Tuesday 24 Nov 2009


Region & Route:
Southern: Wessex
| Southern

Three road bridges over the railway in the Winchester area are being rebuilt during the first half of 2010 as part of a £71m project designed to remove up to 50,000 lorries a year from the region’s roads and provide a cheaper, quicker and more practical way of transporting goods around the country.

The £8m upgrade of bridges at St Cross (B3335), Andover Road and Stoke Charity Road is required to allow bigger 9' 6" or high-cube containers to be transported efficiently by rail from Associated British Ports' (ABP) Port of Southampton across the country, making a valuable contribution to the local economy and helping Britain compete better in the global marketplace.  The canopy at Winchester station will also need to be trimmed back as part of the scheme.

Richard O’Brien, Network Rail’s route director for Wessex, said: “Rail can provide a cheaper, greener and more practical way of transporting freight compared with road.  This project aims to increase the amount of freight transported from Southampton by rail, which will help reduce carbon emissions and road congestion as well as delivering long-term economic benefits for the south east region.”

“We have to replace these bridges to achieve the many benefits of transporting freight by rail rather than road.  Where possible we have made the new structures better than the ones we removed, for example by adding cycle tracks or improved footpaths.  There will be some disruption while we carry out this important work but we can assure motorists and rail users that we aim keep disruption to an absolute minimum.”

Councillor Mel Kendal, executive member for environment at Hampshire county council said: "These are essential works which will, I hope, bring about the long term result of taking a number of freight lorries off the roads. These works have also presented opportunities for the county and city Councils to ask Network Rail to make some improvements to the footpaths on St Cross Road and Andover Road and I'm pleased to say that these will be widened where possible. There will, however, be unavoidable disruption in the short term for people living in and coming into Winchester.

"We are working closely with Network Rail to manage diversions and to ensure the works are completed as quickly as possible. Network Rail has assured us that it will be taking all possible steps to publicise the disruption in advance in order that people can plan their journeys accordingly.

"We have also co-ordinated works with utility companies and re-scheduled our own roadworks to minimise further disruption and to avoid subsequent road closures."

Specific work at the sites will include:


The B3335 will be closed from 4 January to 31 March 2010. 

A new bridge deck will be installed above the existing one so that the road can be re-opened while the old bridge is demolished, keeping disruption to a minimum for road users.  A shared footpath and cycle track will also be installed across the new structure making it easier and safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

A temporary footbridge will be installed for the duration of the work to allow pedestrian to cross the railway.

There are a number of utilities which run through the existing structure.  Work to redirect these will start in November 2009.

There will be some disruption to train services from 3-10 April 2010 while the major demolition and installation work takes place.


Andover Road bridge is scheduled to be closed from early April to mid July 2010. 

A major water main and other utilities run through Andover Road bridge which will need to be re-directed by the utility companies prior to work starting on the bridge itself. 

A cycle track will also be created on the new structure improving safety for cyclists.  A temporary footbridge will be installed to enable residents to cross the railway. 

There will be some rail disruption between 24 April - 8 May while the major demolition and installation work takes place.



Stoke Charity Road bridge will be closed from 6 April 2010 - 30 July 2010.

The new structure has been designed to incorporate a new footpath, making it safer and easier for pedestrians to cross the railway. 

A temporary footbridge will be installed so residents can continue to cross the railway while the work is carried out.

There are a number of utilities which run through the existing structure.  Work to redirect these will start in March 2010.

Rail services will face some disruption between 17 April 2010 and 1 May 2010 while the major demolition and installation work takes place.

Notes to editors

Freight services are indispensable to everyday life.  They deliver food, clothing, electronics and other goods to stock shops and supermarkets, coal to provide electricity to power the nation and aggregates for major industries. The freight industry makes a valuable contribution to the regional and national economy, and the government is investing £350m in projects to achieve the significant economic, efficiency and environmental benefits rail freight offers.

The Southampton to Nuneaton freight upgrade scheme will bring the following benefits: 

Vehicles off the road

It is estimated this scheme will enable the transfer of up to 50,000 container freight journeys a year from the Britain’s roads to the railway.  This will help reduce carbon emissions and ease traffic congestion on the road network. 


Rail is also one of the most environmentally friendly forms of transport.  Road freight generates six times more carbon dioxide than rail freight for each tonne moved, so the greater transfer of freight from road to rail as a result of this scheme will lead to a significant reduction of carbon emissions. 


High cube containers are larger than standard containers, and therefore more items can be transported within them, making them a more efficient means of distributing goods. Rail can be a cheaper, quicker and a more practical way for businesses to transport their goods around the country and beyond. At present high cube containers are too big to be carried on standard height platform wagons on much of the rail network.  Therefore the only way to carry them by rail is on special low wagons.  However, this reduces efficiency and capacity by up to 33%, making rail a less competitive form of transport for freight.  

Economic growth

The upgraded rail freight link will improve the competitiveness and encourage economic growth within the South East region.  This project will also make it easier to import and export goods, helping Britain compete more effectively in the global market.  


The route will take freight trains from Southampton to the West Coast Main Line near Nuneaton, via Winchester, Basingstoke, Didcot, Oxford, Banbury, Leamington Spa and Warwick.

Improvement works are being planned along this route to structures which are not currently large enough for high-cube containers to pass through.  These are scheduled to be carried out over the next two years. 

Funding for this project has been agreed from the Department for Transport (DfT) via a Transport Innovation Fund TIF(P) grant.  Additional funding is being provided by South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), ABP, DP World Southampton, Advantage West Midlands (AWM), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Network Rail Discretionary Fund. The DfT’s Transport Innovation Fund, The Future of Transport" (July 2004) supports the costs of smarter, innovative local transport packages that combine demand management measures *support innovative mechanisms which raise new funds; *support the funding of regional, inter-regional and local schemes that are beneficial to national productivity. 

The current freight container market is seeing a significant growth in the percentage of ‘high cube’ containers. The usage of 9’ 6” containers currently stands at over 40%. This is expected to rise to between 50% and 70% by 2019. 

Network Rail, in partnership with the passenger and freight train operators, has consulted with a range of individuals and organisations, including Hampshire county council, Winchester city council, the Chamber of Commerce in Southampton and local politicians throughout the planning of these projects. 

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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

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