Third rail terminal, Felixstowe

The Port of Felixstowe is Britain’s largest and busiest container port, welcoming over 3,000 ships each year. VolkerFitzpatrick was appointed to deliver a new third rail terminal to meet the port’s growing transport demands.

Designed and built to serve the latest generation of giant container ships, each able to transport up to 18,000 standard 20ft long containers, the new rail terminal carries longer 30 wagon trains and can achieve over 60 movements in and out of the port every day.

The new 730m long rail terminal includes nine sidings - seven loading lines, one service line and one run around line - equating to 10km of new rail track. These lines also featured a heavy duty paved area to allow for the transfer of containers onto road transport.  It is connected into the existing Trimley branch line and is able to handle 30 wagon long freight trains carrying 90 standard containers each.

Crane rails were installed to serve three new rail mounted gantry cranes. The new terminal has been built with spare capacity to accommodate a further three cranes, of which two are scheduled for delivery later this year. A total of 780 piles, each 24.7m long, were installed to support the heavy weight the crane rails take when loading containers onto the trains.

The terminal is equipped with Britain’s only intermodal locomotive traverser, which allows locomotives arriving at the terminal to be moved sideways to run back around the outside of the terminal, allowing the operational length of the terminal to be maximised with standard train loads increased from 24 to 30 wagons. With a 170 tonne capacity and 29m long, the traverser is future proofed for the next generation of locomotives. 

Other associated works included a new gatehouse, driver’s rest room, ground improvement, construction of heavy duty paving, installation of key services including drainage and the installation of fire fighting facilities.