Closure of Rio Tinto Alcan in Northumberland

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by 142094, 16 Nov 2011.

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  1. 142094

    142094 Established Member

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    The closure of the aluminium smelter at Lynemouth in Northumberland has been annonuced, with 515 jobs expected to go (see article here). The plant is one of the major employers, but a lot of the bulk products used in the process, and the finished product are sent by rail on the Ashington Blyth and Tyne line.

    The power station may be kept open and so some coal traffic would still use the line, but if both are to go then there'll not be much else around - whcih will no doubt make the case for passenger reopening a whole lot harder.
     
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  3. RichmondCommu

    RichmondCommu Established Member

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    Are they trains that the Deltic was hauling earlier this year? I concur that this is bad news for rail freight in the area. Not only that but the NE is very top heavy with public sector jobs and this loss of a major private sector employer is a disaster for the area.
     
  4. TVHH

    TVHH New Member

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    Sad news, AFAIK all that came out by rail was 1 ingot train a day and I don't think that has run for years . The alcan tanks will end to blyth docks, not sure about the tanks that go to scotland.
    Power station wise what I can gather from my soon to be new employer is
    EDF are after it, and has plans to go 100% biomass.
     
  5. merlodlliw

    merlodlliw Established Member

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    Same thing happened on Anglesey,same firm, reason power too costly,An employee told me AngAl was the biggest single user of power in the UK, tragic.


    Bob
     
  6. tirphil

    tirphil Member

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    It was indeed. Apparently Anglesey Aluminiums power requirements were a determining factor in Wylfa being chosen as the nuclear power station site.
     
  7. 142094

    142094 Established Member

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    Think the ingot train still runs, once per day at around 4pm. The alumina tanks from north Scotland will obviously go, and there was still a decent amount of coal going on the ABT which might also decrease.

    Certainly I think this is the time for Northumberland CC to step in and try and safeguard the ABT for future passenger reopening. Would be crazy to allow it to rot but then again I can see it happening.
     
  8. sprinterguy

    sprinterguy Established Member

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    That's shockingly bad news to hear. The Alcan plant must surely be the dominant employer in the Blyth area, and there's not much hope of anything of a comparable size taking its' place. The trains from the Alcan works have been a staple part of the north east freight scene for years. I'll miss them when they're gone.
     
  9. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    another kick in the balls for the north east ;> as sprinterguy says alcan is the major employer in the area but i am sure the government will do something to ensure this major industry will survive becuase we will are havuing a private sector led recovery! Oh hang on............

     
  10. cawky22

    cawky22 Member

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    The trains to Fort William are still running for now.
     
  11. 142094

    142094 Established Member

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    Port of Blyth used to handle the import of alumina, which was used at Alcan and also some sent by rail to Fort William - not sure if this will continue or not, or whether the ships will just go direct to Ft William (if there is somewhere suitable to offload). The power station seems to be the only thing which will need rail transport, so should keep the ABT going for a bit longer. Time for Northumberland County Council to get the ball rolling instead of wasting time on trying to build a platform at Belford.
     
  12. Paul Sidorczuk

    Paul Sidorczuk Veteran Member

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    Going back even further in time on Anglesey, the eventual demise of the Octel plant at Amlwch led to the current situation that now exists with regard to the former Anglesey Central Railway.
     
  13. Jonny

    Jonny Established Member

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    Passenger re-opening, perhaps? Is OLE and spare 317/7s too much to ask?
     
  14. 142094

    142094 Established Member

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    The easiest way to get a passenger service would be to use diesels, probably 142s or 156s. Asking for electrification straight off isn't going to go far.

    SENRUG ran some specials over the line 4 years ago, and I was on one of them, which showed that the line could be reopened fairly easily as only stations would need to be built - with future work done on improving the track.
     
  15. HSTEd

    HSTEd Established Member

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    Out of interest, was the alumina worked using MGR type systems or was it a car tipper type mechanism?

    If the latter, why was the system not built for MGR as it is a fairly modern smelter.
     
  16. bailey65

    bailey65 Member

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    I hate seeing huge manufacturing plants closing it is devastating for the communities and the knock on effect for feeder industries like suppliers and logistics rail and road is severe too.
    If the power station goes too the whole freight network around blyth would go.
    and there would also be less of a case to resume passenger services to blyth once this happens as it would become a deprived area the government needs to pull out all the stops to try and reverse all this and save the areas industry and employment.
     
  17. Legzr1

    Legzr1 Member

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    Pressurised containers.

    'Big' hose in the top for loading,small hose in the side for unloading.
     
  18. 142094

    142094 Established Member

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    The Blyth and Ashington area is already deprived, and as you say this has made it worse. What SE Northumberland needs is decent transport links to Newcastle and the rest of Tyne and Wear, and buses do not meet the requirements. If all freight did go, then you'd think that this would be the end of ambitions to reopen it for passengers, or, it could act as a catalyst and get the ball rolling.
     
  19. Stats

    Stats Member

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    Exactly. The closure of Alcan makes the case for reopening the ABT to passenger services even more crucial. Transport infrastructure is crucial to regeneration of an area, and if ever there was a case for rail to encourage regeneration, I'd say this is it.

    If the Government is serious about rebalancing the economy from public to private sector employment, or they want to be seen to be doing something for the North East then announcing this to be added to the National Infrastructure Plan and funding it could help their cause.
     
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