NEWS RELEASES

11th August 2017
GB Railfreight continues to support armed forces by updating the livery of the Chinook locomotive

Chinook locomotive

Following on from the highly successful collaboration and naming of the HMS Argyll F231 (formally 66 775) after the 23 Frigate HMS Argyll in July, GB Railfreight are continuing their support of our forces by updating the livery of the Chinook locomotive.

In 2008 the 66 723, Chinook, was unveiled in a naming ceremony by John Smith and the then Station Cdr Group Captain Andy Turner in support of the Royal Air Force. It carries the 3 squadron plaques of 7, 18 and 27 Squadron the 3 frontline Squadrons at RAF Odiham.

In recognition of the 100-year anniversary of the Royal Airforce next year, the livery of the Chinook Locomotive has been updated to include the Royal Airforce Standard, the aircraft number ZA from the Chinook fleet and the view of a Chinook.

To celebrate, the Chinook ZA 723 will be pride of place on the last leg of our Charity train on Sunday 13th August from Euston. It will be on the country end of the GB Railfreight charity charter on platform 15 from 16h05 with an estimated departure time of 16h45.  The train will travel through Reading at approximately 17h55 before arriving at Basingstoke platform 3 at 18h17.

We think you’ll agree she looks fantastic. More photos to follow of Chinook ZA 723 and the Charity tour on our Instagram account @GBRailfreight.

 

ENDS

For further information, please contact:
Victoria Adams
Westbourne Communications
020 3397 0100
GBRF@westbournecoms.com


About GB Railfreight
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, with a turnover in excess of GBP 120m. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers.
For further information, please visit www.gbrailfreight.com

12th July 2017
GB Railfreight and Royal Navy join forces to name Class 66 ‘Argyll’

At a ceremony held at HM Naval Base Devonport in Plymouth on Tuesday 11th July, GB Railfreight (GBRf) and the Royal Navy (RN) celebrated the naming of a Class 66 engine Argyll, after HMS Argyll, a type 23 frigate.

Loco 66 775 has been repainted in a special livery for the occasion and also has the ship’s crest attached to the engine.

John Smith, Managing Director, GB Railfreight, said: “We at GB Railfreight are deeply honoured that one of our engines will carry the name of Argyll, in recognition of the service our brave armed forces provide and the close working relationship between our two organisations.

“GBRf is also pleased to continue to draw inspiration from our serving men and women, such as those onboard HMS Argyll, replicating their hard work, culture of service towards a greater national good, and the development of our highly valued workforce through new skills and experiences. These values are at the core of our business too, and we know the Argyll class 66 engine will continue in this spirit.”

The naming marks the next step in a partnership between GB Railfreight and the senior service which began with a trip to sea for affiliated organisations, as guests of the captain, to experience a day in the life of a warship and her crew.

Bob Tiller, Engineering Director, GB Railfreight Ltd, described his experiences of life aboard the Argyll: “I was lucky enough to be on board HMS Argyll during some work up trials as a quest of Commander Shaughnessy as part of an affiliated group. Two of our train drivers, Clive Coulis and Martin Clemis joined me.

“We sailed from Plymouth and undertook various exercises with the crew including live firing, damage-control, emergency fire and dummy man overboard retrieval.

“We were treated to such kindness and welcomed so much by her commander and crew that I asked the captain if I could name one of our GB Railfreight Locomotives after HMS Argyll in tribute to her crew. This I am pleased was warmly accepted. We were to say the least overwhelmed with how the crew of HMS Argyll and worked together as a team and we at GB Railfreight took back with us a lot of thought and inspiration.’’

ENDS

For further information, please contact:
Victoria Adams
Westbourne Communications
020 3397 0100
GBRF@westbournecoms.com

About GB Railfreight
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, with a turnover in excess of GBP 120m. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers.
For further information, please visit www.gbrailfreight.com

11th July 2017
GB Railfreight names two class 66 locomotives in honour of long-serving employees

GB Railfreight, the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, has named two class 66 locomotives “Joanne” and “Annette” in honour of two long-serving members of staff at a special naming day ceremony.

A train carrying 124 employees of GB Railfreight left King’s Cross, bound for Peterborough on Wednesday 28th June, bookended by the two class 66 locomotives.

The naming ceremony took place at 12.30pm among the colleagues, family, and friends who made the journey in old, beautifully maintained Pullman carriages.

The locomotives were officially named by John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, Joanne Marshall, Head of Communications, and Annette Payne, a Train Service Controller. The guests of honour were then presented with commemorative replicas of the engines and the name plaques that will adorn them as they move about the country’s railways.

John Smith said: “Both Joanne and Annette are hugely valued members of the team with almost twenty years of service between them. Our staff are the lifeblood of GB Railfreight and we are delighted to be able to recognise their contribution to our success in this way.”

Joanne Marshall said: “This is a huge honour, I am very proud to think that my namesake will be out on the rail network, working hard for GB Railfreight too.”

Annette Payne said: “I was very moved to have been chosen to be recognised in this way. This kind of honour shows the value GB Railfreight places on its employees and why it’s such a fantastic place to work.”

The journey back was a celebration of Joanne and Annette, and the work they do for GB Railfreight. It was also a scenic ride through the East Anglian countryside as the train took the long way back to King’s Cross, passing villages, towns, and spotters with longs lenses, glimpsing for the first time the newly-christened Joanne and Annette.

ENDS

For further information, please contact:
Victoria Adams
Westbourne Communications
020 3397 0100
GBRF@westbournecoms.com

About GB Railfreight
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, with a turnover in excess of GBP 120m. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers.

For further information, please visit www.gbrailfreight.com

05th July 2017
GB Railfreight Names Locomotive For Armed Forces Day

GB Railfreight names locomotive for Armed Forces Day

On Saturday 24th June, in honour of Armed Forces Day, GB Railfreight and the Royal Corps of Signals renamed a class 66 locomotive, Royal Corps of Signals.

The loco, which will fly the flag for the British Army as well as the Royal Corps of Signals on routes across the UK, was named at a ceremony to mark Armed Forces Day celebrations in Swanage. The locomotive was officially named by John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight and Major General John Crackett of the Royal Corps of Signals.

John Smith said: “We are delighted and hugely honoured that one of our locomotives will carry the name Royal Corps of Signals and we cannot think of a more fitting tribute on today, of all days. Armed Forces Day is an opportunity to recognise the sacrifice of those who serve, and have served, in the UK forces and pay thanks.”

The Royal Corps of Signals has a long association with the town of Swanage, spanning over three decades. In that time, over 5,000 soldiers have taken part in exercises that have helped improve the infrastructure of The Swanage Railway. GB Railfreight is proud to recognise the contribution of these soldiers and the role it plays in the efficient operation of the UK’s rail network.

ENDS

Picture
Picture
(Credit: www.swanagerailway.co.uk)

For further information, please contact:
Peter Campbell
Westbourne Communications
020 3397 0148
GBRF@westbournecoms.com

About GB Railfreight
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, with a turnover in excess of GBP 120m. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers.

For further information, please visit www.gbrailfreight.com

19th June 2017
GB Railfreight Announces New Appointments

Bob Tiller appointed to GB Railfreight board as Engineering Director and Ian Langton appointed Production Director

GB Railfreight (GBRf) has announced that Bob Tiller has been promoted to Engineering Director and Ian Langton will take over as Production Director. Both will sit as members of GBRf’s board.

In his new role, Bob will oversee the relationships with GBRf’s leasing and maintenance partners, ensuring value for money is realised by all parties to deliver long term, sustainable results for the company. Bob joined GBRf eight years ago as Fleet Engineer and has worked on the railways for over four decades, starting as an apprentice with British Rail at Old Oak Common. In that time, he has worked in various technical roles, including as Depot Production Manager, Fleet Engineer and on various locomotive refurbishment projects. He was also Project Manager for the repowering of First Great Western’s high-speed train power cars.

Ian Langton will be responsible for the day-to-day delivery of GBRf’s services, as well as the leadership of those carrying out this work. Ian joined GBRf in April 2012 and has over 27 years’ experience in the rail freight sector. Prior to joining GBRf he spent 22 years working with DB Schenker and its various predecessors, EWS, Transrail, and British Rail. In the final two years of this period he was Operations Manager in the Netherlands.

GBRf is one of the rail freight industry’s great success stories, having grown rapidly in recent years. The company has particularly focussed its efforts on innovating and on delivering outstanding customer service. GBRf has pioneered the development of alternative core commodity markets such as intermodal and aggregates, as well as growing new markets in biomass. The company also introduced the "Train Manager" concept, a title that reflects the enhanced responsibility and status of its drivers in delivering a top-class service for its customers.

John Smith, Managing Director, said: “It is a real pleasure to welcome both Bob and Ian to the GBRf board, where I know they will be able to make significant contributions. They both have proven track records of providing leadership and direction to their teams, as well as the ability to successfully lead and implement business strategies.

In promoting Bob and Ian, I want to demonstrate that GBRf rewards loyalty and hard work, and is committed to creating more opportunities for others within the company. Maintaining the culture and work ethic within GBRf is paramount for me. I intend to work closely with all of the board to ensure this is maintained, developed, and improved upon.”

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For further information, please contact:
Victoria Adams
Westbourne Communications
020 3397 0100
Victoria.Adams@westbournecoms.com
GBRF@westbournecoms.com
About GB Railfreight
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, with a turnover in excess of GBP 120m. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers.
For further information, please visit www.gbrailfreight.com

14th June 2017
GB Railfreight drives Queen to town

On Tuesday 13th June, GB Railfreight (GBRf) participated in a recreation of the first Royal Train journey, taken by Queen Victoria 175 years ago. This time, it was Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh who arrived back in Paddington, aboard one of Great Western Railway’s (GWR) new, Hitachi-made Intercity Express trains, driven by traincrew from GBRf.

Once at Paddington Station, a naming ceremony where Her Majesty named the new train, 800003, the Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty was joined on the journey from Slough to London by descendants of the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who designed and built the Great Western Main Line.

John Smith, Managing Director, said:

“It was a real honour to join Her Majesty The Queen in the naming of the new Intercity Express train on the occasion of the 175th anniversary of the first Royal Train journey by Queen Victoria. It was especially pleasing that GBRf could play a role in this memorable event by providing the crew for this operation through our successful partnership with Hitachi to test the new trains that will be rolled out by GWR later this year.

“This partnership represents a key part in the upgrade of the UK’s rail infrastructure and is part of GBRf’s commitment to diversifying and expanding its activities. I am proud that we have had the opportunity to work with GWR and Hitachi on this and that it showcases the work we do in a positive and forward-looking fashion.”

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For further information, please contact:
Victoria Adams
Westbourne Communications
020 3397 0100
Victoria.Adams@westbournecoms.com
GBRF@westbournecoms.com


About GB Railfreight
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, with a turnover in excess of GBP 120m. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers.
For further information, please visit www.gbrailfreight.com

 

05th June 2017
GB Railfreight boosts London freight business with DP World contract

GB Railfreight has announced that it has signed a 3-year contract to manage the movements and preparation of all trains running in and out of the DP World London Gateway Port.

GB Railfreight commenced operations at DP World London Gateway on the 17th March 2017 and under the contract has expanded its presence at the port, adding eight employees who were previously working at the Port for the former operator.

This contract is a significant development for GBRf and its ambition to support DP World to develop volume and a reliable, safe rail operation. GBRf welcomes the opportunity to continue working with DP World and its customers to streamline processes and create a positive rail experience for all at the Port.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said: “GB Railfreight is delighted to announce that it will be supporting DP World in the smooth operations of its London Gateway facility. This is a fantastic opportunity to develop our services in London and ensure that the economy continues to function effectively. Additionally, that efforts to lower air pollution through the reduction of lorries on the capital’s roads are successful. We hope to continue to build on this relationship and ensure that our customers receive the optimum service.”

ENDS


For further information, please contact:
Victoria Adams
Westbourne Communications
020 3397 0100
GBRF@westbournecoms.com
About GB Railfreight


Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, with a turnover in excess of GBP 120m. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers.
For further information, please visit www.gbrailfreight.com

 

24th May 2017
GB Railfreight Announces New Appointments

Duncan Clark appointed to GB Railfreight board as Strategic Development Director and Lee Armstrong appointed Commercial Director

GB Railfreight (GBRf) has announced that Duncan Clark has been promoted to Strategic Development Director and will sit as a board member. Lee Armstrong meanwhile returns to GBRf as Commercial Director.

In his role, Duncan will oversee the creation and implementation of innovative strategies to deliver long term, sustainable results for the company.

Duncan joined GBRf in 2015 as Head of Strategic Development, after a twelve-month period as Programme Director in the Digital Railway. Prior to this in 2011 Duncan worked at Network Rail as General Manager of Freight, reporting to the Freight Director and stepping in to cover the Director role for six months.

Lee has over 30 years of experience in the rail sector and first joined GBRf back in 2013 as Programme Manager ERTMS and has worked on strategic planning and business management, before taking a year out to travel. Lee began his career with EWS, where he spent over twenty years in a variety of roles, including train driver, district manager, and Construction South Business Manager. He also spent almost five years with DB Schenker as Business Manager, as well as owning his own business and consulting with smaller companies on management, investment, and profitability issues.

GBRf is one of the rail freight industry’s great success stories, having grown rapidly in recent years. The company has particularly focussed its efforts on innovating and on delivering outstanding customer service. GBRf has pioneered the development of alternative core commodity markets such as intermodal and aggregates, as well as growing new markets in biomass. The company also introduced the "Train Manager" concept, a title that reflects the enhanced responsibility and status of its drivers in delivering a top-class service for its customers.

John Smith, Managing Director, said:

“In a short period of time Duncan has made a real difference to GBRf and I am delighted to have him join the GB Railfreight board. He has been a great asset to the company and I look forward to seeing where he can take us in this next chapter of our business, he certainly brings a fresh and innovative dimension which has already delivered great results. As GB Railfreight’s Director of Strategic Development he will position our business both in the UK and European level to thrive, not only in his role with GB Railfreight but as part of the Hector Rail Group.

"It is also a pleasure to welcome back Lee to GBRf, into a role, Commercial Director, for which he is ideally suited. It is an exciting time for us and I know he can help us navigate the changes we will see in the industry, while further developing our client base. Having such talented and passionate staff as Duncan and Lee is what makes GB Railfreight such a success.”

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Picture: Duncan Clarke, GBRf Strategic Development Director
Picture: Lee Armstrong, GBRf Commercial Director

For further information, please contact:
Victoria Adams
Westbourne Communications
020 3397 0100
Victoria.Adams@westbournecoms.com
GBRF@westbournecoms.com

About GB Railfreight
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, with a turnover in excess of GBP 120m. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers.

For further information, please visit www.gbrailfreight.com

24th May 2017
GBRf And MSC Extend Their Successful Intermodal Partnership

GB Railfreight (GBRf) has announced it has won a three-year contract extension with Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), running container services out of the Port of Felixstowe. 

GBRf first began their relationship with MSC in 2002, as the first and only remaining customer of the Port of Felixstowe who contracts dedicated whole trains. GBRf run three services daily, one to Newell and Wright in Rotherham, and two to ABP Connect in Hamshall.

Through 2015, GBRf and MSC worked towards running the longest Intermodal train on the network at 610m long. TEU capacity was increased by 52 on a round trip basis, removing an estimated 26208 lorry movements per annum.

The new contract with MSC is for three years and under the new contract, GBRf will be running 98 rail platforms daily, with a mix of 60’ FEA wagons and 40’ friendly ECOfret triples.

John Smith, Managing Director of GBRf, said:

“GB Railfreight welcomes the extension of our contract with MSC, and I am proud we get to continue playing such a significant role in supporting the Port of Felixstowe.

"The container market is an important source of growth for the industry, and it’s vital that we provide the terminal and network infrastructure that allows us to meet present and future consumer demand.”

Dan Everitt, Managing Director of MSC UK, commented:

“MSC is delighted to be extending our contract with GB Railfreight as we enter our 15th year of working together.

"Rail is an integral part of our supply chain enabling us to move our customers’ containers closer to their final destination, while offering a reduction in CO2 emissions.

