East Sussex, the birthplace of Intermodality back in 2002, had latterly been something of a backwater for rail freight, limited to gypsum traffic into Mountfield (Battle). To find any trace of rail freight traffic into Newhaven Port you would have to go a quarter of a century, when containers were last carried (thanks to @Jasonic99 on Twitter for supplying the picture below):
In 2011 we were commissioned by Newhaven Port & Properties (NPP) to review prospects for rail freight services from the Port. We concluded at the time that “In the short term, bulk commodities are likely to offer the most promising prospects for re-establishing rail services, particularly aggregates.”
Five years later in 2016, as part of a growing workbank of small railhead schemes undertaken for Network Rail (45 separate sites to date), we were asked to draw up a layout for a quayside rail terminal, using as far as possible the original track layout from the 1990’s. A plan was produced, which became the basis for further engagement a year later with Brett Aggregates, who were planning to develop a new terminal for marine aggregates on site, along with a cement plant. We were asked by Bretts to refine the layout, produce a draft Method of Working statement, and help procure a suitable contractor to undertake the works on the Port, to interface with the first phase of works being undertaken on the adjacent Network Rail land (the area in the photo above).
Working with Bretts, Newhaven Port, train operator DB Cargo and a Network Rail team from the Freight & National Passenger Operators and South East Routes and the local Delivery Unit (DU), a plan was drawn up for the first phase. This involved recovering redundant trackwork and replacing with a new layout. The DU wasted no time in getting on site during March 2019, creating the new track layout in record time, based on our outline design drawing (compare the picture below with the 1990’s view above):
The first phase of works are now complete, and await the second phase to commence later this year, ahead of the return of freight trains from the Port, to help with the supply of aggregates into London for years to come.