New Review Into Rail An Opportunity For Freight, Says GB Railfreight

GB Railfreight welcomes the government’s announcement of a new rail review yesterday (Thursday 20th September), aimed at considering all parts of the UK’s rail network. This must include, however, the rail freight sector, which plays a pivotal role in the delivery of goods, commodities and building materials around the country.

The turmoil created by the recent timetabling issues experienced by passenger services has also negatively impacted freight services. Open access freight companies have not been issued with a December timetable, meaning Network Rail will be improvising essentially. Additionally, there wasn’t appropriate consultation with rail freight operators before the cancellation of timetables, which has placed a burden on the sector.

GB Railfreight is proud of the role that it plays in increasing the productivity of UK plc, from reducing congestion and lowering air pollution by removing lorries from the roads to supplying companies up and down the country with the materials needed to build houses, lay roads and dig tunnels. Any review into the railways must ensure that this part of the sector is allowed to continue to flourish as it has done since privitisation.

Commenting on the review, John Smith, GB Railfreight’s managing director, said:

“Given the role we play, shifting goods worth billions of pounds per year and helping the UK become more productive and sustainable, rail freight expects to play a central role in the discussions around the railways’ future. If we do not, the government and Network Rail risk undermining all the fantastic work we have done since the mid-90s to create a thriving business.

“More than that, we see this as a vital opportunity to ensure the regulatory landscape is most beneficial to rail freight, putting it on a secure footing to grow new routes, open up new markets, and develop new freight terminals. GB Railfreight will be at the forefront of these conversations, leading the way for the industry, and making sure rail is given its due consideration as a freight transportation option now and well into the future.”

GB Railfreight Runs First Commercial Service To IPort Rail

On Tuesday 18th September, GB Railfreight Class 66 locomotive no. 66752, ‘The Hoosier State’ had the privilege of being the first freight train to arrive at the newly-opened iPort Rail inland port in Rossington, Doncaster.

The fully loaded service began its journey on Tuesday morning, departing from Solent Stevedores at 05:07, before arriving at iPort Rail at 14.33 on Tuesday afternoon, where its intermodal cargo was unloaded. New containers were loaded on, and the train departed at 18:04 back to Southampton, a service that will now run five days a week.

Made up of 36 platforms, the arrival marked a milestone as the first commercial service to arrive at the £14m, 30-acre iPort Rail terminal. This new facility provides a state-of-the-art rail freight hub able to accommodate the UK’s longest trains up to six times a day, six days a week. It currently has storage for 1,500 TEU storage containers, plus room for expansion, with each of the reach stackers on site able to lift up to 115 tonnes. Connected via the South Yorkshire Joint Freight Line direct to the East Coast Main Line and the UK national rail network, it has been designed to meet Channel Tunnel (SACTFF) approved secure facility standards for international movements.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“GB Railfreight is absolutely thrilled to be the first commercial service to arrive at the newly-opened iPort Rail facility in Doncaster. Its opening marks a great development for the UK freight industry. The fact the loco went from Solent Stevedores to iPort also shows the excellent relationship we have with the team in Southampton. We look forward to seeing these partnerships flourish even more going forward.

More broadly, this new intermodal flow demonstrates that rail freight has a key role to play in delivering goods around the country and is primed to expand should the opportunity arise. Doing so takes lorries off our roads, reduces congestion and lowers air pollution which is a factor in tens of thousands of premature deaths. GBRf will continue to press government on this, and with the new service to and from iPort Rail, we have an outstanding example.”

Steve Freeman, Managing Director of iPort Rail, said:

“This is a very important milestone for iPort Rail, opening up a new logistics route into and out of South Yorkshire and reinforcing our strong working relationship with GBRf.

iPort is the perfect logistics location – very close to the M18 and Doncaster Sheffield Airport and within two hours of Hull and Immingham as well as being around seven hours from the UK’s other major ports. 87% of the UK mainland population is within a four-hour drive time. We’re really proud of the standard of facilities here and our team has been focussing most of all on efficient operations that will give everyone a short turnaround time.

From here we are continuing to build up services to the facility and are looking forward to working closely with GBRf going forward to link iPort Rail with other sea ports and logistics hubs around the country.”

Fiona Robson, Managing Director of Solent Stevedores, said:

“Over the last 12 months we have developed an excellent working partnership with GBRf. We are absolutely thrilled to see them grow their services from our terminal, which is the result of a huge amount of hard work from both teams and testament to the excellent facility we operate – now one of the most efficient of its kind in the UK. We are excited to build on this success with GBRf moving forward.”

About iPort Rail
iPort Rail is a new, 30-acre multimodal rail freight facility in Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Developed by pan-European logistics real estate specialists Verdion, it is the UK’s first inland port to be open and operational for ten years. iPort Rail is a state-of-the-art, high volume, secure container site. Connected via the South Yorkshire Joint Freight Line direct to the East Coast Main Line and the UK national rail network, it has been designed to accommodate the UK’s longest trains and meet Channel Tunnel (SACTFF) approved secure facility standards for international movements. It currently has storage for 1,500 TEU storage containers, with each of the two reach stackers on site able to lift up to 115 tonnes.

iPort Rail is part of iPort, the UK’s most advanced multimodal logistics hub, already home to some of the industry’s leading logistics occupiers, including Amazon, CEVA, Fellowes and Lidl.

For further information about iPort Rail or iPort, please contact
Hebe Hamilton: 07921 477 552
Laura Torrance: 07595 276 254

For further information, please visit

About Solent Stevedores
Solent Stevedores operate a 6 acre Intermodal Rail Facility within the Port of Southampton, directly adjacent to the UK’s second largest Container Terminal. A recent £5m investment program undertaken in partnership with Associated British Ports to improve infrastructure and equipment has halved turnaround times, trebled capacity and driven container throughput. Further work is planned in Q1 2019 to lengthen the terminal’s rail sidings to accommodate longer trains and enable two services to be handled simultaneously – further improving capacity.

For further information, please contact
Solent Stevedores
Tom Dynes

For information, please visit

GB Railfreight And The Worshipful Company Of Paviors Christen ‘The Pavior’

GB Railfreight, in partnership with The Worshipful Company of Paviors, is today (14th September) pleased to announce the naming of its new locomotive, The Pavior.

The locomotive, number 66758, was christened at a ceremony at Tarmac’s Harper Lane site in Radlett at 12.30pm this afternoon. The loco is named in honour of The Worshipful Company of Paviors, who were historically responsible for the pavements of the City of London, and over the years have been critical to the development of the craft of paving, road making, general construction and infrastructure. Its modern membership includes the leaders of construction in the UK. The loco will be used across the GBRf business and numerous routes going forward.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said of the naming:

“We have always been proud of our longstanding friendship with The Worshipful Society of Paviors, an organisation of such great history and pageantry. We are delighted that GB Railfreight today becomes part of the Paviors’ rich history with the naming of The Pavior, long may our friendship continue.”

Dyfrig James, The Master of The worshipful Company of Paviors said:

“The Paviors are extremely proud to have a locomotive named after them, it is a very significant moment in our 700-year history and demonstrates the close link with the industry of today. Our sincere thanks to GB Raifreight and its CEO John Smith in particular.”

About the Worshipful Society of Paviors
The Paviors are a City of London Livery Company with records dating back to 1276 but now with aims to promote the craft of paving through outreach programmes and fellowship.

For further information, please visit