"Our decision to extend the contract for an additional three years is testament to our long-standing successful partnership with GB Railfreight that in turn allows us to deliver a reliable, seamless rail service to our customers.”

ENDS

Picture: John Smith Managing Director, GB Railfreight and Dan Everitt, Managing Director, Mediterranean Shipping Company UK  

For further information, please contact:
Victoria Adams
Westbourne Communications
020 3397 0100
GBRF@westbournecoms.com

About GB Railfreight
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, with a turnover in excess of GBP 120m. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers.

For further information, please visit www.gbrailfreight.com

About MSC
MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. is a privately owned global shipping company founded in 1970 by Gianluigi Aponte. As one of the world’s leading container shipping lines, MSC operates 480 offices across 150 countries worldwide with over 60,000 employees. With an integrated network of road, rail and sea transport resources which stretches across the globe, the company prides itself on delivering global service with local knowledge.  MSC’s shipping line sails on more than 200 trade routes, calling at over 315 ports.

For more information visit msc.com

18th April 2017
GB Railfreight showcases refurbished coal hoppers as part of a contract with Tarmac

GB Railfreight (GBRf) has converted 49 wagons to move aggregates from Tarmac quarries.

The re-purposed coal hoppers, also known as Vulcan wagons, have been converted by removing the middle section to make them an appropriate length for aggregate use whilst retaining their 102-tonne maximum gross laden weight. An initial set of 24 wagons has been converted and they are working trains from Tarmac’s Arcow quarry to Bredbury, Agecroft and Leeds. A second set of 25 wagons has now been converted and these will be working further services from Arcow and Swinden quarries. The newly-fitted wagons will convey a range of different size aggregate materials.

GBRf is one year into a five-year contract with Tarmac, hauling aggregates from Arcow and Swinden quarries.

John Smith, managing director, GB Railfreight, said:

“GB Railfreight is delighted to work with Tarmac, hauling aggregates from its quarries, and the refurbishments we have been able to do as part of this service. We are very pleased to have been able to refurbish and upgrade 49 new wagons, and continue to find innovative ways to support our customers. By being able to take such innovative measures and have positive relationships with our customers like Tarmac, we are able to proudly call ourselves one of the leaders of our industry.”

The arrival of the latest new wagon sets highlights the ongoing success of Tarmac’s rail operations as the leading construction solutions business responds to increasing customer demand for delivery of high quality construction materials.

Chris Swan, Head of Rail at Tarmac, said:

“Increasing rail freight capability supports our underlying commitment to sustainability, enabling us not only to lower the whole life carbon footprint of customers projects but also reduce our transport CO2 levels.  Efficient wagons have a key role to play in delivering these ambitions and so it’s good to see the repurposing of materials and equipment with the arrival of this latest wagon set from GB Railfreight.”

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For further information, please contact:
Victoria Adams or Josh Grimstone
Westbourne Communications
020 3397 0100
GBRF@westbournecoms.com

About GB Railfreight

Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, with a turnover in excess of GBP 120m. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers.

For further information, please visit www.gbrailfreight.com

29th March 2017
GBRF signs contract to test Hitachi electric trains

GB Railfreight, one of the UK’s largest rail freight operators, has won a contract with Hitachi Rail Europe to test their newly built electric intercity trains on the East Coast Main Line (ECML).

Testing of Hitachi’s electric trains begins in Spring 2017. Since September 2013 the companies have worked together to facilitate the testing and commissioning of the new bi-mode intercity trains, part of the Intercity Express Programme (IEP). 

The first two electric only test trains for the ECML arrived at Hitachi’s newly constructed Doncaster depot in February. 

As part of the new contract, due to run until April 2020, GBRf will provide train crew for all aspects of the testing and commissioning programme.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said: “The state-of-the-art IEP trains will transform rail travel in the UK and create opportunities for growth across several regions.  I’m pleased that GB Railfreight has the opportunity to extend its relationship with Hitachi to ensure that these trains are tested and commissioned so that they are ready to deliver improved services for rail passengers.”

Andy Rogers, IEP Programme Director at Hitachi Rail Europe, said:
“We take great pride in watching our new intercity trains run on the UK rail network. We look forward to working with GB Railfreight as we reach our next test milestone of running electric only trains on the East Coast main line."


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For further information, please contact:


Victoria Adams, Westbourne Communications
Tel: 020 3397 0100
Email: GBRF@westbournecoms.com


About GB Railfreight
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, with a turnover in excess of GBP 120m. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers.
For further information, please visit www.gbrailfreight.com

 

15th March 2017
David Knowles appointed MD of Hector Rail AB

Current GB Railfreight (GBRf) COO, David Knowles, has been appointed as Managing Director of Hector Rail AB, in Sweden, effective from 10th April 2017.  David has 25 years’ experience in the Railfreight Industry and a wealth of operational and industry expertise, he has been a key member of the Executive team at GBRf for nearly 7 years.

As well as leading and enabling company performance and efficiency at Hector Rail AB, David will play a crucial role in helping Hector Rail AB achieve its strategic goals.

David will have an important role to play in the development of the Hector Rail Group and accordingly will be appointed as a non-Executive Director to GB Railfreight thus retaining his position on the board.

David has said: “Without a doubt, any success I have had in GBRf is largely due to the passion, dedication and hard work of those people I’ve worked with over the last 13 years. For that I am very thankful and proud to have been part of such a phenomenal journey.”

John Smith, Managing Director of GBRf, has said: “This is the next natural step for Dave in his career and a great opportunity for him. I know everyone at GBRf will join me in wishing him every success for the future. The success of Hector Rail Group depends on the strength and performance of all the businesses within the group so having Dave at the helm of Hector Rail AB can only mean positive growth for the Group as a whole. Dave will be sorely missed.”


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For further information, please contact:
Victoria Adams
Westbourne Communications
020 3397 0100
Victoria.Adams@westbournecoms.com
GBRF@westbournecoms.com


About GB Railfreight
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, with a turnover in excess of GBP 120m. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers.
For further information, please visit www.gbrailfreight.com

13th March 2017
Modern Slavery Act Statement

GBRf Modern Slavery Act Statement can be downloaded here.

02nd March 2017
GB Railfreight presents interim charity cheque to the British Heart Foundation

GBRF presents BHF with interim charity cheque

19th January 2017
GB Railfreight wins new contract with B-Logistics

GB Railfreight (GBRf), one of the UK’s leading rail freight companies, has won a contract with B Logistics, the Belgian rail freight company, to move kaolin between Belgium and Scotland.

The contract, which started on 3rd January 2017 for 12 months, will see GBRf transport china clay slurry from Antwerp to Scotland. This flow is fondly known as the ‘silver bullet’ train throughout the rail industry and is a well-established freight service on the network.

GBRf will be using a mixed traction strategy across their element of the 1000km journey, with its Class 92 electric fleet delivering the train through the Channel Tunnel, running the service as far north as Carlisle, where it will then switch to its Class 66 diesel traction for the leg into Scotland.

John Smith, Managing Director at GB Railfreight says: “This contract win is a recognition of the outstanding reliability and performance our customers have come to expect. Our first service in this flow arrived four minutes early into the rail terminal and we aim to deliver this level of service through the duration of the contract. We’re very pleased to be working with B Logistics to connect Belgium and Britain and deliver Kaolin to the paper mill in Scotland.

GB Railfreight has a fleet of over 130 locomotives and 1,100 wagons, providing a wide range of rail transport solutions and rail services to its customers. Its team of 650 people operates over 1,000 trainloads a week, moving 15% of UK’s rail freight.


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For further information, please contact:
Victoria Adams or Anouchka Burton
Westbourne Communications
020 3397 0100
GBRF@westbournecoms.com

About GB Railfreight

Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, with a turnover in excess of GBP 120m. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers.

For further information, please visit www.gbrailfreight.com

19th December 2016
GBRf announces new contract with Lynemouth Power

GB Railfreight (GBRf), one of the largest rail freight operators in the UK, has announced it has signed a rail haulage contract with Lynemouth Power Limited , following a successful tender submission.

The new service is expected to commence in the second half of 2017. GBRf plans to run up to 27 trains per week, delivering over 37k tones of biomass per week. The trains will run between Port of Tyne and Lynemouth Power Station.

The contract comes as part of a 10-year investment project for the power station. GBRf previously demonstrated its reliability along this route whilst running coal services to Lynemouth power station when it was owned by RWEST. The last coal train into the station was April 2015.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

"We are delighted to announce this new contract with Lynemouth Power, as a result of the commitment and dedication from our team. GB Railfreight has grown extensively over the past few years, and new contracts with companies such as Lynemouth Power are an indication of the positive outlook for our company’s future.

This new contract shows the strength of our company, at a critical time for investment in the rail freight industry, we are very proud we are able to continue to grow in this environment. 

We are extremely pleased sign this deal with Lynemouth Power, we look forward to working closely with them to help deliver power to the UK.“

The announcement follows the completion of a deal between GBRf and PUMA energy last month, to run fuels services from Interminals Immingham East.

 

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For further information, please contact:
Victoria Adams or Anouchka Burton
Westbourne Communications
020 3397 0100
GBRF@westbournecoms.com
About GB Railfreight


Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, with a turnover in excess of GBP 120m. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers.
For further information, please visit www.gbrailfreight.com

08th December 2016
GB Railfreight’s charity donations changing lives across the country

GB Railfreight (GBRf) has made the first, of several rounds, of interim donations to its charity partners, totalling £110,000. The British Heart Foundation (BHF), Woking Homes and The Ripple Project have each received donations that will impact communities up and down the country. The next interim donation will be made in mid-2017.

GBRf hosts regular fundraising events including bake sales, dress down days, football and netball tournaments. In September, the company took part in the BHF’s ‘Bag it. Beat it’ campaign where a large section of GBRf staff donated a bag of clothes to sell in BHF charity shops. GBRf also ran a 15-year anniversary charity train tour, taking passengers across the country in Class 87s, 50s, 20s and ‘Evening Star’ locomotives, which raised over £125,000.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“Every year, I am very proud of the effort our staff and their families put into fundraising for our partner charities. The work these charities do is very close to my heart and many of those in the GBRf community, and I look forward to seeing more creative ways we can fundraise to build on these achievements”.

British Heart Foundation

The money raised by GBRf for the BHF will go towards funding lifesaving research to help support the 7 million people living with heart and circulatory disease in the UK.  For over 50 years, BHF-funded research has revolutionised the understanding and the treatment of heart disease.

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive at the British Heart Foundation, said:

“Heart disease is heartless. It can often strike without warning, tearing families apart in an instant, which is why we’re determined to do everything we can to beat it.

“We urgently need to fund more lifesaving research to end the devastation heart disease leaves behind and save lives, which is why we’re absolutely thrilled to have been chosen as GB Railfreight’s charity of the year.?Every pound raised throughout the partnership will help make a difference to millions.

“We would like to offer our heartfelt thanks to GB Railfreight employees for dedicating their time and energy to help us continue our fight against heart disease.”

Woking Homes

Woking Homes is a residential care home with a ‘railway heritage’ providing a secure, relaxed, and homely environment primarily for former rail employees.

Jim Dorward, Chair of the Board of Trustees at Woking Homes said:

“I was delighted and overwhelmed about the very substantial donation to Woking Homes which has resulted from GBRf’s recent highly successful charity fundraising activities. As our existing minibus is now 11 years old and reaching the end of its useful life we will put the GBRf donation towards the purchasing of a new 15 seater minibus”.

The Ripple Project

The Ripple Project seeks to improve the quality of life for residents of all ages in the Restalrig, Lochend and Craigentinny and Edinburgh area, designed to help local people help themselves.

Fiona Cross, Director of the Ripple Project said:

“The team of staff and volunteers here at the Ripple Project would like to say a massive thank you to the staff and families for all their hard work fundraising on behalf of GB Railfreight’s charity partners. The money raised has a real impact for a charity of our size and allows the organisation to continue to deliver a wide range of services for all ages primarily through the dedication and commitment of the many volunteers that offer their time every week.

“With over 72 volunteering positions available on a weekly basis we really are a local community project helping people to help themselves and each other. This community-led approach to developing services means that we can work closely with local residents and this year the Ripple Project is celebrating 20 years at the heart of the community it serves. So once again a huge thanks to all involved”.

 

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For further information, please contact:
Victoria Adams or Anouchka Burton
Westbourne Communications
020 3397 0100
GBRF@westbournecoms.com

About GB Railfreight
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, with a turnover in excess of GBP 120m. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers.
For further information, please visit www.gbrailfreight.com

About the British Heart Foundation
For over 50 years we’ve pioneered research that’s transformed the lives of people living with heart and circulatory conditions. Our work has been central to the discoveries of vital treatments that are changing the fight against heart disease. But so many people still need our help. From babies born with life-threatening heart problems to the many mums, dads and grandparents who survive a heart attack and endure the daily battles of heart failure. Join our fight for every heartbeat in the UK. Every pound raised, minute of your time and donation to our shops will help make a difference to people’s lives.  For more information on the BHF visit bhf.org.uk

About Woking Homes
Woking Homes started life in 1885 as The London and South Western Railway Servants Orphanage, and have been providing care to rail staffs children since 1885 and retired rail staff since 1947. The children’s home closed in the late eighties. The home was financed by “the rank and file railwaymen” who contributed one old penny per week out of their wages. We still rely heavily on contributions which enable us to offer high quality residential and respite care at a subsidised rate for former railway employees their spouses or close family members of those currently employed within the rail industry. For further information please contact us on 01483 763558 or www.woking-homes.co.uk

About The Ripple Project
The Ripple Project was set up as an independent registered charity in July 1996 with the following aim : To improve the quality of life for all ages in the community of Restalrig, Lochend and Craigentinny by helping people to help themselves. The Ripple Project started out with a small group of activities all run by volunteers which included a lunch and social club for older people, an advice service and an afterschool club. A year later the project was able to employ its first member of staff and start to expand its range of groups and services. With a thriving Youth Service, Community Cafe and host of activities such as the Gentle Exercise and Seniors Computer classes the Project has developed in line with the growing needs of this community. The organisation now has a small staff team but has remained a very volunteer focused project, with over 100 volunteers helping to deliver its services annually.

21st November 2016
GB Railfreight announces two-year deal with PUMA energy

GB Railfreight (GBRf), the third largest rail freight operator in the UK, today announced it has signed two-year deal with extension options with global energy company PUMA Energy to run fuels services from Interterminals, Immingham East.

From December GBRf will be providing a hook and haul service going to Bedworth, near Coventry and Theale, near Reading.

The deal is evidence of GBRf's continuing growth in the rail freight industry. It follows the company's recent investment in wagons to service a contract extension with Sibelco Europe as well as securing a five-year contract with Belmond Royal Scotsman.

GBRf operates over 1,000 trainloads a week, moving 15% of UK's rail freight.
John Smith, Managing Director of GBRf, said:

"We are pleased to announce this new deal with PUMA Energy to support the delivery of fuels from on the terminal at Immingham docks. We've grown extensively over the past few years, driven by a number of factors including strong relationships with leading companies like PUMA.

Roy Brooke, Puma Energy UK General Manager at PUMA Energy added: “Puma Energy UK are pleased to be working with GBRf to supply quality, competitively priced fuels to their inland terminals from a new supply location at Interterminals, Immingham East.

This new supply route will help increase supply capacity and support further growth in the UK market.

GBRf have been chosen as a key partner for this activity, bringing a wealth of expertise in rail logistics and a "can do" attitude to match that of Puma Energy.”

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For further information, please contact:
Anouchka Burton or Victoria Adams
Westbourne Communications
020 3397 0100
GBRF@westbournecoms.com

About GB Railfreight

Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, with a turnover in excess of GBP 120m. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers.

For further information, please visit www.gbrailfreight.com

15th November 2016
EQT Infrastructure II completes acquisition of GB Railfreight

EQT Infrastructure II (“EQT Infrastructure” or “EQT”), through an indirectly owned company within the Hector Rail group (“Hector Rail Group” or “Hector Rail”), has completed its acquisition of GB Railfreight Limited (“GB Railfreight” or the “Company”) from Groupe Eurotunnel SE (“Groupe Eurotunnel”).


