GB Railfreight Invest In Cutting Edge Training With New Simulators

GB Railfreight (GBRf) have today confirmed that they are investing in two new state of the art simulators, which will form part of their new training school at Peterborough.

At a total cost of £850,000, they will be the UK’s first and only full cab freight European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) capable simulators. They will be used by new and existing drivers for basic training, advanced training as part of the Driver rules exam, Mentor and Instructor training and post incident reconstruction. They will initially cover the journey from Kings Cross to Peterborough, and are designed with a route building tool which will enable the addition of all other GBRf routes going forward.

The new simulators are being built with the recycled remains of locomotive no. 66734, which was involved in a landslip derailment at Loch Treig back in 2012. Now in the final months of construction, the simulators are being fitted out in France at Corys, having been subject to a fantastic refurbishment by EMD Longport in 2018.

The simulators are due for completion in June 2019.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“GB Railfreight has always been committed to training, both internally and externally- We are training the railway employees of the future. The GBRf training team is currently overseeing the establishment of a?new training school at Peterborough, which will?provide?a state-of-the-art learning environment for all?trainees, including 3 high tech classrooms and the new simulators.

When finished, these simulators will enable us to provide cutting edge training not only to GBRf staff, but the wider rail industry. We are hugely exited for their completion.”

GB Railfreight Helps Launch New Caledonian Sleeper Coaches

UK rail freight operator GB Railfreight (GBRF) are proud to have been working with Caledonian Sleeper in launching their new Mark 5 Sleeper coaches, with a special run yesterday (10 April) for invited guests.

The overnight service is being transformed with the new passenger carriages and will begin full Mark 5 operations from the end of May 2019.

Over the past 18 months, GBRf in partnership with Wabtec have modified twelve Class 92 and six Class 73 locomotives to haul these vehicles on both the Lowlander Caledonian Sleeper route, between Euston and Edinburgh and Glasgow, and in due course the Highlander Caledonian Sleeper routes to Fort William, Aberdeen and Inverness.

The locomotives have been fitted with new Dellner couplings and electronics, which include additional safety features, improved on-train communication and power upgrades to supply the requirements for the train’s air-conditioning, on-board showers and catering facilities.

In addition to locomotive provision, GBRf also supply the drivers for each service as part of the long-term contract with Serco which operates Caledonian Sleeper. This has meant bespoke training for around ninety members of GBRf staff on the features of the new trains.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“The successful delivery of these locomotives and the drivers for the Caledonian Sleeper service demonstrates the value and skills in our rail service business.

It has been an exciting partnership with Serco and CAF, and the end result is a transformed service for passengers. We’re very proud of our involvement in helping to secure this service between Scotland and England for years to come.”

Ryan Flahery, Serco’s Managing Director of Caledonian Sleeper, added:

“GBRf is one of our trusted Caledonian Sleeper partners. We have worked closely to ensure that our guests will be able to experience the best possible service and are very pleased with the expertise and skills GBRf has brought to the table to help deliver these trains. We look forward to continuing our successful working relationship long into the future.”

GB Railfreight And British Gypsum Celebrate Contract Extension

GB Railfreight are today pleased to announce they have agreed a contract extension with British Gypsum, which will see their partnership continue through to December 2021.

The extension will mean not only the continuation of GBRf’s existing service from Southampton to British Gypsum’s plasterboard plant in Robertsbridge, but the provision of further terminal services at Robertsbridge and additional rail haulage flow from AV Dawson in Teeside to British Gypsum’s plant at East Leake, Loughborough.

The contract demonstrates GBRf’s sustained support for the UK building sector, with gypsum forming the main constituent in many forms of plaster, blackboard chalk and wallboard.

An average of 10 services will run per week going forward, with the resource having been running on an ad hoc service out of AV Dawson for British Gypsum since November 2018.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“We are really pleased to see the continuation of this contract with British Gypsum. It marks GB Railfreight’s continued commitment to the UK building sector, to which gypsum is an unsung hero.

It also underlines the important role that rail freight plays in helping the construction sector increase its sustainability. Each trainload can take up to 70 lorries off the road, therefore significantly reducing emissions.”

Kevin Flinton, Senior Procurement Manager at British Gypsum, said:

“GBRf ’s rail freight services play an important role in the success of our business, enabling the reliable flow of raw materials to our manufacturing plants and ensuring the supply of our products to the UK construction sector.

Our use of rail freight underlines our commitment to increasing the sustainability of operations in the UK and the addition of extra services highlights the health of our business and the strength of our partnership with the GBRf.”

GB Railfreight signs contract with Progress Rail for Class 56 and 69 repowers

GB Railfreight (GBRf) is delighted to announce that it has signed a lease and contract with Progress Rail for a new repower project, following the purchase of 16 locomotives from UK Rail Leasing (UKRL) in June 2018. Progress Rail’s facility at Longport, Stoke-on-Trent, will repower the 16 Class 56 locomotives with EMD engines. The locomotives, which will be redesignated as Class 69, enable the continued expansion of the UK’s fastest growing rail freight company.

With the first prototype 69 001 locomotive due for delivery in May 2020, the contract will upgrade the original British Rail Class 56 locomotives, reusing assets at risk of becoming scrapped or underutilized. Originally built during 1976-1984, the Class 56 repower conversion will upgrade the locomotives existing Ruston-Paxman RK3 engines and control gear with EMD 12-710 Series engines, rated for EU Stage IIIA emissions certification, and updated electronic controls, based upon the world-renowned Class 66 locomotives.

The upgrade ensures modernized and environmentally friendly locomotives, with more power, reduced fuel consumption and improved emissions, along with enhanced driver cab environment and performance.

The re-engineering of these locomotives will benefit the wider UK rail freight market, providing a powerful fleet which meets stringent EU emissions regulations. It will also address the shortage of locomotives currently available in the UK, with increased availability providing greater flexibility to GBRf and their customers by enabling the movement of other heavy freight locomotives around the country and more flexibility to different flows.

Delivery of the initial Class 69 will also be significant, becoming the first in the class, it will be named and have special livery with a press launch to be advised.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“This is a fantastic move, which will enable GBRf to expand its operations significantly, whilst also providing the extra freight capacity the industry really needs. I remember working on the BR Class 56’s as a young engineer, and it really will be amazing to see them come back into use under the GBRf banner!

It’s also great to see the continuation of our partnership with Progress Rail and their EMD locomotives and engines, with whom we first worked on such a project back in 2013- long may our successful relationship continue.”

Billy Ainsworth, Group President of Energy & Transportation for Caterpillar Inc., said:

“As a part of Caterpillar, we believe in delivering sustainable solutions. Progress Rail is pleased to see our customers also support that mission. We look forward to helping GBRf with their freight initiatives through our EMD brand, this time working together to ensure rail upgrades become a reality for the United Kingdom. Renewing fleets, such as GBRf’s, with our advanced EMD engines and upgraded locomotive technologies, will allow the railway to achieve lower emissions and higher performance compared to prior models.”