A Strategic Rail
(SRFI ) is a type of freight hub
with railway connection.
A freight hub or transport hub being a warehouse or, in this
case, a group of huge
warehouses for transfer and
storage of goods and materials.
Interchange or Intermodal refers to being able to change
from road to rail and vice versa - normally using shipping
The "Strategic" term is a sad anomaly in the town planning
system that allows large freight facilities with
rail connections to be elevated to the importance of nuclear
power stations, ports and airports ....... and bypass the
local planning system.
Whereas the other strategic facilities are subject to
extreme national scrutiny - freight hubs have been left to
market forces. In the hands of private investors, the siting
of these leviathons can be anywhere there is a closeness of
motorway or major road with a railway. Some positions
obviously have more merit than others - but all are an
opportunity to put buildings on green belt and green field
land - that local planners can't stop.
Such strategic proposals go straight to the Secretary of
State and his Planning Inspectorate in London for the final
The Government is keen to increase rail freight usage and
reduce HGV traffic for a number of reasons, including
reducing environmental carbon footprint.
In isolation, that environmental reason may appear
beneficial on a national or global basis. However, the poor
siting of a large hub can be environmentally disastrous due
to the extreme increase in local traffic causing pollution
in addition to the loss of land and wildlife.
The lack of a national plan and the random siting -
often based on the availability of land, makes many such
projects either huge white elephants or double disasters to
local road networks and nearby population - benefiting only
It is necessary to ask whether the proposers are acting for
the good of the country or just for profit
There are literally dozens of these SRFIs being proposed all
over the country - it is flavour of the month for long term
investment money. Many such projects compete with each other
for permission or trade.
A nearby example of a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange is
at Daventry near Rugby - in place of the landmark radio
& TV transmitters. Now known as Daventry International
Rail Freight Terminal or DIRFT
- google it.
This huge development, once it gained permission,
immediately applied to extend itself with phase 2 ....and is
just now ripping up still more fields as it expands to its