Founded in 1999 by the current CEO John Smith, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the UK, and provides a wide range of rail transport solutions and rail services to its customers. The Company’s team of 650 people operates over 1,000 trainloads a week, moving 15% of UK’s rail freight. GB Railfreight has a fleet of over 130 locomotives and 1,100 wagons, transporting goods for customers including Drax, Network Rail, EDF Energy, MSC UK, Aggregate Industries and Tarmac.


John Smith, CEO and founder of GB Railfreight, says: “EQT’s business model is very much aligned with GB Railfreight’s, and I look forward to working closely with our new owners to support our continued growth ambitions.”


Bo Lerenius, Industrial Advisor to EQT and Chairman of the Hector Rail Group, says: “As one of the UK’s leading rail freight operators, GB Railfreight has proven its strength in the rail industry. The focus on innovation and delivery of outstanding customer service are two key factors that make us believe that GB Railfreight is an excellent fit with Hector Rail.”

 

For further information, please contact:
Anouchka Burton or Victoria Adams
Westbourne Communications
020 3397 0100
GBRF@westbournecoms.com

About GB Railfreight
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, with a turnover in excess of GBP 120m. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers.

For further information, please visit www.gbrailfreight.com

About Hector Rail
Hector Rail is Sweden’s largest private rail freight company, providing traction services (locomotives and drivers) across Scandinavia and Germany. The company currently produces approximately 150 000 train kilometers per week, transporting heavy industry products, raw materials and intermodal freight through innovative and customer oriented railway solutions.

For further information, please visit www.hectorrail.com

About EQT
EQT is a leading global private equity group with approximately EUR 30 billion in raised capital. EQT funds have portfolio companies in Europe, Asia and the US with total sales of more than EUR 15 billion and approximately 100,000 employees. EQT works with portfolio companies to achieve sustainable growth, operational excellence and market leadership.

For further information, please visit www.eqtpartners.com

18th October 2016
EQT Infrastructure II Announces Intent to Acquire GB Railfreight

EQT Infrastructure II (“EQT Infrastructure” or “EQT”) has submitted, through an indirectly owned company within the Hector Rail group (the “Hector Rail Group” or “Hector Rail”), an irrevocable offer to acquire GB Railfreight Limited (“GB Railfreight” or the “Company”) from Groupe Eurotunnel SE (“Groupe Eurotunnel”). The proposed acquisition is an integral part of EQT’s strategy to create a leading independent pan-European rail freight operator.

Founded in 1999 by the current CEO John Smith, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the UK, and provides a wide range of rail transport solutions and rail services to its customers. The Company’s team of 650 people operates over 1,000 trainloads a week, moving ~15% of UK’s rail freight. GB Railfreight has a fleet of over 130 locomotives and 1,100 wagons, transporting goods for customers including Drax, Network Rail, EDF Energy, MSC UK, Aggregate Industries and Tarmac.

“We would be very pleased with EQT as our new owner and strongly believe that EQT’s industrial approach and network, extensive rail freight experience and access to capital would be of valuable support to GB Railfreight in our continued growth ambitions”, says GB Railfreight’s CEO and founder John Smith.

“GB Railfreight is a company that understands its customers, staff, and the industry in which it operates. The focus on innovation and delivery of outstanding customer service are two key factors that make us believe that GB Railfreight would be an excellent fit with Hector Rail. We look forward to working in close partnership with GB Railfreight’s management team, to support the company in its continued growth ambitions”, says Bo Lerenius, Industrial Advisor to EQT and Chairman of the Hector Rail Group.

The acquisition is subject to consultation with Groupe Eurotunnel’s staff representative bodies, after which EQT Infrastructure and Groupe Eurotunnel are ready to quickly move forward with the transaction and enter into binding agreements.

For further information, please contact:
Anouchka Burton, Westbourne Communications
020 3397 0100 /GBRF@westbournecoms.com

About GB Railfreight
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, with a turnover in excess of GBP 120m. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers.

For further information, please visit www.gbrailfreight.com

About Hector Rail
Hector Rail is Sweden’s largest private rail freight company, providing traction services (locomotives and drivers) across Scandinavia and Germany. The company currently produces approximately 150 000 train kilometers per week, transporting heavy industry products, raw materials and intermodal freight through innovative and customer oriented railway solutions.

For further information, please visit www.hectorrail.com

About EQT
EQT is a leading global private equity group with approximately EUR 30 billion in raised capital. EQT funds have portfolio companies in Europe, Asia and the US with total sales of more than EUR 15 billion and approximately 100,000 employees. EQT works with portfolio companies to achieve sustainable growth, operational excellence and market leadership.

For further information, please visit www.eqtpartners.com

20th September 2016
GB Railfreight celebrates 15 years of operations with record breaking charity charter train tour

GB Railfreight (GBRf) has raised a record £125,100 for its selected charities, following a four-day charity charter train tour of the UK. The achievement marks 15 years of operations for the company.
Starting on 8th September, the tour saw passengers travelling to an extensive array of locations across the UK, including Swanage, Harwich, Inverness and Liverpool, being hauled by locomotives that included Class 87s, Class 59s, Class 20s and the famous ‘Evening Star’.

The tour itinerary was as follows:
8th September – Victoria > Swanage > Kings Cross (Class 20s, Class 73/1s)
9th September – Kings Cross > Whitemoor > Peterborough > Norwich > Great Yarmouth > Harwich (Class 73/9s, Class 66)
Overnight 9th/10th September – Harwich > Edinburgh (Class 86)
10th September – Edinburgh > Aberdeen > Inverness > Edinburgh (Class 20s, Class 47)
11th September – Edinburgh > Preston > Liverpool > Doncaster > Peterborough > Paddington > Reading (Class 87, Class 59, Class 92, ‘Evening Star’)
This large programme was led by Business Manager for Infrastructure and Rail Services Paul Taylor, Account Manager for Rail Services Dale Williams, and Train Planner Richard Owen, who set plans in motion over a year ago. Over 30 additional GBRf staff volunteered to work in their own time across the four days and on a "not-for-profit" basis.

The freight operator was supported by their suppliers Harry Needle Railway Company, Riviera and Colas Rail, and infrastructure provider Network Rail, in order to make the tour a possibility.

The charter train tour forms part of the freight operator’s year-long fundraising efforts for The British Heart Foundation, Woking Homes and The Ripple Project.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“Every year, our staff and their families go that extra mile to raise funds for our nominated charities.  With this four-day charter tour, Paul Taylor and his team took it that stage further.

“The culmination of two years’ worth of discussions and over a year of planning, they came up with a programme that, when tickets went on sale, almost sold out within the first 24 hours.

“I’d like to thank the GBRf staff and all of our suppliers, who helped make the charity charter tour happen, raising a record figure of £125,100. I can’t begin to imagine what the team will come up with next to build on these achievements.”

 

16th September 2016
GB Railfreight welcomes the Government's new Rail Freight Strategy

GB Railfreight (GBRf) today welcomes the Government's new Rail Freight Strategy, which sets out its vision for the rail freight industry over the next thirty years and what is ultimately required in order for this vision to be delivered.

The Strategy was formed as a result of close engagement between the Department for Transport, Network Rail, the freight operators, including GBRf, and its customers. For this reason, the report describes itself as a “shared” vision.

In response to its publication, Managing Director for GB Railfreight John Smith commented:

“We welcome the Government’s renewed ambition to tackle some of the challenges facing the rail freight industry, following the decline of core commodities such as coal and steel.

“Opportunities for growth exist in alternative core commodity markets such as intermodal and aggregates, but we need to ensure that investment is made and decisions taken to increase freight capacity and capability on the network.

“This report focuses on all the right things, highlighting areas where progress can and should be made. This includes strengthening strategic capacity for freight, reducing dwell times and improving velocity.

“As we move forward with PR18 discussions, we need to ensure that these suggested actions are taken on-board and a more stable and competitive environment provided for freight.”
 

31st August 2016
GB Railfreight invests in new wagons to service Sibelco contract extension in UK

GB Railfreight (GBRf) today (31 August 2016) confirmed that it has invested in new wagons in order to service a contract extension with Sibelco Europe in UK. The extension will see the operator provide freight services for Sibelco’s silica sand product for a further five years, until December 2022.

GBRf is leasing 41 new 101.6 tonne hopper wagons from Nacco Leasing for a minimum of five years, with the option to extend. Built by Poland-based Greenbrier, the investment in these assets allows GB Railfreight to deliver a more efficient service for Sibelco by:

  • Almost doubling carry load (from 36 tonnes per wagon to 70 tonnes).
  • Operating on more efficient and track-friendly bogies.
  • Assisting staff in carrying out easier and more effective maintenance responsibilities.

The contract extension is scheduled to come into force in August 2017, when the freight operator will see the new-build aggregate sand wagons enter service.
It means that GBRf will continue to transport silica sand from Sibelco’s quarry in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, to Guardian Industries’ UK plant in Goole, Yorkshire, and Ardagh Group’s UK glass sites in Barnsley and Doncaster.

The deal highlight’s the operator’s commitment to deliver for its clients and to further expand into the aggregates market. Investment in assets is vital if freight is to remain competitive, especially in potential core commodity markets such as aggregates.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

GB Railfreight recognises the challenges that the freight industry currently faces and that, in order to create sustainable growth, modern and innovative solutions are needed for our customers.

“This contract extension with Sibelco is a primary example of close working between ourselves and the customer to better understand what is needed to improve services. In this case, it was agreed that we would invest in new-build hopper wagons to increase capacity and efficiency.

“I am delighted that Sibelco has agreed to work with us for another five years, and we will continue to evaluate how we can boost our offering and ensure rail freight remains competitive.”

Andrew Smith, UK Logistics Manager of Sibelco Europe, said:

“We are delighted to have finalised this supply agreement and contract extension with GB Railfreight, who we have worked successfully with since 2014. The glass industry is incredibly important to Sibelco and maintaining the high quality of our product and service is critical, these new wagons will enable us to supply our customers with confidence for the future.”

22nd July 2016
Cars transported through Channel Tunnel by rail for first time in five years

Overnight from 4 to 5 July 2016, a train transporting new cars from Bristol in the UK to Ghent in Belgium travelled through the Channel Tunnel. This is the first time in five years that this type of traffic has been carried via the Tunnel, drawn by the need for reliable and secure transport for this high-value merchandise.

The traction for the car train was provided by GB Railfreight, the rail freight subsidiary of Groupe Eurotunnel, working on behalf of European automobile transport specialist, STVA UK Ltd.

The contract with STVA UK Ltd is for one train per week, carrying cars from the Bristol Port Company, Portbury, to Ghent, Belgium.

The first wagons are being hauled by a diesel Class 66 (locomotive 66713) from Portbury to the Channel Tunnel, where an electric Class 92 (locomotive 92044) will haul the wagons through the Tunnel. From Frethun, B Logistics and Europorte France will complete the journey to Ghent, Belgium.

Each train will be made up of nine double-deck STVA wagons, which were tailor-made to transport vehicles. Each wagon can carry 24 cars, with each train transporting 216 cars a week.

The components that went into the manufacture of the vehicles being transported came in part from continental European suppliers themselves and had already been transported through the Tunnel en-route to the assembly plant.

This train is therefore a symbol of the exchanges and the just-in-time logistics flows between the continent and the United Kingdom for which Groupe Eurotunnel offers a complementary service with its truck shuttles on the one hand and its rail freight services on the other.

This contract also signifies GB Railfreight’s ambition to continue diversifying its portfolio and forge forward with its European growth plans. Following the decline of core commodities such as coal and steel, the company is intent on increasing UK rail freight’s competiveness in other markets, and opportunities for expansion exist in the automotive industry and across the Continent.

Paul Maynard MP, Rail Minister, said:

“This is a great example of how the rail freight industry in the UK is continuing to offer real benefits for the environment and for UK businesses. The extensive security measures put in place last year by both the French and UK Governments and Eurotunnel mean that customers now have confidence the Channel Tunnel site is secure and open for new business.

“This new cross-channel deal will build on the success of our safe and secure freight links through the Channel Tunnel, helping to reduce congestion on roads. The government is working with the industry to develop a Rail Freight Strategy that will identify and implement further measures to ensure continued growth and success for the sector.”

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“Over the course of the last three years we have built a strong relationship with STVA UK Ltd and we are really proud to have added this new flow to our portfolio.

“There is huge potential to increasingly transport bulk items, such as cars, on rail and through the Tunnel, cutting carbon emissions and relieving congestion on our roads. We will continue to work closely with Government and the industry to ensure that we unlock capacity on the rail network in order to support the true potential of freight.”

Ian Brown, Managing Director of STVA UK, said:

“STVA is delighted to extend our transport services to an important customer  to respond to a requirement linked to  production growth. This solution is both operationally efficient and environmentally responsible.

“STVA successfully works with GBRf to transport cars by rail within a Domestic Context and we are pleased to offer this opportunity to work together on this cross-channel project.”

10th May 2016
Historic moment for the rail industry as GB Railfreight names last ever Class 66 “Evening Star”

 

Today (10th May), during a ceremony at the National Railway Museum in York, GB Railfreight (GBRf) unveiled the name and livery of locomotive 66779, the last Class 66 to be built for the UK and European markets.

GBRf has named locomotive 66779 “Evening Star” and it has been liveried in lined passenger express ‘brunswick green’, in commemoration of the last steam locomotive of the same name to have been built by Swindon Works for British Railways in 1960.

This is an historic moment for the industry. The Class 66s have made a major contribution to UK rail freight, transforming reliability since their introduction in 1998. In recognition of these achievements, GBRf has promised to donate 66779 to the National Railway Museum National Heritage Committee at the end of its working life, to be preserved for the benefit of the public.

The event was also a celebration of 15 years of operations for GBRf. Starting off with just two employees and an infrastructure contract with Railtrack in 2001, the freight operator now employs over 650 staff, operates over 1,000 train loads each week for clients across the energy, aggregates, intermodal and infrastructure markets, and generates annual turnover in excess of £130m.

The freight operator was joined by over 200 guests from across industry, government and the media for the ceremony. GBRf Managing Director John Smith and Progress Rail Services and Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) CEO Billy Ainsworth delivered speeches before 66779 was unveiled.

66779 is the last of seven locomotives (66773 – 66779) that were procured from EMD and that arrived in the UK in February of this year. In addition to the 21 Class 66s that arrived in the UK last year, they bring the operator’s Class 66 fleet to 78 locomotives. Given their heavy freight capabilities, the 28 locomotives will be used to support operations across various GBRf market portfolios.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“This is a hugely historic moment for the rail industry. The Class 66 locomotive is probably the most successful design to ever run on Britain’s railways, and we have decided to honour their achievements by naming the last 66 to be built after British Rail’s classic 92220 ‘Evening Star’.

“As a life-long railway man, it makes me immensely proud that my company has the opportunity to own the last 66 off the production line for use on our operations across the country. In recognition of the achievement of this locomotive, we will be donating 66779 to the national collection at the National Railway Museum at the end of its working life, so it can join 92220 and be preserved for the enjoyment of everybody.

“Today also marks 15 years of operations at GBRf. It was not long ago that we started out on our first infrastructure contract with Railtrack and we’re now operating over 1,000 train loads a week. We could not have got here without the hard work of GB Railfreight employees, past and present, and I would like to take the opportunity on this special day to thank all of those that have given so much to GB Railfreight along the way.

Billy Ainsworth, President and CEO of Progress Rail Services, said:

“We are honoured to be a part of this special occasion with our long-time partner, GBRf, and value the solid relationship we have forged over the years. Although today’s event signifies the close of a memorable chapter for our highly reliable EMD Class 66 locomotives, it opens another as we continue to lead the industry with the development of other world-class diesel electric locomotives.” 

Paul Kirkman, Director of the National Railway Museum, said:

“We are proud to host this event marking this significant milestone in railway history. Our museum tells the story of how the railways shaped and continue to shape our world, and therefore is the perfect place to showcase the latest developments in the modern railway industry.”

