Oliver and Mrs Anne Main, MP for St Albans, yesterday met with executives from Network Rail to discuss the proposed rail freight terminal near terminal and the impact its construction would have on the Midlands Main Line running through Radlett and Borehamwood.
During the meeting, which covered a range of issues relating to the terminal, Oliver pressed the executives on what disruption would be caused by construction to link the main line to the terminal itself, something which will require a complete new spur off the line and an extensive new tunnel to be carved out beneath it.
Speaking afterwards, Oliver said: ‘I was very concerned to hear from Network Rail about the potential for disruption to passengers on Thameslink resulting from Helioslough’s plans to build a freight terminal on this green belt land. The works required to make the site functional are extensive and much of it cannot be accomplished while the main line is operating.
‘I know that commuters in Hertsmere remain deeply frustrated with the poor level of service offered by Thameslink. Alongside my ongoing concerns over how any additional freight on an already busy line will be accommodated, I fear the effect on commuters of building works on the line will be serious.
‘Should Helioslough succeed in acquiring this green belt land and moving this project forward, then I will be demanding Network Rail make sure they prioritise long suffering commuters rather than construction of this unnecessary and disruptive freight terminal.’
Any plans for Helioslough’s construction of a rail freight terminal remain dependent on the sale of the land in question to them by Hertfordshire County Council. Oliver continues to pressure the County Council to refuse any offer made by Helioslough and instead, if the land must be sold, to consider bids to build much needed houses.