A SCHEME to improve freight train access to Southampton docks could cut tens of thousands of lorry movements in the city each year, according to port bosses.

Port chiefs say work to lengthen the tracks at the Port of Southampton’s Solent Rail Terminal has now been completed.

The work involved extended tracks at the site by 70 metres, allowing two large container trains to be serviced simultaneously – rather than just one previously.

Port bosses say this will improve efficiency at the terminal by more than doubling the capacity of daily train services from five to a potential of 12.

They say this could increase container rail freight moves in the port from 60,000 per year to a potential of 180,000 moves per year.

Port chiefs say this could take 180,000 lorry movements off the city’s roads.

Alastair Welch, ABP Southampton Director said: “We are continually investing in our infrastructure and facilities and alongside our partners at the port, we strive to operate in the most sustainable way possible.

“Expanding the rail freight offering at the port is great news for air quality.”

The project was carried out between Solent Stevedores and ABP Southampton.

It involved extending the track by 70 metres so that two 645-metre container trains can be serviced simultaneously.

Previously only one shorter train could be accommodated at the terminal at a time.

Tom Dynes, Operations Director at Solent Stevedores said: “Since we took on the site in 2016, we have worked hard and invested heavily to improve the operation and service provided to our customers.

“The impact this project has had on our capacity to meet demand is substantial.”

The news comes a year after separate plans by Network Rail to improve rail sidings at Redbridge station were given the green light.

Once completed, the work will allow longer trains to go through the station, in a bid to take 364 heavy goods vehicles off the road each day.

The news also comes on the day the city prepares to launch its Green City Charter.

At the event, the city council will introduce plans to create a cleaner, greener, healthier and more sustainable city.

The event, which coincides with National Clean Air Day, will take place at the Guildhall from 12pm.

From 10am to 3pm the public is invited to attend a day of activities in Guildhall Square.