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18th April 2016
GB Railfreight announces Belmond Royal Scotsman contract as it runs its first train for the luxury passenger service

GB Railfreight (GBRf) today [18 April] ran its first journey for Belmond Royal Scotsman, as it announced the company has signed a five-year contract.

Locomotive 66746, painted in special Belmond Royal Scotsman livery, started its three-day tour from Edinburgh at 13:44 and is scheduled to arrive in Kyle of Lochalsh tomorrow [19 April] at 18.03. It will make its return journey to Edinburgh on 20 April, via Aviemore and Dundee, arriving at 09:48 on 21 April.

GBRf will be delivering train crew and traction and a special liveried Class 66 will deliver approximately 50 multi-day tours each year, during the Belmond Royal Scotsman’s scheduled season between April and October, hauling the train’s luxury sleeper carriages.

This is a significant moment for GBRf as it represents another step in the expansion of the freight operator’s rail services business. It follows the operation of numerous football charter journeys across the UK, as well as the provision of train crew and traction for Scotland’s iconic Caledonian Sleeper franchise.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“Over the last two years, GB Railfreight has seen extensive growth in its rail services business as we help provide train crew and traction for important passenger services such as charter football trains and the iconic Caledonian Sleeper.

“We are delighted to be working with Belmond to support its luxury Belmond Royal Scotsman service and will ensure that we use our extensive experience to ensure that its passengers continue to receive a level of service that befits its prestigious reputation.”

Commenting on the new partnership, Gary Franklin, Managing Director, Trains and Cruises at Belmond, commented:

“GB Railfreight has an excellent reputation within the rail industry and we are pleased to be working with the team over the next five years to haul the luxury sleeper carriages of Belmond Royal Scotsman."

17th March 2016
GB Railfreight calls for vital Trans-Pennine track improvements ahead of electrification, to support the growth of rail freight

GB Railfreight today welcomes the Government's commitment to invest in east-west transport connectivity in the North and calls for the prioritisation of vital track improvements to support the growth of rail freight across the Pennines.

The Government's announcements, made as part of the Chancellor's Budget, followed the recommendations of the National Infrastructure Commission's report High Speed North.

In response GB Railfreight, which is the main freight operating company across the Pennines [1], is calling for the Government to ensure the right configuration of track is in place before proceeding with planned Trans-Pennine electrification. This includes prioritising the following investments:
Additional tracks along the Diggle route (Stalybridge-Huddersfield), using the old track formation and introducing three or four tracks where there are currently only two.
Gauge-clearing the east-west route to allow for intermodal freight.
In response to today's announcements John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“We welcome today’s announcement by the Chancellor that the Government plans to invest in east-west connectivity in the North. However, there is currently suppressed demand to move freight by rail because we can’t get enough paths across the Pennines.

“As part of the Government’s commitment to HS3 it is vital that specific track investment is prioritised to support the growth of rail freight. This includes improvements along the Diggle route and gauge-clearing for intermodal traffic east-west. It is absolutely imperative that we invest in these schemes and get the correct configuration of track before we electrify the line.

“As the main freight operator across the Pennines we understand the challenges of the Trans-Pennine route and will continue to work closely and constructively with Transport for the North and the industry to ensure that the right improvements are prioritised in the medium-long term.”

13th February 2016
“Significant moment” for the continued growth of GB Railfreight, as last ever Class 66 locos to be built arrive in the UK

Today, GB Railfreight (GBRf) welcomed the arrival of the last batch of its new Class 66 locomotives from the U.S. into the Port of Newport.

The Class 66s arrived at the Port at 16:00 on Friday, 12th February, before being unloaded and coupled together again at 08:00 this morning. The process should last one to two days, after which they are scheduled to be transported to Doncaster on Monday 15th February.

The procurement of these seven locomotives (66773 – 66779) from Electro-Motive Diesel, Inc. (EMD) is in addition to 21 EMD Class 66s that arrived in the UK last year, bringing GBRf’s Class 66 fleet total to 78 locomotives. Given their heavy freight capabilities, they will be used to support operations across various GBRf market portfolios.

Today’s arrival is a significant moment for GB Railfreight. Securing these locomotives supports the company’s ability to continue to grow its share of the UK market and showcases the level of investment the company is making in its fleet.

Today’s arrival of EMD Class 66s also marks the end of the Class 66 builds, as a result of EU emissions legislation changes. The level of investment required to design, develop, test and approve a new diesel locomotive, and one that aligns with these new regulations, means any new UK freight locomotive is a number of years away.

GBRf has invested heavily in completely re-engineering Class 73 locomotives, with brand new power units, in order to give the company other diesel options with improved fuel economy and increased versatility.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“Today is a significant moment for GB Railfreight. It marks the culmination of over two years of collaboration with EMD on the 66s build project and I want to thank them for all their hard work and dedication in reaching this point.

“Today also marks the end of the Class 66 builds and these locomotives will be the last to arrive on UK soil. The rail freight industry now needs to work together to deliver a new generation of diesel locomotives that are legally compliant with the EU’s new diesel emissions regulations.

“We are very pleased to have been able to secure these last seven Class 66 locomotives. They support the company’s continued growth and enable us to carry on serving our customers across various markets, particularly aggregates, reiterating our commitment to supporting the Government’s building Britain agenda.”

Billy Ainsworth, President and CEO of Progress Rail Services, said:

“Today serves as a milestone with the delivery of our last Class 66 locomotives. I’m pleased we were able to meet GBRf’s needs for reliability, fuel efficiency and overall locomotive performance. The Class 66 ranks as a top performer in its category. We are currently developing new generations of locomotives to meet our customers’ demands around the globe, just as we did through this offering.

“I want to personally thank John Smith and the GBRf team for selecting EMD locomotives and entering into long-term maintenance agreements. It is truly an honor to be selected to meet their business needs, when you look at the number of options available today.”

ENDS

27th January 2016
GB Railfreight and blood cancer charity Bloodwise celebrate £62,000 fundraising achievement

GB Railfreight and blood cancer charity Bloodwise yesterday (26th January) celebrated their 18-month partnership by announcing that the rail freight operator had successfully raised just over £62,000 to help beat blood cancer, far surpassing the original £20,000 target.

In an event held at Devonshire Terrace in London, representatives from GB Railfreight and Bloodwise thanked supporters for their dedication to the fundraising effort through a series of events, including charter train trips across the UK, marathon runs, quiz nights, dress down days and many other company and individual challenges.

Some of the most notable moments for GB Railfreight included:

• The Bloodwise charter train journey for enthusiasts between Glasgow and Crewe on 9th August 2015, which raised a record £21,170
• The team charity skydive in September 2015
• The staff cycle challenge in 2014, which saw GB Railfreight Managing Director John Smith complete a 130-mile bike ride to Cambridge in fancy dress.
• Patient engagement event in November 2014, during which researchers, patients, friends and family came together to share their experiences of blood cancer.

GB Railfreight nominated Bloodwise (formerly Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research) as their Charity of the Year for 2014-15 in August 2014. The partnership was later extended to January 2016.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“I would like to say a big thank to everybody for all their personal time, commitment and hard work in contributing to the many charity events and fundraising throughout the past 18 months.

“Bloodwise is a charity that is very close to my heart and we always encourage our staff to submit any charity nominations to be considered every year.  A group of people within GB then reflect on these nominations and the reasons behind them to make a decision.  It is always our intention to ensure we cover as many types of different charities as we can.”

“Raising over £60,000, when our initial expectations were set at £20,000, showcases the lengths many individuals have gone to promote the Bloodwise cause, and we are committed to continuing our fundraising efforts in the future.”

Cathy Gilman, Chief Executive of Bloodwise, added:

“GB Railfreight colleagues have gone above and beyond to more than triple their original fundraising target for the charity. Their efforts are truly admirable and we are grateful for their support in helping us to improve the lives of blood cancer patients.”

23rd December 2015
GB Railfreight showcases opportunities for intermodal haulage growth with special Christmas train to the Port of Liverpool

GB Railfreight yesterday (Tuesday, 22nd December) ran a special Christmas intermodal train from Maritime Transport’s Birmingham Intermodal Freight Terminal, Birch Coppice, to the Port of Liverpool. This is the first time a service has been run between the two sites.

Locomotive 66729 was used to haul eight IFA ‘Q80’ flat wagons, leaving Birch Coppice at 20:48 and arriving at Seaforth Container Terminal at 01:39 on Wednesday, 23rd December. It made the return journey from the container terminal at 03:30 on 23rd December, arriving at Birch Coppice at 10:53.

This is an important moment for Peel Ports (owner and operator of the Port of Liverpool), GB Railfreight and Maritime Transport, as it demonstrates the potential of running regular container services between Birmingham and Liverpool, providing an alternative to moving containers by road. The development of Liverpool2, a new deep water container terminal, will increase the demand for land transport solutions.

Earlier this year, GB Railfreight ran its first intermodal train from the Port of Felixstowe to Birch Coppice, on behalf of Maritime Transport.

John Smith, Managing Director of GBRf, said:

“The running of our special Christmas train to the Port of Liverpool demonstrates that there are huge intermodal rail freight opportunities that could arise from the Liverpool2 logistics project, and we will be working with our partners to build awareness amongst existing and new customers.

“The container market is an important source of growth for the industry, and it’s vital that we provide the terminal and network infrastructure that allows us to meet present and future consumer demand.”

Gary Hodgson, Chief Operating Officer of Peel Ports, said:

“Peel Ports Group are delighted to welcome the Christmas Special intermodal train service from Birch Coppice to the Port of Liverpool in partnership with GB Railfreight and Maritime Transport.

“The ongoing investments and growth at the Port both in quayside and landside infrastructure and in turn onward connectivity further cements Peel Ports commitment to our partners and customers in delivering a new multi-modal solution to the UK”.

John Williams, Group Managing Director of Maritime Transport, said:

"We look forward to handling a regular GB Railfreight train service between the Port of Liverpool and BIFT, our modern Strategic Railfreight Interchange, at Birch Coppice and the potential opportunities arising from a rail connection with the Port of Liverpool. We operate a first class Railport and an extensive road fleet at BIFT to support customers with intermodal services to and from the Midlands."

18th November 2015
GB Railfreight says rail freight industry at an “important crossroads” in response to Government announcement of coal power station closures

In response to today's announcement by Government Energy Secretary Amber Rudd MP that coal power stations would be phased out by 2025, GB Railfreight Managing Director John Smith said:

“Today’s announcement on the closure of coal stations raises considerable challenges for the rail freight industry. A reduction in coal has long been anticipated and is clearly important to help the UK meet its carbon targets, however coal stations are closing sooner than intended due to the impact of the carbon tax regime. Together with the demise of the UK’s steel industry, the rail freight sector is seeing the reduction of bulk commodities that have been the core of our business and allowed us to speculate in other markets.

“Whilst there is an opportunity for rail freight to open up into new and existing markets and to take lorries off the road, we urgently need to see a joined-up approach from Government that supports rail freight to prosper. This includes investment in enhancements to create more capacity on key rail arteries like the West Coast and East Coast Main Lines that would enable us to grow intermodal, particularly the long-overdue capacity improvements required around the Port of Felixstowe. It also includes the critical need to ensure that the Strategic Freight Network exists and is funded for the next Control Period.

“We are at an important crossroads for rail freight where we need to find and develop new and existing foundations, and this requires Government support, an integrated approach to our logistics strategy and long-term certainty in the markets that we serve.”

27th October 2015
GB Railfreight runs first train for Drax from the Port of Liverpool, opening up new paths across the TransPennine rail network

GB Railfreight yesterday (Monday, 26th October) ran its first train for Drax Power from the Port of Liverpool to the company’s Power Station in Selby, North Yorkshire, transporting 1,600 tonnes of biomass pellets.

Using locomotive 59003 at the front and 66706 at the rear (6F27), and 25 of Drax Power’s biomass hopper wagons, the train left the Port of Liverpool at 17:25. It was hauled to Tuebrook sidings in Liverpool, where the Class 59 was detached and the Class 66 (6E27) used to haul the train to Drax Power Station, arriving at 0159 on Tuesday, 27th October.

The Port of Liverpool is a loading location included on GBRf’s contract for hook and haul services with Drax Power. GBRf currently runs two sets of Drax wagons.

This operation represents the start of Phase 1 of the Liverpool project, with phase 2 to be completed in 2016. The objective is to stimulate greater throughput at the new terminal  increasing trains from this location, and ultimately using four sets of wagons to move up to 3mt of biomass per annum from Liverpool (Peel Ports) to Drax Power Station.

A major challenge to establishing this new flow to Drax was securing paths across the TransPennine rail network. Previously the majority of freight operations east-west have been residual traffic. Two years ago Drax, working with Network Rail and GBRf, identified viable paths that could support a train plan to and from the Port. GB Railfreight has since been working closely with Network Rail and Drax to make this service a reality.

GBRf became the first rail freight operator to move biomass by rail in the UK back in 2010, as part of its contract with Drax Power.

John Smith, Managing Director of GBRf, said:

“The running of the first biomass train for Drax Power from the Port of Liverpool is an important moment for GB Railfreight. Over the last two years, we have been working with Drax and the infrastructure operator to secure viable paths across the TransPennine rail network and answer the demands of one of our longest and most loyal customers.

“Today is recognition of these efforts and the innovative approach we take to customer solutions. We’re looking forward to building on this relationship with Drax as we move into Phase 2 of the Liverpool project.”

Graham Backhouse, Drax Head of Supply Chain & Logistics, said:

“This first delivery of sustainable biomass from the Port of Liverpool is further evidence of Drax powering the Northern Powerhouse.

“Using cutting edge biomass technology we are transforming the UK’s largest Power Station into one of Europe’s largest generators of renewable electricity.  Receiving biomass from Liverpool is another example of how we provide the UK with sustainable, reliable and affordable energy.”

24th September 2015
The first of GB Railfreight’s new fleet of 73/9s go into service

GB Railfreight today confirmed that the first three of a new fleet of refurbished 73/9s have gone into service following a 10-year lease agreement with Network Rail. They will be supporting the infrastructure provider’s ongoing track and engineering operations.

The three 73/9s (73961-73963) went into service for Network Rail earlier this month (16 September 2015) and will be rotated around two types of work:

(1) Infrastructure monitoring – hauling trains that monitor the track and any defects that have occurred
(2) Possession management – hauling day/overnight engineering trains

GBRf has spent millions of pounds refurbishing these locomotives. Keeping the same underframe, Brush Traction has replaced the original 600hp English electric engine with brand new 1600hp MTU R43 4000 V8, providing increased power, improved fuel economy and enhanced versatility. A further eight 73/9s are currently undergoing refurbishment and testing at Brush Traction to go into service on other contracts later this year.

This increased power and versatility means that Network Rail will be able to cover a much wider area on their monitoring and possession work, extending beyond the southern region.

The award of this contract highlights the crucial investment that GBRf is making in supporting the growth of rail freight over the medium-long term. Earlier this year, GB Railfreight brought the first of their 21 new Class 66s into service, for use on various work across the network. At present, GBRf’s total fleet includes 72 Class 66s, 20 Class 73s, 16 Class 92s, four 0809s and 12 DI8 shunters. This number will increase with the arrival of an additional six Class 66s in January 2016.

John Smith, Managing Director of GBRf, said:

“GB Railfreight is delighted that the first of its new Class 73/9s have entered into service and that they will be supporting Network Rail with its infrastructure work across the UK rail network. These electro-diesel 73/9s are incredibly versatile and powerful, and can be used on a wide variety of routes across the regions. This deal is another sign of the significant investment GBRf is making in the domestic freight industry.”

Paul Gilbert, operations director for Network Rail National Supply Chain, said:

“Our infrastructure monitoring and engineering trains are absolutely vital to the work we do each and every day. The introduction of the 73/9s is a quick and cost effective way of boosting our fleet and will improve reliability and increase in our overall capability.”

Doug Loudon, Managing Director of Brush Traction, said:

“Wabtec, through its Brush Traction business, is delighted to have worked with GBRf to return these locomotives to service. The locomotives have benefited from a full physical overhaul as well as having had significant engineering upgrades applied to provide a highly engineered specification. Wabtec will provide full service support to GBRf and Network Rail over many years of service as part of its commitment to the program. The activity to refurbish a further seven locomotives is at an advanced stage in support of entry in to service later this year.”

