at Armthorpe Lane, East Halton and Eastfield Road need to be replaced. This will mean some road closures with diversions in place for traffic.  Pedestrian access will be maintained through a temporary bridge.  Full details of the road closures and diversion routes will be publicised as soon as they are available.

This project has an in-principle allocation (subject to final Business case approval) of £7.2m from the Humber LEP’s Local Growth Fund programme which has been secured through its Growth Deals with Government and is part of the Government’s commitment to the Northern Powerhouse.


This project will provide W12 gauge on the route between Immingham and Killinghome and Doncaster. Gauge is the size of the hole (height and width) trains travel through.  This could be to get past a platform, through a tunnel or underneath bridges and overhead lines.  W12 gauge allows high cube shipping containers to be transported along the railway on standard height wagons.

While high cube containers can be accommodated on the Immingham – Doncaster routes, this requires special low wagons (of which there is a limited supply). Low Floor wagons attract a higher track access charge and are more costly to maintain.  The additional costs associated with low floor wagons make them uncompetitive relative to road haulage and therefore limits future growth of traffic.

AMCO is the main contractor delivering the project.

Rail freight carries more than £30bn of goods around Britain each year. Each freight train takes about 76 HGVs off the roads. This translates to 1.66 billion fewer HGV kilometres a year

“Local Growth Fund”

Local Enterprise Partnerships are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone.

That’s why by 2021 Government will have invested over £12bn through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to get all areas of the country firing on all cylinders.

Analysis has shown that every £1 of Local Growth Fund invested could generate £4.81 in benefits.

Further information

If you would like some further facts about the Fund, or the wider regeneration work going on across the country, please contact DCLG press office by emailing NewsDesk@communities.gsi.gov.uk in the first instance to request any additional information you might need.

Some additional key facts:

  • There are 38 LEPs covering the whole of England
  • The government has awarded £9.1bn in three rounds of Growth Deals to local areas to drive economic growth.
  • LEPs are investing in a wide range of projects informed by detailed analysis of the most pressing economic needs in each of their areas, including transport, skills, business support, broadband, innovation and flood defences.


Northern Powerhouse

Some Northern Powerhouse key facts:

  • The Northern Powerhouse is a key aspect of this Government’s approach to addressing the productivity gap in the North and ensuring a stronger, more sustainable economy for all parts of the UK.
  • The government has awarded £3.4bn in three rounds of Growth Deals across the Northern Powerhouse.
  • 17 Enterprise Zones across the North have already attracted £1.3bn of private sector investments and helped attract nearly 9,000 jobs since 2012.

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