Sittingbourne

Introduction

Kilbride has carried out a feasibility study into the rail infrastructure at Sittingbourne in Kent with local manufacturing, logistics and aggregate companies, supported by funding from the European Commission’s ERDF funding under the North Sea Programme. The design work to reconnect the dock hinterland to the rail system has been carried out ready for the physical works, as well as planning consent for a new rail terminal. Funding for the development of the rail infrastructure is available and decisions on the commitment to the rail traffic are now being taken by end customers.

Kilbride specialises in the development of property based infrastructure projects. Its core business is the procurement of transport based infrastructure, specialising in rail. Working with private and public sector clients, Kilbride delivers realistic, cost effective opportunities for transport and associated infrastructure needs. This may be through direct investment in land and facilities, in joint ventures with manufacturing or landowners or as a head consultant.

Lo Pinod

The Sittingbourne project is co funded by the Lo Pinod project, in which Kilbride is a partner. This project is funded by the European Commission through the North Sea Programme and looks to challenge the traditional practices of freight distribution offering a more sustainable alternative.

Through improvements to short sea routes, multi modal connectivity between regional ports and their hinterland, and diversified port land use and operational models, Lo Pinod will help deliver social and economic benefits to communities and businesses across the North Sea Region. With an emphasis on improving the functionality, capacity and potential of regional ports, the project promotes co-operation on a transnational basis, concentrating on:

 
• Improving multi modal landside links
• Exploring access to commercial markets by sea
• Sustaining regional ports and developing local jobs
• Port diversification into the maritime energy sector
• Enabling ports to lobby with one voice
• Improving linkages with towns
 
The project has 17 partners across the North Sea Region, led by the Institute for Sustainability.

Summary

Kilbride is leading the initiative to enhance the current rail link into Ridham Docks and the adjacent business park located in the southeast of England. Through projects such as this, LO-PINOD will hope to develop a joint approach to technical engineering designs and investment preparation reports relevant to inland port connections that will assist with unlocking investment from the private and public sectors. The experience and knowledge gained will be shared with other partners in the North Sea Region.

Ridham Docks is a general cargo port, mainly handling dry bulk materials, located on the River Medway close to Sheerness. It is currently served by a rail link that needs upgrading if the port is to continue to grow and provide a wider range of services.

Adjacent to the port is a business park which is currently home to a major supermarket regional distribution centre (RDC) and a number of manufacturers and distribution outlets. Currently, these businesses are supplied by road transport. Through combining the requirements of the port and the business park, LO-PINOD partner Kilbride is working on an initiative to upgrade the current rail line and develop a rail terminal to serve the local businesses. The aim is to transfer much of the current road traffic to the more sustainable mode of rail.

The project to date has carried out the following tasks:
 
• Identified potential customers
• Negotiated commercial arrangements with potential users
• Negotiated commercial arrangements with Network Rail
• Negotiated public and private sector funding arrangements for the project.
• Reviewed the port infrastructure requirements
• Designed the rail access infrastructure
• Planning permission obtained for a new rail terminal
• LO-PINOD partners and Kilbride are sharing best practice on technical designs, loading facilities, train gauges and optimum train operations.
 
The rail link would be constructed near a site of special scientific interest (SSSI), which has required a considerable amount of technical input with environmental agencies. Further progress reports will be posted on this website. Additional information on the Lo Pinod project can be found at www.lopinod.eun