18th September 2015
GB Railfreight wins Freight & Logistics Achievement of the Year at the National Rail Awards 2015

GB Railfreight was awarded the Freight & Logistics Achievement of the Year prize at the National Rail Awards last night (18th September).

At a ceremony attended by over 1300 industry decision makers, political figures and media stakeholders, the company picked up the prestigious award, beating off stiff competition from fellow freight operators.

The award recognises GB Railfreight’s significant contributions to UK rail freight and logistics between May 2014 and April 2015. In 2014-15, the company achieved annual turnover in excess of £120m, grew its workforce to over 650 employees and surpassed 1,000 trainloads per week.

This is the result of combining innovative and bespoke solutions, technological advancements and capital investments, allowing GBRf to expand further into targeted markets, in particular aggregates and infrastructure, and optimise outcomes for all of its customers.

GB Railfreight was awarded the prize by a 23-strong independent judging panel from across the industry.

The National Rail Awards are run and organised by RAIL Magazine and entries are open to anyone working within or supplying to the UK rail industry. This year’s ceremony was held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

John Smith, Managing Director of GBRf, said:

“I cannot begin to express how proud I am of the whole of the GB Railfreight team for winning the Freight & Logistics Achievement of the Year award at the National Rail Awards last night.

“We have reached some major performance milestones this year, the most significant of which came in November 2014, when the company undertook 1,000 train movements for the first time in its history. In just over 10 years, this is a 1100% increase in train loads per week.

“It is evident the company is going from strength to strength and this down to the hard work and commitment of each and every one of our staff to drive innovation and deliver for our customers.”

09th September 2015
GB Railfreight Managing Director John Smith responds to halting of Ely to Soham capacity enhancement scheme

In response to Network Rail's decision to halt the Ely to Soham capacity enhancement scheme on costs grounds, GB Railfreight Managing Director John Smith has issued the following statement:

“While Network Rail’s decision to put the Ely to Soham scheme on hold is disappointing, what is now required is a clear understanding of what F2N looks like when it is completed. This includes recognising the capacity it can offer and the individual investments needed to deliver such capacity, including that at Soham. These can then be planned and funded through CP6.

“With regards to CP5, double tracking of the Felixstowe branch line remains the best value for money of all schemes on the route and it’s vital that the Government completes the project in this Control Period. Double tracking will also ensure that benefits from other investments by Network Rail, such as the Nuneaton Chord and the Bacon Factory Curve, are fully exploited.”

08th September 2015
GB Railfreight and FCC Environment to remove 350 lorry loads of construction soils and materials from London per week as they reopen strategic freight site in Cricklewood

Today [8 September], GB Railfreight ran its first train transporting waste from its new North London Railfreight Terminal, a strategic freight site in Cricklewood that the company has leased from Network Rail earlier this month.

The new 3-year contract is for one train a day (Monday to Friday) in partnership with FCC Environment, who GBRf have signed a material storage, handling and haulage deal with. Each loaded train is formed of 20 box wagons, which is the equivalent of removing about 70 lorries from the road or 350 lorries per week.

The site handles soil waste from a variety of locations in London, including construction sites and development areas. Waste material arrives at the site by lorry where it gets deposited, prior to being transported by rail.

Locomotive 66709 departed the North London Railfreight Terminal at 1215 and is the first train to run under the new agreement to take spoil up to FCC Environment’s Calvert Waste Management Facility in Buckinghamshire.  The ultimate end use of the materials is reuse or recovery rather than disposal.

GBRf have signed a head lease with Network Rail to commence operating from the Cricklewood site, a location that had not been in use for a number of years. GB Railfreight have called down and leased the strategic freight site through a property deal with the infrastructure provider and are now working in partnership with FCC Environment, who procure the material and arrange road movement into site [1], and Material Handling Ltd, who manage the handling, storage and loading of material.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“As London continues to build, more and more construction soils and materials need to be able to leave the capital efficiently and with least cost to the environment at a time when London’s roads are already seriously under strain.

“With major projects like HS2 and Crossrail 2 in the pipeline the rail freight sector can provide a reliable solution. This new service out of Cricklewood demonstrates our commitment to doing our bit to support the construction sector in London, removing 350 lorries from the road per week.”

Phil Amos, Senior Accounts Manager of GB Railfreight, said:

“The successful commencement of operations at this location, and the running of trains from Cricklewood to Calvert, reflects the hard work of a number of parties over many months to return this site to an active railfreight terminal. We very much look forward to providing FCC Environment with GBRf’s customary high levels of performance and customer service on this flow.”

02nd September 2015
GB Railfreight increases capacity at the Port of Felixstowe by over one fifth, actively switching freight from road to rail

GB Railfreight today [2nd September] ran its first train in its new slot at the Port of Felixstowe, enabling the freight operator to increase its capacity at the Port by over one fifth (23%).

The new slot, GB Railfreight’s 7th at the Port, was awarded last week after a competitive bidding process. It marks an important milestone in GB Railfreight’s operations at the Port, its first new slot since 2012 [1].

This slot allows trains to run from Felixstowe to Birmingham Intermodal Freight Terminal (BIFT) at Birch Coppice in the West Midlands, a major intermodal freight terminal owned by Maritime Transport [2]. It is the first train to serve this route out of the Port, meaning it will be actively switching freight from road to rail.

Trains will run to and from the Port once a day, five days a week (Monday to Friday) over the next five years. The first train, locomotive 66761, left the Port for Maritime Transport’s Birmingham Intermodal Freight Terminal, Birch Coppice, at 10:29 am.

To begin with, the trains will consist of 33 wagons. However, GBRf has placed an order for a further 15 Ecofret triple-platform wagons, which will make the train 45 wagons in length. This will allow the freight operator to continue to serve the demand for 40 foot containers and increases GBRf’s capacity at the Port by 23% - over one fifth.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“This is a really exciting day for us. We have worked extremely hard to identify opportunities to increase our capacity to and from the Port. As a result, we now run the longest intermodal freight trains on the network with wagons that can accommodate 40 foot-containers.
  
“The winning of our 7th slot is an important milestone as it enables us to further expand our capacity, helping us to continue to meet the demand from our customers and support the growth of the intermodal rail freight market and its potential to take freight off the roads.”

John Williams, Group Managing Director of Maritime Transport, said:

"BIFT is an important strategic freight interchange in the West Midlands and we are delighted that GBRf has chosen our rail terminal for their new service."

Clemence Cheng, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Felixstowe and Managing Director of HPH Europe division, said:

“As well as being the busiest container port in the UK, Felixstowe also operates the country’s biggest intermodal rail facility. In 2014 we handled close to 900,000 TEU by rail. This record volume was achieved by the investment we made in our newest terminal, the North Rail Terminal, and the dedicated employees in our rail team working closely with our customers and Network Rail to improve on our efficiency and the handling of longer trains. The 30+ wagon trains that run from there are the longest intermodal trains in the UK.

“Capacity at the North Rail Terminal is being further enhanced by two new Rail-Mounted Gantry Cranes. Together with the new service launched today, this investment further enhances the unique range and frequency of services available at Felixstowe giving port users greater choice and more opportunities to strip carbon from their supply chains.”

ENDS

28th August 2015
GB Railfreight thanks the generosity of staff and customers as Charity Railtour raises record amount for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research

GB Railfreight today [28 August] thanked the generosity of its staff and customers as they announced that the company raised a record amount for blood cancer charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research on the second of two Charity Railtours run this year, making it the most successful single charity event in the company’s history.

Over 30 GBRf staff were involved in event preparations and organisation of both trains, but a special thanks goes to Dale Williams, Richard Owen, Richard Pinker, Paul Taylor, for making this happen.

Following on from the first charity charter which ran in July and raised almost £10,000, the second Railtour took place on 9th August 2015, and raised £21,170 for the charity as part of a year-long fundraising effort, which has so far raised in excess of £55,000.

Running under the name of ‘The Noah’s Arc’, GBRf ran the charity charter train journey for enthusiasts, between Glasgow and Crewe, leaving the Scottish city at 0942 and arriving at Crewe at 2059.

During the journey, the guests on board took part in fundraising collections, an on-board raffle, and even enjoyed a specially brewed beer, the proceeds from which all went to the charity. The event was run by GBRf staff who had all volunteered to work in their own time and on a "not-for-profit" basis.

Locomotives used for the event included two Class 47s between Glasgow and Newcastle, two Class 66s between Newcastle and Doncaster, and two Class 20s between Doncaster and Crewe.

The charter train forms part of the freight operator’s year long fundraising efforts for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, which has included previous charter trains across the UK, marathon runs, quiz nights, dress down days and many other events.

In September, members of the GBRf team are doing a charity skydive, the Three Peaks Challenge and a 3-day cycle ride in the north of England. To donate please visit https://www.justgiving.com/GB-Railfreight/.

Jeanette Smith, Business Support Manager at GB Railfreight, said:

“It goes without saying that we are over the moon with all the effort our staff and their families put in each and every year to raise funds for our nominated charities.  This year is no exception, but when the team who ran this charter provided me with the final figure raised on this event, it was mind blowing.

“It is such a motivating and encouraging experience that everyone gets together in their spare time to do this and it does certainly reflect on their commitment to GBRf. Each year we have a target for our charity and this has far exceeded our expectations, so a big thank you to each and everyone involved.  We are also pleased that our other staff charters added to this success with additional funds.  Well done!”

Keri Wyatt, Regional Manager for Scotland at Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, said:

“We want to thank all of the kind staff, many of who worked over their own time to support the events over the weekend, those who organised the events, and the staff and customers who attended and donated so generously. We are truly grateful to every single one of you.

“Seeing carriage after carriage of a 1940’s train full of happy staff, customers and families waving Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research flags and enjoying a fantastic day out, is a memory that I will treasure and I hope all those who were on board will too.”

03rd August 2015
GB Railfreight supports growth of UK construction sector as it doubles gypsum contract

GB Railfreight yesterday (2nd August) ran its first train for Siniat, as part of a new five-year contract to transport gypsum to the plasterboard producer’s factories in Portbury and Ferrybridge.

Locomotive 66731 departed West Burton Power station at 16.00, arriving at Royal Portbury Dock, Bristol, at 22.59.

In September 2014, the rail freight operator won a short-term contract with Siniat to transport gypsum between West Burton and Portbury, operating four trains per week and using one box wagon set.

GBRf will continue to operate this flow from 1st August, but will more than double its freight operations for Siniat as GBRf will also now take over running six trains per week from Cottam to Ferrybridge, involving a second box set.

The award of this contract, including the additional services to Ferrybridge, highlights the effective operations undertaken by GBRf since last September and the important role the company plays in supporting the UK construction supply chain.

John Smith, Managing Director of GBRf, said:

“We have been working closely with Siniat over the last year to ensure that they receive the most effective rail freight solution for gypsum haulage from West Burton to their Portbury factory, and the doubling of our contract demonstrates the success of these operations.

“As an industry, rail freight works hard to support the efficient movement of goods for the UK supply chain and GB Railfreight takes pride in helping to keep this country’s construction sector moving. We look forward to a close working relationship with Siniat over the next five years.” 

Andrea Deakin, Business Unit Gypsum Strategy Manager at Siniat, said:

"As a key supply partner on thousands of construction projects across the UK, we need to ensure that our raw materials arrive on time, and in the right quantity, every single day. GB Railfreight have proved themselves to deliver on their promises and Siniat are very pleased to have signed this new contract with them."

22nd July 2015
GB Railfreight calls on Network Rail to safeguard capacity, not wires, in CP5

GB Railfreight’s Managing Director, John Smith, has today called for Network Rail to safeguard vital four-tracking schemes on the Midland Main Line for CP5.

Following the recent Government announcement of a review of Network Rail and its CP5 programme, concerns have been expressed over delayed electrification plans to both the MML and TransPennine routes.

In contrast, in a letter published in Issue 779 of RAIL Magazine today (22nd July 2015), Mr Smith welcomes the Government’s announcement, provided key capacity enhancements are safeguarded.

“If a delay to these electrification programmes is accompanied by continued investment in CP5 capacity enhancements – particularly on the MML – then I welcome the Government’s announcement. It is capacity that is important, not wires above the tracks.”

In particular, Mr Smith identifies two schemes currently set out in CP5 as critical – the four-tracking from Kettering to Corby, and from Bedford to just north of Kettering.

In terms of the latter, he writes: “The combination of stopping and non-stopping passenger services is a major constraint for freight paths. Four-tracking this route would tackle many of the bottlenecks along the line and cater for future freight and passenger growth. This is far more valuable in the short-term than overhead wires.”

Mr Smith has also publicly called for a re-evaluation of timetabling for the MML in order to free up more freight paths, stating: “industry markets fluctuate and timetabling must be regularly updated to reflect that.”

The letter can be read in full below:

-------------------------------

It is capacity that is important, not wires above the tracks

Political, industry and media figures alike have voiced their concerns over the delayed electrification plans announced in the Transport Secretary’s speech to the Commons last week.

While I can see the benefits both the Midland Main Line (MML) and TransPennine electrification plans will bring to passenger and freight services, I think people are looking at this incorrectly.

If a delay to these electrification programmes is accompanied by continued investment in CP5 capacity enhancements – particularly on the MML – then I welcome the Government’s announcement. It is capacity that is important, not wires above the tracks.

There are CP5 projects still in place that will provide more extensive capacity improvements in the short-medium term. Two schemes that are particularly important are the four tracking from Kettering to Corby and from Bedford to just north of Kettering.

Take the line to the north of Bedford, for example. The combination of stopping and non-stopping
passenger services is a major constraint for freight paths. So is the mixture of four, three and two-track alignments. Four-tracking this route would tackle many of the bottlenecks along the line and cater for future freight and passenger growth. This is far more valuable in the short-term than overhead wires.

The Secretary of State has made it clear that further changes will be made to fundamental CP5 projects. As the incoming Sir Peter Hendy and Dame Colette Bow develop their proposals for better investment in and operations of the rail improvement programme, it is vital that capacity enhancements such as four-tracking plans are taken forward to safeguard freight services.

Another policy I would publically call for is a re-evaluation of timetabling for the MML, in order to free up more freight paths. In RAIL’s Issue I775, GBRf’s very own Phil Amos described the restrictions that exist on our services for Aggregate Industries. It needs to be recognised that industry markets fluctuate and timetabling must be regularly updated to reflect that.

With Network Rail due to report on CP5 projects in the autumn, let’s put electrification to one side and urge the infrastructure provider to safeguard these key capacity enhancement projects to cater for short-term freight and passenger growth.

-------------------------

03rd July 2015
GB Railfreight and Aggregate Industries celebrate extension of Bardon Hill Quarry with locomotive naming

GB Railfreight and Aggregate Industries yesterday [2nd July] named locomotive number 66711 ‘Sence’ at a ceremony at Aggregate Industries’ Bardon Hill Quarry in Coalville, Leicestershire.

‘Project Sence’ is the project name given to the new extension to Bardon Hill Quarry because the source of the River Sence lies just to the north of the new quarry. This extension will secure the life of the quarry for the next 40 years, safeguarding onsite jobs and delivering construction materials for the UK.

Bardon Hill Quarry is an important rail-linked quarry. It produces on average 3 million tonnes of crushed rock each year, with around one third distributed by rail. GB Railfreight runs five flows a day, five days a week from the quarry taking the stone to handling sites in Sheffield and London.

Proceedings commenced at 10:45 and saw speeches from GB Railfreight’s Managing Director, John Smith, Aggregate Industries’ Regional Director, Colin Parke, and Aggregate Industries’ Director of Aggregates and Cementitious Materials Division, Philippe Frenay, This was followed by the plaque reveal itself, undertaken by school children from the local Belvoirdale Primary School.

Earlier this year, GBRf officially announced that it had signed a five-year deal with Aggregate Industries, to transport aggregates, such as sand and stone, from AI quarries to various depots and handling sites across the UK.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“GB Railfreight is honoured to rededicate one of our locomotives to celebrate ‘Project Sence’ and the important role the extension of Bardon Hill Quarry will play in sustaining the future of quarrying in Leicestershire. It signifies the close working relationship we have with Aggregate Industries and is an important part of the growing aggregate operations we run across the UK.”

