PLANS for a £45m railway “flyover” intended to increase capacity on the East Coast Main Line in Yorkshire have been approved by Ministers.
The Doncaster scheme will see a new bridge built over the busy north-south rail route to carry slower moving freight traffic heading west from the Humber ports.
At present, heavy goods trains have to travel a short distance on the main line before heading west, sometimes delaying faster passenger services.
But the so-called “North Doncaster chord”, which will be built at Shaftholme, north of the town, will keep freight wagons off the main line, removing the potential delays.
Network Rail, which runs the country’s track and signalling infrastructure, said preparatory work for the flyover was already under way.
Route managing director Phil Verster said: “Britain relies on rail and with demand for rail travel increasing it’s essential that we invest in the railway to provide better services for passengers with more trains, additional seats and improved punctuality.
“The Government’s decision to grant permission for the North Doncaster chord is a significant step forward in improving capacity and reliability on the busy East Coast Main Line.”
Mr Verster said the project was part of a wider, £600m scheme which will include the construction of new sections of track, platforms and stations along the route to allow “faster, more frequent services”.
Network Rail said tackling the “crucial bottleneck” north of Doncaster would allow much more freight to be carried from the Humber ports by rail, reducing road transport carbon emissions.
The organisation said it had carried out a 12-month consultation on its plans.
Network Rail engineers will supervise the construction beside contractor Morgan Sindall and the project should be complete by early 2014.
Another diversion route to take freight off the East Coast Main Line is also being extending – using existing lines though Lincoln. This is also due to open early in 2014.
Other improvements, such as platform work at London’s King’s Cross and extra track at Holgate to reduce a bottleneck at York station have already been completed, while a second railway flyover is currently under construction at Hitchin in Hertfordshire.