Forget drones: ‘Mole’ firm is looking at bringing underground delivery to Northampton

Mole Solutions has been awarded a grant via Innovate UK to carry out a feasability study in Northampton about launching its underground delivery system.
Mole Solutions has been awarded a grant via Innovate UK to carry out a feasability study in Northampton about launching its underground delivery system.

A new study is to look at bringing an underground goods delivery service to Northampton in a bid to ease the town’s road congestion.

The aptly titled Mole Solutions is to use the town, often thought of as the logistics capital of the UK, as a test bed for a subterranean railway system currently being tested at an airfield in Huntingdon.

The firm, which was established in 2002, has been awarded a government grant to complete a ‘desk-based’ feasibility study about launching the scheme in Northampton.

Managing director Roger Miles said: “We are certainly not looking at digging any tunnels at this stage.

“This is purely and simply a test bed to understand the real cost involved in such a project.”

Mr Miles said the firm chose Northampton as the town has a high saturation of logistics companies.

The concept of the underground line, he said, is aimed at reducing the level of road freight and lorries within urban areas.

The electric powered Mole ‘capsules’ would be unmanned and able to carry smaller items currently carried by 40ft lorries, such as packages and non-bulky goods.

The freight pipelines would link edge of town centres with strategically placed inner town ‘nodal points’.

Mole Solutions is set to report back on its findings in December.

“This project is really about seeing if we can improve the freight distribution situation in Northampton,” Mr Miles said.

“The lines would be out of site and out of mind, and the environmental impact would be minimal, what’s not to like?” He added.

“Just imagine if we didn’t have water taken to and from our homes from underground pipes?”

Patrick Cross of the Whitehills and Spring Park Residents Association (WASPRA) has welcomed the concept of the scheme.

He and a number of other WASPRA members have been campaigning to reduce road congestion in the Whitehills and Spring Park area by calling for a north west bypass for the town.

He said: “Anything that takes heavy vehicles off the surface we have to welcome.

“An underground freight system has got to be a step in the right direction.”