Philippe Frenay, Director of Aggregates and Cementitious Materials Division at Aggregate Industries, said:

“Last year we transported almost a million tonnes of aggregate from Bardon Hill by rail. That’s around a third of our total production for the year. If we’d had to rely on trucks to deliver this stone, we’d have used in excess of 30,000 of them. Transporting by rail means that we can keep lorries off the roads, making our highways safer, cleaner, less congested and more environmentally friendly for the people of Britain. The dedication, professionalism and experience of John and the GB Railfreight team have proven invaluable and we look forward to many successful years working together.”

05th June 2015
GB Railfreight’s ‘Yeoman Highlander’ makes first public run as it returns to UK service

GB Railfreight’s locomotive 59 003, named the ‘Yeoman Highlander’, today (5th June) made its first public run on the UK rail network since its repatriation from Germany last year.

Operating on the heritage West Somerset Railway line, locomotive 59 003 left Bishops Lydeard at 11:55 and made the 20.5 miles (33.0 km) journey to Minehead, arriving at 13:10 where it is taking part in the weekend Mixed Traction Diesel Gala.

Representatives from GBRF, Electro-Motive Diesel (original manufacturers), Arlington Fleet (UK Conversion) and Heavy Haul Power International (previous owners) attended a small re-dedication ceremony at Minehead to commemorate the return of the locomotive into UK service.

The Yeoman Highlander was purchased by GBRf due to its heavy haul capability. It can be used to shift anything from stone aggregate to oil tankers.

This once again affirms the company’s commitment to not only growing UK rail freight, but also boosting the supply chain across the various sectors. British companies will now be able to benefit from a locomotive that has successfully hauled coal trains in Germany for the last 15-20 years.

John Smith, Managing Director at GB Railfreight, said:

“Following the successful test run from Eastleigh to Guildford last week, today’s run of the 59003 on the West Somerset Railway is testament to all the hard work that’s been put in modifying the locomotive for UK use. As I’ve previously stated, the Highlanders’ heavy haul capabilities are a great addition to GBRf’s fleet and will be used on flows across the UK so that we can continue to deliver the best service for our customers.”

14th May 2015
GB Railfreight operating coal services for Drax until 2017

GB Railfreight has announced that it has signed a contract with Drax Power Ltd to run coal services to the power generator’s power station in Selby, North Yorkshire, for a further three years.

Coal will be transported from Hunterston Port Bulk Terminal in Ayshire and the Port of Blyth, with the freight operator continuing to use its 101.6 tonne coal hopper wagons and its Class 66 locomotives for these services.

This contract renewal signifies the confidence Drax has in the level and flexibility of services offered by GBRf.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“We’re delighted that Drax have decided to extend our coal services contract by three years. It’s testament to the close and efficient working relationship we’ve developed over the last few years and we will strive to continue offering optimum services into the Selby power station. With the doubling of carbon tax last month, this is a difficult time for the coal haulage market and we hope the Government re-evaluates its position on the tax and allows for a softer landing for the market in the medium to long-term.”

27th April 2015
GB Railfreight celebrates relationship with Hitachi Rail Europe by naming Class 66 locomotive

Melton Mowbray, April 27th, 2015 – GB Railfreight today celebrated its relationship with Hitachi Rail Europe by naming one its Class 66 locomotives ‘Inspiration Delivered’ at Network Rail’s Rail Innovation Development Centre (RIDC, formerly known as Old Dalby).

Locomotive 66751 was named ‘Inspiration Delivered’ in collaboration with Hitachi Rail Europe and in recognition of the innovation and reliability of Hitachi Rail Europe’s business.

The naming plaque was unveiled by John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, and Andy Rogers, Projects Director at Hitachi Rail Europe, and was witnessed by representatives from the Department for Transport, Agility Trains, Network Rail, Virgin Trains East Coast and First Great Western.

Locomotive 66751 will be used as a dedicated resource to haul Hitachi Rail Europe’s Class 800 pre-series train for the InterCity Express Programme (IEP) between RIDC and the East Coast Main Line.

The naming ceremony also signifies the commitment GB Railfreight has to supporting Hitachi Rail Europe’s testing programme.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“We’re delighted to be supporting Hitachi Rail Europe with its testing programme for IEP. This ceremony highlights our commitment to the project, and the name “Inspiration Delivered” successfully reflects the wider innovation and reliability of Hitachi Rail Europe’s business. We aim to carry out the testing effectively and support Hitachi Rail Europe in its delivery of IEP.”

Andy Rogers, Projects Director from Hitachi Rail Europe, said:

“This is a proud moment for Hitachi Rail Europe to have this Class 66 locomotive named after Hitachi Rail Europe’s values, reflecting our expertise in innovation and on time delivery.”

Andy goes on to say;

“We would like to thank all our industry partners and key stakeholders for their support today and we look forward to inviting them all to the opening ceremony of the Hitachi Rail Europe Newton Aycliffe Rail Vehicle Manufacturing Facility very soon.”

ENDS

22nd April 2015
GB Railfreight celebrates rugby success with locomotive naming at Northampton Saints

GB Railfreight, GRS Roadstone and Northampton Saints today (22 April 2015) celebrated the club’s recent success in the Aviva premiership by naming one of the rail freight company’s Class 66 locomotives “Northampton Saints”.

The locomotive is being named to celebrate the Saints’ most consistent run of success in over 60 years, which has included nine cup finals in seven years and the 2014 Aviva Premiership and European Challenge Cup titles.

The ceremony took place at the Wellingborough Railhead in Northampton, leased by GRS Roadstone, and near to Franklin’s Gardens – Northampton Saints’ ground.

GB Railfreight’s Managing Director John Smith was joined by GRS Roadstone’s Chairman Martin Hill, the Saint’s Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder, Club Captain Dylan Hartley, Coach Dorian West and first team players including George North.

The rededicated locomotive “Northampton Saints”, number 66 754, was one of the 21 new Class 66s that GB Railfreight purchased from Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) as part of its largest ever investment in locomotives. The diesel locomotive is used throughout the UK on a whole range of different freight services.

John Smith, MD of GB Railfreight, said:

“With only a few games left to play, it has been another exciting season for the Saints. We thought a great way to celebrate would be to rename one of our Class 66s after them - the first time in history that a train has been named after a rugby club.

"The locomotive will continue to haul freight services across the country but now it will also do the important job of celebrating one of our country’s top rugby clubs at the same time.”

Jim Mallinder, Director of Rugby, said: 
                                                                                
“We’re honoured that GB Railfreight and GRS Roadstone have made the decision to name a locomotive after Northampton Saints. It is not something that happens all that often, especially for a rugby club, and is something that we can be proud of.”

Martin Hill, Chair of GRS Roadstone, said:

“GRS have had the pleasure of working closely and successfully with GB Railfreight for many years and we are sponsors of the Saints, which has brought us and our customers’ lots of enjoyment. This is why it is a real honour to be a part of today's naming ceremony.”


ENDS

20th February 2015
GB Railfreight is named Operator of the Year at the UK Rail Industry Awards 2015

GB Railfreight was last night named as Operator of the Year at the annual UK Rail Industry Awards 2015.

At a ceremony attended by industry decision-makers and the supply chain, the company picked up the prestigious award for Operator of the Year beating off stiff competition from three passenger rail operators in the category shortlist.

The award recognises GB Railfreight’s substantial achievements over the past year. In 2013-14, the company’s turnover exceeded £100m for the first time. Using innovative and bespoke solutions, technological advancements and capital investments, GB Railfreight has been able to improve performance levels and optimise outcomes for its customers.

GB Railfreight was awarded the prize by a 21-strong independent judging panel from across the industry. 

The UK Rail Industry Awards are run and organised by Rail Technology Magazine and entries are open to anyone working within or supplying to the UK rail industry. This is the second year of the awards, with the ceremony held at Battersea Evolution in London on 19th February 2015. 

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“GB Railfreight is really proud to have won the award for Operator of the Year. It is testament to the hard work and dedication of over 650 members of our team in offices and depots across the country. It has been a huge year for us and I want to extend my gratitude to every single one of them.

“The award is also an important recognition of the rail freight industry, which works around the clock to deliver for customers and keep the UK economy moving”. 

ENDS

17th February 2015
GB Railfreight boosts rail services business with Serco Caledonian Sleeper contract

GB Railfreight (Eurotunnel Group) today announced that it has signed a 15-year contract with Serco to provide train drivers and traction for its Caledonian Sleeper franchise. This contract will provide GBRf around £100 million in revenues over 15 years.

Due to commence on the 1st April 2015, GBRf will be providing train drivers and traction for six night services southbound and six night haulage services northbound per week, from Sunday to Friday. These services will be operating on both the Lowland Sleeper route, between Euston and Edinburgh and Glasgow, and the Highland Sleeper route between Euston and Fort William, Aberdeen and Inverness.

From the beginning of the contract, four refurbed class 92s purchased thanks to Groupe Eurotunnel will be used on the electrified routes south of Edinburgh and Glasgow. North of Edinburgh, the company is planning to utilise six class 73/9s from October 2015, which are currently undergoing work at Wabtec’s facility in Loughborough. In the meantime, it will be operating class 47s, on hire from Harry Needle Railroad Company (HNRC).

This contract is a significant development for GBRf, highlighting its intentions for growth in the rail services market. With heavy investments in both traction and driver training, it’s another example of the freight operator’s approach to offering bespoke services that target the specific customer’s needs.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said: “GB Railfreight are delighted to announce that we will be supporting Serco with train drivers and traction on their Caledonian Sleeper franchise. We’ve been working closely with the company in putting together a strategy that would work best for them on these given routes, and have invested in the appropriate rolling stock and training to make this strategy effective. We hope to build on this relationship over the next 15 years and ensure that passengers receive the optimum service.”

Serco’s Managing Director for the Caledonian Sleeper, Peter Strachan said, “GBRf are one of our key partners on the Caledonian Sleeper franchise. Together, we have worked closely to develop a traction strategy for the lifetime of the franchise which takes the service from the 1st April through to the introduction of the new trains in 2018 and beyond.  GBRf have extensive experience in the rail services market and we looking forward to working together.”

06th January 2015
GB Railfreight trebles aggregates work with Aggregate Industries contract

GB Railfreight yesterday (5th January) ran its first train for Aggregates Industries (AI) , as part of a five-year deal to transport aggregates, such as sand and stone, from AI quarries to various depots and handling sites across the UK.

Locomotive 66714, identification 6M28, left Croft Quarry at 23:15 on Monday, 5th January, and arrived in Neasden Freight Terminal at 05:56 on Tuesday, 6th January. 

The multi-millon pound contract involves GB Railfreight running five trains a day, five days a week, from Bardon Hill, Croft, Neath, Avonmouth, Shrewsbury and the Isle of Grain to the following locations:

• Colnbrook
• Harlow Mill
• Angerstein
• Neaden
• Purley
• Tinsley
• Theale
• Brentford
• Bow West

This is a significant development for the freight operator in aggregates rail freight, as it almost trebles the work it is currently undertaking in the industry.

GB Railfreight has invested over £50m in rolling stock, both locomotives and wagons, over the past year, and has significantly increased its operating efficiency through a host of technological innovations. This contract is testament to the operator’s desire to support the supply chain and promote the wider construction and building materials sector across the UK.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said: “We have recently been looking at expanding our aggregates business across the UK, because we believe we have the team and fleet available to deliver optimum solutions in the area. This five-year contract with Aggregate Industries is a key milestone in this progression, trebling our workflows, and we are delighted to be working with such a prestigious name in supporting the construction sector.”

Simon Blake, Aggregate Industries General Manager, said: “We are pleased to have secured the services of GB Railfreight for the next five years. We rely on a reliable service and a committed team to support our rail distribution and GB Railfreight have shown they can provide both. We hope to harness their ambition and to grow our business alongside theirs with further traffic movements and services.”

08th December 2014
GB Railfreight and Electro-Motive Diesel celebrate Class 66 project with locomotive naming, as third batch arrives on UK soil

GB Railfreight and Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) today (8 December) celebrated the important work undertaken on their project to construct 21 new Class 66s for the freight operator’s fleet by naming locomotive number 66753.

In proceedings at Electro-Motive Diesel Ltd.’s Doncaster Roberts Road depot, which opened one year ago, John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, and Brian Edwards, Vice President of Sales, Locomotive Service Operations & Customer Performance at Progress Rail Services Corporation & EMD, spoke about the importance of the project for what was GB Railfreight’s largest ever investment in new locomotives.

The locomotive was named “EMD Roberts Road", in recognition of the significant investment made by EMDL in the Roberts Road depot that primarily serves GB Railfreight’s daily freight operations.  The name was also meant to honour the EMDL employees at Roberts Road who play such a pivotal role keeping GB Railfreight’s fleet operating at the top of all industry measures.

The naming ceremony came on the day that the third batch of Class 66s start unloading, having arrived from the US into the Port of Newport on Saturday (6th December). The first batch arrived from the US into the Port of Newport in July 2014.

Railfreight and engineering staff were joined at the event by EMDL employees, the Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones, the Chief Executive of Doncaster Council, Jo Miller, and various members of the rail press, exemplifying the significance of the project for the local community, as well as the wider rail freight industry.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:
“It is incredibly fitting that, on the day when the third batch of our Class 66 locomotives start their journey on UK soil, we celebrate the project with the naming of the 66753 locomotive. This has been a project of huge significance to the growth of GB Railfreight – the largest investment in locomotives in our company history – and I want to thank everyone at EMD for making the project such a success”.
 
Scott Garman, EMDL Sales Director, said:
“I am delighted to be a part of this event, celebrating the strong relationship between GBRf and EMD.  It is also gratifying to know that the UK freight operating companies put their faith in the Class 66, which continues to be the most productive, economical and reliable diesel locomotive in the UK.”

Mayor of Doncaster, Ros Jones, said:

“With two of the biggest names in rail, based in the town and linking up on this deal, it is another example of how Doncaster and the rail sector go hand in hand.

“GB Railfreight has invested heavily in these new iconic locomotives which will be customised for the UK at Electro-Motive Diesel’s Doncaster depot with safety systems and radios as well as receiving their final sign off so they can enter use.

“Doncaster is, and always will be, the home of rail, a message that will be promoted by the newly-named ‘EMD Roberts Road’ locomotive as it travels up and down the country. With the national High Speed Rail College coming to the town soon, I have every confidence we will continue to be at the forefront of this expanding industry.”

02nd December 2014
GB Railfreight calls for “intelligent electrification” at Transport Select Committee inquiry hearing

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, yesterday called for “intelligent electrification” at the Transport Select Committee’s future of rail freight oral evidence session.

Whilst recognising that parts of the electric spine are good for rail freight, John Smith called for the prioritisation of certain corridors – such as Birmingham-Nuneaton – in order to encourage the industry to invest in electric locomotives.

The freight-focused evidence session was part of the select committee’s wider inquiry into “Investing in the Railway”, which seeks to scrutinise the impact and deliverability of Network Rail’s current and future investment plans [1].

At the evidence session, GB Railfreight also called for:-

  • The Government to reserve capacity for rail freight.
  • The industry to continue to work together with Network Rail to drive efficiencies.
  • An integrated transport strategy with a long-term vision, rather than piecemeal investments.
  • The Government to consider MSRS grants as a tool that could encourage the growth of rail freight.

GB Railfreight was invited to give oral evidence, having submitted written evidence to the committee [2].

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“At the moment, the majority of electrification schemes in the UK support the passenger network.

“With freight, there are certain markets that suit electric haulage, such as intermodal, but there is a need to prioritise electrifying the routes that serve them.

“Prioritising the electrification of specific strategic corridors, such as Birmingham to Nuneaton, will help incentivise the industry to invest in electric locomotives.

“Intelligent electrification is important if the Government is to encourage the modal freight shift from road to rail.”

