UK’s Largest Container Railfreight Depot Just One Year From Opening

Published 3rd December

London - DP World London Gateway, a unique view of the £1.5 billion development from

Dubai Port London Gateway is a £1.5bn development covering 560 acres on the north bank of The Thames on the site of the former Shellhaven refinery near Stanford Le Hope. It has, literally, the capacity to change the Railfreight container business and directly challenges Southampton and Felixstowe docks.

Opening when?

The new port is scheduled to open for business in Quarter 4 next year with trials commencing in as little as six months. From day 1, Carston Hinne DB Schenker MD said, DB Schenker will be operating four daily trains to the port which is just 25 miles from London. The message given out at an Industry preview day was that Rail services to and from London Gateway will offer regular, easy and efficient movement of goods to and from the major commercial and population centres across the UK.

Huge internal Rail network

The port will construct around 25 kilometres of track made up of sidings and a double track line linking in with the national network on the Tilbury Loop which used to serve the Thameshaven freight complex. The rail link with London Gateway will be enhanced by double tracking the connection which links the Port to the main rail network at Stanford-le-Hope.

Trains will run (mainly overnight) via Barking and Gospel Oak to the West Coast Main Line, all cleared for large gauge containers. Rail Access to the Channel Tunnel is also easy using the W10 Gauge cleared network allowing 9ft 6in Containers to be transported on rail wagons.

The East Coast Main Line route serving Doncaster and Leeds carries a smaller W8 gauge (9ft 6in high) using specially designed low-liner wagons recently introduced.

Long trains will be able to be accommodated at DP World London Gateway as there will be fans of sidings allowing trains up to 35 wagons long, (750m) to be loaded/unloaded. These are located next to the port container handling areas.

This will not only save time and money, but reduce carbon emissions for transport within the UK using the intermodal rail terminals being built inside the port and adjacent park. It will be providing rail linked warehouses, up to 41 metres high.

London Gateway when complete, will offer two rail terminals designed to handle deep-sea and European containers at the park rail terminal including swap bodies for UK domestic and continental European flows.

The distance from this development to major markets within the UK is less than from Felixstowe or Southampton in many cases so makes delivery potentially quicker and cheaper.

London Gateway by numbers

This will be the UK’s first 21st Century major deep-sea container port and Europe’s largest logistics park when all phases are completed and is the most significant UK port development for 20 years. It uses a disused 1500 acre brownfield site, accommodating a mixture of commercial and logistics uses and will offer a 2.7 kilometre-long berthing capacity on the River Thames frontage supporting over 12,000 new jobs.

The Thames has been dredged to a depth of 17 metres which means that the largest container ships will be able to use one of the six 400 metre long berths provided, served by 24 145 metre high cranes.

The dredging of the Thames has provided 30 million cubic metres of aggregates collected have been used to build up the land level without having to move the sand and gravel which has been re-used on site creating a bit more of UK mainland!

An automated container stacking and picking system run by bar codes will allow rapid container loading, unloading and recovery onto a train or lorry.

This carbon and financial efficiency will enable it is estimated, will save thousands of lorry movements daily off the national highways. DP World currently estimates will save over 60 million miles of annual lorry movements (this equals 148,000 tonnes of CO2 savings per annum).

A decade of hard work says Simon Moore, CEO DP World London Gateway

This development should see it become the UK’s international hub port with easy access to Europe, Asia and westwards. The scheme has so far taken 10 years to reach construction and many barriers to entry have had to be overcome DP World said at the presentation.

Bombs away!

The dredging, piling and foundation digging has unearthed 120 bombs which a dedicated on-site team has dealt with. The exception was a 200lb mine recently disposed of by the military!

What’s next?

DP World said that when opened next year, this will create a new choice and be the biggest port near London and become the UK’s busiest Railfreight terminal and available to all freight operators. The yard will be 3 km long and a new double track 3km branchline has been built to link up with the national network.

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