12th November 2014
GB Railfreight first Ecofret triple-platform wagons arrive in Doncaster

GB Railfreight has announced that the first two Ecofret triple-platform wagon sets, as part of 17 secured with VTG Rail UK Ltd on a long term lease, will be arriving at its premises in Doncaster International Railport today (12th November 2014).

The two wagons started the journey from Wabtec’s facilities in Kilmarnock at 11.21am, hauled by GBRf’s locomotive 47812, down the West Coast Main Line to Carlisle and then along the Cross Country Route, eventually arriving  in Doncaster at 10.38pm.

The initial batch of frames for these wagons reached Kilmarnock two weeks ago and Wabtec’s engineering team have subsequently been assembling the wagons onto bogies, and commissioning them for operational use. This process will be repeated weekly until mid-January 2015, when the final Ecofret frames will have been delivered to the UK.

These triple-platform wagon sets are designed to maximise the number of 40’ boxes that can be carried, with the outer platforms being able to carry one 40-foot container each, and the inner platform being able to carry either one 40-foot container or two 20-foot containers.

GBRf believes the addition of these wagons to its current fleet is an important development for the company, allowing it to better satisfy its customers’ demands for 40ft boxes from the Port of Felixstowe and make more effective use of capacity.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“GB Railfreight is delighted to announce the arrival of VTG Rail UK Ltd’s first two Ecofret wagons at Doncaster. These will have a significant impact on the services we are able to offer our customers from the Port of Felixstowe, as it will allow us to adapt to the increased demand for 40’ containers. VTG has really revolutionised container transportation with this new wagon and we are looking forward to January 2015, when the final frames arrive.”

10th November 2014
GB Railfreight surpasses 1,000 train loads per week for first time in company’s history

GB Railfreight’s operations reached a significant milestone last week, as the company undertook 1,000 train movements for the first time in its history. In just over 10 years, this is a 1100% increase in train loads per week.

This growth can be attributed to developments in various markets. The infrastructure sector, in particular,  has contributed to this growth as GBRf has doubled its work with Network Rail as a result of greater network flows and rail head treatment services in the southern region.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“I am proud to announce that GB Railfreight has surpassed 1,000 train loads per week for the first time in our history. It is testament to all of the all the hard work by GB Railfreight staff  across the company, throughout the last 15 years.

“This is an overwhelming achievement for everybody involved and it will spur us on into 2015  to continue to deliver optimum service levels for our  customers and to help keep the UK economy moving.”

07th November 2014
GB Railfreight calls for more work to be done to assess the terminal needs of London’s aggregate market

In a submission to the Mayor of London’s consultation on the London Infrastructure Plan 2050, GB Railfreight  has called for further evaluation of aggregates markets across the Capital, in order to address actual and prospective growing market demand and assess where new or expanded aggregate freight terminals are warranted.

These infrastructural developments will play an important role in facilitating the Government’s freight modal shift from road to rail and support growth across UK manufacturing and construction.

In addition, GB Railfreight is also recommending that the Mayor:

1. Considers regulatory options that impose rail-use requirements on operations at London freight terminals.
2. Evaluates various opportunities for improving infrastructure capacity on the North London Line, South London Line and Midland Main Line.

The London Infrastructure Plan 2050, commissioned by the Mayor of London, seeks to set out London’s strategic infrastructure requirements to 2050. Given the projected population increases in the Capital, the infrastructure needs of various sectors, including public transport, energy, water and waste, are being assessed and key priorities and approach methodologies put in place to answer them.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“With two years left to run on the Capital’s landbank of permitted aggregate reserves and congestion increasing on the North London and South London Lines, the industry and the Mayor of London need to work together to support the growth of rail freight in London.

“Rail freight is a sustainable and efficient way of transporting aggregates around the Capital in order to build the infrastructure projects required to boost economic growth and will help to take lorries off London’s roads.

“The London Infrastructure Plan 2050 is a step in the right direction and GB Railfreight welcomes its recognition that freight plays an important role in transporting products and materials through London. GB Railfreight looks forward to working with the Mayor of London to maximise the potential of freight in London."

04th November 2014
GB Railfreight turns its gaze towards Europe in Channel Tunnel deal

GB Railfreight ran its first rail service through the Channel Tunnel for Europorte France (EPF) yesterday (3rd November, 2014), on behalf of John G Russell, transporting containers from Dourges (France) to Barking (UK).

Locomotives 92032 and 92028 undertook the second leg of the journey, departing from Calais Frethun at 23.20 and arriving at Barking International Rail Freight Terminal on 4th November at 00.17. The locomotives are two of the company’s 16 Class 92s, purchased from Europorte earlier this year, that will be used on this route.

Acting as a supplier to EPF, contractors on the scheme, the deal will see GBRf undertake a hook-and haul service on the Frethun to Barking HS1-exchange portion five times per week.

John G Russell, the Glasgow-based UK multimodal logistics provider, has procured EPF to run services for its customers, 2XL and Novatrans, over a three-year period. It will involve the transport of products for Procter & Gamble and other manufacturers.

This is an important moment for both GBRf and EPF. For GBRf, this represents the next step in its plans for future growth of international traffic, as well as the development towards the use of electric haulage on the UK network. These are both aims that have been at the forefront of the company agenda, since it purchased the Class 92s.

From an EPF perspective, it signifies progression in the utilisation of a route that achieves European capability with delivery right to the outskirts of London. Furthermore, it exemplifies efficiencies that can be gained from cross-Channel rail, compared to maritime routes, in terms of reducing unnecessary ground handling and limiting carbon emissions.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said: “We’re delighted to be working closely with Europorte France and John G Russell in developing cross-Channel rail. Following the procurement of 16 Class 92s back in February, it’s been the company’s aim to move into the international market, supporting trade links between the UK and the European mainland. This contract is a sign that we are heading in the right direction. In addition, the utilisation of class 92s on the HS1 line further supports our commitment to sustainable freight transport.”

Kenneth Russell, Director at John G Russell Ltd, said: ““This is the very first short distance train to cross the channel and I’m delighted with the way it’s gone.

“I’d like to thank all the parties involved, especially Europorte, and particularly our customers, who saw the benefits and patiently waited for them to be a reality.

“The round trip between Barking and Lille Dourges has to take place within a tight timeframe, and by achieving a minimum of five rotations each week, we achieve the best asset utilisation to enhance its commercial potential.This new train route is a massive opportunity for us and for companies on both sides of the channel to take advantage of the efficiencies and environmental benefit of rail”.

10th September 2014
Gb Railfreight and Network Rail celebrate work of Cambridge Power Signal Box

GB Railfreight today (10 Sept) celebrated the important work undertaken by Network Rail’s Cambridge Power Signal Box by naming its locomotive 66733 ‘Cambridge PSB’.

In proceedings at Cambridge Station, John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, and Richard Schofield, Route Managing Director at Network Rail, led a tour of the signal box and the station, before unveiling the nameplate in a ceremony on Platform 6.

Opened in 1984, Cambridge Power Signal Box has served the Fen Line from just north of Stansted to Kings Lynn, as well as the Cross Country route from Manea to Chippenham Junction.

Network Rail has affirmed its commitment to documenting the history and way of life associated with signal boxes across the UK, and this ceremony highlights GB Railfreight’s support in this venture.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said: “Power Signal Boxes have played a key part in the historical development of this country’s railways. Cambridge Power Signal Box, in particular, has served the Cross Country and Fen Line routes well over the past 30 years, and GB Railfreight believed it was important to recognise these accomplishments by naming our 66733 after it.”

Richard Schofield, Network Rail Route Managing Director, said: "Cambridge Power signal box has successfully served the railway for three decades and this is a tribute to the people who have worked in it."

19th August 2014
GB Railfreight brings hardy ‘Yeoman Highlander’ back to the UK

GB Railfreight today (19 August) formally confirmed the purchase of the locomotive 59 003, named ‘Yeoman Highlander’, from German-based Heavy Haul Power International (HHPI).

This will be the first Class 59 to join the GBRf fleet, exemplifying the company’s intention to build its presence in both the aggregates and bulk materials freight markets.

The 59 003 has heavy haul capability and can be subsequently used to shift anything from stone aggregate to oil tankers. Given this power, it will be used on flows across the UK where it is deemed useful and appropriate.

This once again affirms the company’s commitment to not only growing UK rail freight, but also boosting the supply chain across the various sectors. British companies will now be able to benefit from a locomotive that has successfully hauled coal trains in Germany for the last 15-20 years. 

The contract states that the 59 003 will be delivered to the UK at the end of August 2014, ready to put into traffic by December 2014.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“We’re delighted to be bringing the ‘Yeoman Highlander’ back to the UK. The extra power it provides will be of a prime importance for our work in the aggregates market and will allow us to further expand our business in other areas. This will be the first Class 59 to join our fleet, and from December, we hope to have it working on flows across the UK.”

25th July 2014
Selby rail line extension allows GB Railfreight to run longer intermodal freight trains on the network

GB Railfreight attended the opening ceremony of the rail head extension project at Potter Logistics Selby rail terminal on Thursday, July 24th. This was a significant moment for both companies, as it means the site can now accommodate longer intermodal freight trains on the network from the Port of Felixstowe into the terminal.

Construction on the project has involved the extension of the terminals head shunt from 468m to 775m. Large quantities of recycled products were employed on both the civil and rail track elements.

As a result, GB Railfreight will now be able to operate 32-platform trains (610 metres) on MSC contracted services from the Port of Felixstowe later this year. These will be a combination of both Ecofret and FEA wagons, responding to its customers demand for more 40ft container services.

GB Railfreight maintains that, in order for the rail freight industry to take advantage of the growth potential that exists in the intermodal market, there needs to be the right port and inland infrastructure to accommodate development. Improvements at Potter Logistics Selby terminal are a prime example of the private investment needed to promote such infrastructure.

John Smith, Managing Director for GB Railfreight, said: "We are delighted with the investment undertaken by Potter Logistics to extend its head shunt at Selby rail terminal and want to thank them for their commitment and hard work?

"I have reiterated time and time again GBRfs intentions to expand services out of the Port of Felixstowe, and this infrastructural development allows the company to be true to its word. The intermodal freight market has the potential to grow, but in addition to work undertaken by companies such as Potter Logistics, we need the Government to further incentivise strategic investment from the rest of the private sector in both inland and port infrastructure.

"Once we start using our new Ecofret wagons in late 2014, we will be operating the longest intermodal freight trains on the network, indicative of the innovation and drive for productivity that lies at the heart not just of the MSC service, but every service we offer. We hope similar infrastructural developments across the country allow us to continue to grow into 2015."

21st July 2014
Sir Patrick Stewart unveils GB Railfreight 'Huddersfield Town' Locomotive

Last week, Sir Patrick Stewart unveiled a new locomotive named after Huddersfield Town in a special VIP ceremony.

The world famous star of stage and screen and lifelong Huddersfield Town fan visited Huddersfield train station to unveil the name plate on the side of the GB Railfreight locomotive alongside John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, in front of a guests including the Mayor of Kirklees Cllr Ken Smith; World Cup winner Ray Wilson; MP Jason McCartney; Huddersfield Towns Honorary President David Taylor and former Manager Peter Jackson.

The naming ceremony on Thursday [17th July] continues a proud history of Huddersfield Town appearing across the railway network, as the Club was one of a select number of football clubs to grace the side of a B17 steam locomotive from the 1930s to the 1960s; a name plate from the original Huddersfield Town is still in possession of the Club.

This new locomotive naming was the brainchild of Town fan Pip Dunn, the editor of Railways Illustrated Magazine. Pip contacted Huddersfield Town and, after receiving the go-ahead from Towns Board of Directors, he took the idea to GB Railfreight.

Having assembled at the Clubs PPG Canalside training complex in the morning, the guests were taken to Huddersfield Railway Stations platform five for the naming ceremony, where Pip started proceedings before handing to John Smith from GB Railfreight.

After Towns Chief Executive Nigel Clibbens said a few words, Sir Patrick pulled the cord to reveal the Huddersfield Town nameplate on the side of the locomotive number 66738.

Huddersfield Town Chief Executive Nigel Clibbens commented:

The Club is delighted that GB Railfreight has given this honour to Huddersfield Town. Its with pride that the name to grace a locomotive once again after a 50 year absence. Were really looking forward to seeing the locomotive haul trains not only through Yorkshire, but across the whole of England.

Its wonderful that in a World Cup year we could share this moment with our very own legendary World Cup winner Ray Wilson and to have the locomotive unveiled by a lifelong, ardent Huddersfield Town fan in Sir Patrick Stewart makes it extra special.

This event encapsulates everything that is good about Huddersfield Town off-the-field in our aim to be a focal point in the community. Its fantastic that we could share this afternoon with key figures from the Clubs history such as Peter Jackson and Andy Booth and hopefully its something that Town supporters can take pride in too.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:-

"GB Railfreight was honoured to become part of Huddersfield Town's history on the railway network. The football club is clearly hugely significant to local people in Huddersfield and we are pleased to support their work as our 66738 locomotive travels across the Yorkshire region. Despite my firm allegiance to Sunderland FC, this was a great day for everybody involved".

11th July 2014
“Momentous day” for GB Railfreight as first Class 66 locos arrive on UK soil

Today, GB Railfreight welcomed the arrival of the first batch of its new Class 66 locomotives from the U.S. into the Port of Newport. They represent the first batch of an order of 21 Class 66s from Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) and are part of? the companys largest ever? investment in new locomotives. The next two batches will be arriving on UK shores over the next six months.

The five locomotives arrived at the Port at 2200 on Thursday, July 10th, before being unloaded and coupled together again at 0800 on the morning of Friday, July 11th. This process should last between two to three days, after which they will then be transported to EMDs maintenance depot in Doncaster.

The purchase of 21 Class 66 diesel locomotives will take GB Railfreights current Class 66 fleet to 71. They have been secured ahead of the change in EU emissions legislation which, from January 2015, sees new regulations coming into force that could impact the ability to obtain compliant and affordable locomotives.

The company hopes this procurement drive will assist in doubling turnover over the next three years, supporting the creation of more jobs and encouraging growth into new freight sectors.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

Today is a momentous day for GB Railfreight. This first batch is five of 21 new Class 66 locomotives that will be arriving at the Port of Newport over the next 9-12 months.

As a company, we have had an exceptional year. These locomotives will allow us to grow our business further in 2015 and continue to provide our customers with the optimum level of service, signifying the confidence we have in the development of the UK rail freight sector and helping us keep the UK economy moving.?

We have been working closely with EMD on this project and I want to thank them for all their hard work and dedication in reaching this point. We hope to continue this relationship throughout the rest of the manufacturing and delivery process.

Billy Ainsworth, Progress Rail and EMD President and Chief Executive Officer, said:

I am extremely pleased that after an exhaustive search of different options available, GBRf selected the EMD Class 66 locomotive as it provides optimal product life cycle cost through its durability, reliability and sustainability. GBRfs decision reinforces EMDs position as the leading locomotive provider in the markets we serve.

03rd June 2014
GB Railfreight run first train on significant new North Doncaster Chord

Earlier this week, GB Railfreight was honoured to be the first operating company to officially use the newly-constructed £45 million North Doncaster Chord. Locomotive 66751 was the first loco over the new chord, which was recently completed by Network Rail.

The Chord is a significant development for both rail freight and rail passenger services in the North East. It is a 3.2km twin track railway between the Skellow line and Askern Line, allowing freight trains to travel up and over the East Coast Main Line (ECML), rather than have to connect to the high-speed rail link. This removes a major pinch point on the ECML, improving the reliability of passenger services, and as part of a wider programme of investment in the ECML, it helps to improve capacity for passenger services.

It also improves the speed and frequency of freight trains travelling between Humber ports and the Aire Valley power stations. They can now avoid having to run on the ECML for up to 14 miles to traverse between the destinations, removing the restrictions posed by other operators, infrastructure constraints and network capability.

GB Railfreights Loco 66751 ran on the railway flyover on Sunday 1st June 2014, at 1130am. Being the first operating company on the Chord signifies GBRfs commitment to improving rail freight connections on the network and creating a more sustainable method of transporting goods. Back in March 2014, the company ran the first test train on the Ipswich Chord, a similar Government project intended to free up capacity on the network, once again emphasising its support for growth across the industry and wider economy.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

We are delighted to be the first rail freight operator to run on this important new North Doncaster Chord. Its a great example of a new Government infrastructure project that brings benefits to both the freight and passenger industries, improving capacity on the East Coast Mine Line as well as Trans Pennine links between ports and power stations in the region. It also signifies GB Railfreights intentions to support the Governments policies around sustainability and more carbon-friendly rail transport.


Notes to editors:-

  1. GB Railfreight is one of the UK's leading rail freight companies. It operates around 650 trains a week in the UK and is the main transporter of coal on the rail network and one of only two rail freight companies with regular contracts to move biomass. For further information about GB Railfreight please go to http://www.gbrailfreight.com/about-us/.
  2. Further details of the North Doncaster Chord can be found here.
  3. Locomotive 66751 carried representatives from GBRf , Regional Risk Manager Stuart Comer and Train Manager Mark Rowley, as well as Network Rails Shift Manager from the controlling Doncaster Signal Box, Ian Hewitt.
  4. John Smith is available for interviews. For media enquiries and interview requests please contact James Clark on 020 3397 0148 or james.clark@westbournecoms.com.
14th May 2014
GB Railfreight supports new report showing the vital contribution that rail freight makes to the UK economy

Today sees the publication of a report into the economic, environmental and social benefits to come from rail freight. The report, "Keeping the Lights on and the Traffic Moving", based on analysis by KPMG, is published by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).

In response John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight and a member of the RDG, said:

“This report reiterates the vital contribution that rail freight makes to the UK economy: delivering goods, helping to build new infrastructure, servicing our railways and removing lorries from the roads.

“The opportunity is there to double the size of the sector over the next three years and we are committed to delivering this growth.

“At a time when the roads are congested and the Government is investing heavily in our railways – including HS2 – rail freight is a sustainable answer to keeping the UK’s economy moving for decades to come.

The report can be downloaded online here: http://www.raildeliverygroup.com/wp-content/uploads/file/Keeping%20the%20lights%20on%20and%20the%20traffic%20moving.pdf

08th May 2014
GB Railfreight improves services with large investment in innovative wagons

GB Railfreight has today announced that it has secured a five-year lease with VTG Rail UK Ltd for 18 of its new Ecofret triple-platform wagons.

These triple-platform wagons are designed to maximise the number of 40’ boxes that can be carried within a given train length, with the outer platforms being able to carry one 40-foot container each, and the inner platform being able to carry either one 40-foot container or two 20-foot containers.

This financially significant lease order follows a successful 18-month trial by GBRf of one of VTG’s Ecofret triple-platform wagons. Delivery for the other 17 triple wagon sets will commence from the beginning of November 2014 with the first 12 being delivered across a six week period at a rate of two per week. The last five units will commence delivery from January 2015 onwards.

GBRf believes the addition of these wagons to its current fleet is an important development for the company, and it allows GBRf to once again respond to its clients' demands.

40ft boxes are continuing to dominate the deep-sea container market and, as a result of the large investment that has taken place at the Port of Felixstowe, customers have increased their demand for these types of container. New Ecofret wagons will allow GBRf to better satisfy this demand and make more effective use of capacity.

The wagons are constructed on track-friendly bogies, which further cements the freight operator’s support for long-term sustainability of the UK’s rail network.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“GB Railfreight is delighted to announce the lease of 18 new Ecofret triple-platform wagons from VTG Rail UK Ltd. VTG has really revolutionised container transportation with this new model and it will allow ourselves and the rest of the rail freight industry to provide greater and more efficient services for our customers.

“The growing dominance of 40ft containers in the deep-sea market, infrastructure improvements at the Port of Felixstowe and changing train length regulations all mean that freight transportation demand is changing in the UK. We want to make sure we adapt to this changing environment and improve our productivity.

“Nevertheless, the freight industry as a whole still needs support from the Government if it is to effectively capitalise on these developments. Further improvements to the Felixstowe-Nuneaton route is particularly vital if the maximum level of service efficiency is to be achieved.”

Rob Brook, Managing Director of VTG Rail UK Ltd, said:

“VTG is particularly pleased that the award winning benefits that Ecofret brings to the maritime container freight market have been recognised by such a key player in this sector as GB Railfreight.

“Ecofret has been recognised as having the potential to change the economics of the UK’s intermodal container rail freight market and is a prime example of the type of innovation needed if we, as an industry, are to meet the increasing demand predicted in this key sector whilst making the most efficient use of the network capacity available.

“We look forward to building on our already substantial relationship with GB Railfreight, and to work with them to meet the demands of their intermodal customers using the Ecofret, the most efficient and environmentally friendly wagon available in this market.”

01st April 2014
GB Railreight welcomes start of Control Period 5

Today sees the start of Control Period 5, a five-year term during which Network Rail will spend and invest £38bn in our national rail network . It comes on the back of the opening of the Ipswich Chord yesterday, a £59m Government project that will boost operations from the  Port of Felixstowe to the West Midlands. In response to these developments, John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“GB Railfreight welcomes the start of Control Period 5 today. It will bring £38bn of much-needed investment to the national rail network, improving capacity, train journey times and operator reliability.

“Network Rail has affirmed that removing freight from road onto rail is a central part of its policy over the next five years. Planned signal remodelling and the introduction of the a double-track on the Felixstowe – Nuneaton route is certainly going to facilitate this modal shift, as a result of better coordinated operations and capacity enhancements.

“GBRf is looking forward to working with Network Rail to ensure that rail infrastructure, and specifically rail freight infrastructure, gets the support it needs to drive growth in the industry, and we will continue to offer innovative solutions to our customers that maximises this growth”


Notes to editors:-

1.        GB Railfreight is one of the UK's leading rail freight companies. It operates around 650 trains a week in the UK and is the main transporter of coal on the rail network and the only rail freight company with regular contracts to move biomass. For further information about GB Railfreight please go to http://www.gbrailfreight.com/welcome-first-gbrfhtml/p_1/.]
2.        Further details on the developments planned for Control Period 5 can be found here.
3.        John Smith is available for interviews. For media enquiries and interview requests please contact James Clark on 020 3397 0148 or james.clark@westbournecoms.com.

24th March 2014
GB Railfreight runs first test train on Ipswich Chord

Today (24th March), GB Railfreight tested the first freight train on the Ipswich Chord, which is due to open commercially next week (31st March). The project will join the Great Eastern Mainline to the East Suffolk Line.

The chord forms an important part of Network Rail’s strategic freight network, a programme of investment to improve freight capacity across Britain’s railways. The total cost of the chord was £59m and the project was co-financed by the European Union Trans European Transport Network (TEN-T).

It will allow operators to directly access the Midlands from the Port of Felixstowe without having to go via London, and eliminates the need to change direction at Ipswich goods yard.

This brings significant benefit to the freight industry as capacity is freed up on the network, journey times are reduced and longer trains can be run. As a result, it will support the growth of the Port of Felixstowe.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“GB Railfreight welcomes the opening of the Ipswich Chord and is proud to have run the first freight test train today.

“We thank the Government for investing in the Chord as it represents an important development for the rail freight industry, and allows us to assist the Government in its drive to take lorries off of our road network.

“Being the first company to test trains on the line is testament to our support for the project and reflects our intentions to work with the Government to promote other ambitious developments across the freight network in order to support the growth of rail freight.”


Notes to editors:-

1.        GB Railfreight is one of the UK's leading rail freight companies. It operates around 650 trains a week in the UK and is the main transporter of coal on the rail network and the only rail freight company with regular contracts to move biomass. For further information about GB Railfreight please go to http://www.gbrailfreight.com/welcome-first-gbrfhtml/p_1/.]
2.        Further details of the Ipswich Chord can be found here.
3.        John Smith is available for interviews. For media enquiries and interview requests please contact James Clark on 020 3397 0148 or james.clark@westbournecoms.com.

17th March 2014
GB Railfreight supports new HS2 hub at Crewe

In response to 'HS2 Plus', a report published today by HS2 Ltd's Chairman David Higgins, John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“GB Railfreight welcomes today’s announcement from Sir David Higgins, Chairman of HS2 Ltd, as an important step towards maximising the freight potential from HS2.

“The recommendation that phase 1 for HS2 now extends to a new hub at Crewe has the potential to open up routes for freight trains on the existing network.

““This extension avoids some of the bottlenecks that could’ve occurred on the classic network as a result of the original phase 1 proposals.

“This is good news for the rail freight industry and good news for the UK economy, and I look forward to working with HS2 Ltd to make the most of the opportunity that this presents for the rail freight industry.”

Notes to editors:-

1.        GB Railfreight is one of the UK's leading rail freight companies. It operates around 650 trains a week in the UK and is the main transporter of coal on the rail network and the only rail freight company with regular contracts to move biomass. For further information about GB Railfreight please go to http://www.gbrailfreight.com/welcome-first-gbrfhtml/p_1/.]
2.        The 'HS2 Plus' report can be found here.
3.        John Smith is available for interviews. For media enquiries and interview requests please contact James Clark on 020 3397 0148 or james.clark@westbournecoms.com.

04th March 2014
GB Railfreight takes two gongs at Rail Business Awards

GB Railfreight took home the prestigious Railfreight Excellence prize and the Business Manager of the Year award at the Rail Business Awards 2013, two of the 21 available categories overall.

In front of industry professionals, industry regulators and trade journalists, the company won the first prize for demonstrating overall rail freight business excellence in 2013. Assessed individually by Julian Worth, a long-time strategic adviser on rail freight, and approved by a wider 20-person judging panel, it was judged on a range of criteria, ranging from the development of new services to performance improvements.

In the Rail Business Manager category, GBRf’s Finance Director, David Simons, was awarded the prize for various proven achievements throughout the year. Assessed individually by Tim Hartley, Principal at Odgers Berndtson, and once again approved by the 20-person panel, this included the ability to identify and address key business issues faced by the company and the contribution to new business. David is due to retire later this month, having spent 13 years at GBRf.

In what has been a successful year for GB Railfreight, these prizes build upon the operator’s achievements at the Golden Whistle Awards back in January, when it won the award for the Most Improved Freight Operator, using the Freight Performance Measure (FPM), and the Most Improved Operator, in terms of self-delay minutes.

The Rail Business Awards is Britain’s longest-running industry awards and represents the recognition and celebration of the rail industry’s success and growth. It occurs annually, with this year’s ceremony taking place at the London Hilton Hotel, Park Lane, on 27th February 2014.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“GB Railfreight is delighted to have picked up two prestigious prizes at the 2013 Rail Business Awards. This is representative of all the hard work we’ve put in as a team this past year, as well as the progress we’ve made individually. We’re looking to make 2014 even bigger and this will no doubt drive us forward in our endeavours.”


Notes to editors:-

1.        GB Railfreight is one of the UK's leading rail freight companies. It operates around 650 trains a week in the UK and is the main transporter of coal on the rail network and the only rail freight company with regular contracts to move biomass. For further information about GB Railfreight please go to http://www.gbrailfreight.com/welcome-first-gbrfhtml/p_1/.]
2.        Details of the Rail Business Awards and its various categories can be found here.
3.        John Smith is available for interviews. For media enquiries and interview requests please contact James Clark on 020 3397 0148 or james.clark@westbournecoms.com.

27th February 2014
GB Railfreight calls for more Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges in response to DfT consultation

GB Railfreight has today made a submission to the Department for Transport’s (DfT) consultation on the draft National Networks National Policy Statement (NN NPS). Its primary focus is the creation of a policy agenda that incentivises private investment in Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges (SRFIs) and freight warehouse facilities across the network. These infrastructural developments will play an important role in supporting various rail freight markets, in particular intermodal and aggregates.

In addition, the rail freight operator is also asking for an NN NPS that:
1. Looks beyond just roads and rail and considers infrastructure at the UK’s ports.
2. Evaluates rolling stock policy alongside that of network infrastructure, in order to maximise sustainability and carbon efficiency.
3. Aligns itself with other aspects of the Government’s transport strategy, including nationally significant projects, such as HS2, and local transport infrastructure projects.

The NN NPS sets out the policy agenda against which decisions on applications for nationally significant infrastructure projects on the national road and rail networks are made. It is, therefore, considered vital by rail freight companies and organisations in the formation of a framework that supports the growth of the industry.

GB Railfreight has further submitted a response to a Transport Select Committee inquiry, similarly looking into the effectiveness of the DfT in justifying the need for the NN NPS and its ability to address this need.

10th February 2014
GB Railfreight Acquires New Locos to Support Growth

In order to deliver further growth GB Railfreight has decided to strengthen its existing fleet of locomotives by the procurement of a further 13 Class 66 locomotives from Electro-Motive Diesel Inc. (EMD) and the purchase of 16 Class 92 electric locomotives from its mother company, Europorte, a subsidiary of Groupe Eurotunnel.

On top of the purchase of eight Class 66 locomotives from EMD announced in September last year, this brings the total number of additional locomotives on order for the GB Railfreight fleet to 37.

The company hopes this procurement drive will double turnover over the next three years, which is currently in excess of £100 million a year.

The purchase of 21 Class 66 diesel locomotives will take GB Railfreight’s current Class 66 fleet to 71. They will be delivered by Chicago-based Electro-Motive in late 2014. The locomotives have been secured ahead of the change in EU emissions legislation which, from January 2015, sees new regulations coming into force [1] that could impact the ability to obtain compliant and affordable locomotives.

The 16 Class 92 electric locomotives have been bought from Europorte, a subsidiary of GB Railfreight’s parent company, Groupe Eurotunnel. This type of locomotive was specially designed for traction through the Channel Tunnel. With European Technical Specifications for Interoperability (STI) now applying to the Channel Tunnel, these locomotives can be used on different routes, as they already are for other Class 92 owners. They are the first Class 92 locos in GBRf’s ownership and will form part of the company’s plans for future development of international traffic and electric haulage on the UK rail network.

30th January 2014
GB Railfreight tops the industry with prize for reducing self-delay minutes

GB Railfreight came away with two high-profile awards at the Institution of Railway Operators’ Golden Whistle Awards 2014 last week. The freight operator was not only named the Most Improved Freight Operator for the first three-quarters of 2013/14 (periods 1-9), using the Freight Performance Measure (FPM). It was also given the award for the Most Improved Operator across all networks, in terms of self-delay minutes.

GBRf beat off fellow freight operators to capture the Silver Whistle as the Most Improved Freight Operator. It achieved 75.3% for its Moving Annual Average (MAA). This is 3.5% higher than GBRf’s original MMA target, the only increase of any freight operator on its original target.

The second award for the Most Improved Operator was particularly significant because the competition also included operators from the passenger industry, such as Northern Rail, Virgin Trains and Southeastern. In periods 1-9, GBRf achieved an average of 9 mins 42 secs in self-delays per 100 train kms.

These achievements are another example of the progress GB Railfreight is making as the fastest-growing rail freight operator in the UK. At present, it is working closely with the national rail infrastructure provider, Network Rail, to build on this year’s successes, and will continue to provide its customers with innovative solutions that aim to improve both reliability and punctuality into 2014/15.

07th January 2014
GB Railfreight supports UK manufacturing in contract with Sibelco Europe

GB Railfreight today announced that it has signed a contract with Sibelco Europe to provide freight services for its silica sand product.

The contract states that silica sand will be transported from Sibelco’s quarry in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, to Guardian Industries’ UK plant in Goole, Yorkshire, and Ardagh Group’s UK glass sites in Barnsley and Doncaster. Two trains will be running three days p/wk and one train will run two days p/wk to these locations, along with an occasional Saturday train.

This contract win provides another boost to GB Railfreight’s position in the aggregates market and is endorsed by the company, as part of the significant growth it has experienced these last six months.
It’s also an important example of how the rail freight industry supports UK manufacturing and the supply chain. Guardian Industries will be using the sand to produce windscreens for automotive applications and flat glass for building and commercial applications. Luxembourg-based Ardagh Group will be using it to manufacture glass containers.

GB Railfreight is adamant that it uses innovative solutions to provide the best service and in this partnership, it will be introducing a different mode of train operations on the routes that better suits Sibelco’s needs.

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