GBRf’s £2 Million Refurbished Class 92 to Enter Caledonian Sleeper Service

GB Railfreight are pleased to announce that Locomotive 92006 has re-entered service following a £2 million refurbishment at Wabtec’s Brush Traction facility in Loughborough. The Class 92 will be used on the Caledonian Sleeper route once it has completed testing.

Originally completed in 1996, the Class 92 last ran in 2006 before being placed into storage in France. The full overhaul and re-instatement of this locomotive is the last in a series of successful programmes of work developed jointly with Brush Traction, part of the Wabtec Group.

With the introduction of Mark 5 Coaches on the Caledonian Sleeper, GBRf have fully rebuilt 92006 to haul the Coaches 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 Class 92 has been fitted with special Dellner couplings, providing additional safety measures, improved communication equipment, and power upgrades to operate the more intensive services offered on this route.

The locomotive has been painted in Caledonian Sleeper Livery and will now undergo test runs before entering traffic.

John Smith, Managing Director of GBRf, said:

“Our investment in the refurbishment of Class 92s for the new Caledonian Sleeper service means that customers will experience a reliable, state of the art, modern locomotive on their journey from London to Scotland.

We are delighted with the work Wabtec has carried out on the 92006 and we look forward to continuing our partnership to meet the growing demands in the rail freight sector.”

Paul Bain, Managing Director of Brush Traction, said:

“Brush are proud to have been involved with this truly collaborative project where we fully utilise our highly experienced skills. We look forward to continuing our strong working relationship with GBRf as a value-added solution provider”.

GB Railfreight and Newell & Wright unveil new ‘Made in Sheffield’ Locomotive

(Photo credit: Richard Gennis)

GB Railfreight and Newell & Wright are pleased to announce the naming of the new Class 66 locomotive at a dedicated naming ceremony held today (9 July) at DP World’s, London Gateway site, in Thurrock.

The new locomotive, called ‘Made in Sheffield’, was unveiled by John Smith, Managing Director of GBRf, and Frank Newell, Managing Director of Newell & Wright. The naming ceremony was also attended by local dignitary Cllr Piccolo, the Mayor of Thurrock.

GBRf ran its first service to the Newell & Wright terminal in Rotherham from the Port of Felixstowe in 2017, with Newell & Wright Transport contracting 50% of the freight capacity. Last year, GBRf added a five days per week service carrying containers for Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and Newell & Wright between London Gateway and the Rotherham terminal. The Newell & Wright terminal is now becoming a key strategic hub for end users.

John Smith, Managing Director of GBRf, said:

“We are delighted to unveil our ‘Made in Sheffield’ locomotive, which celebrates the success of our shared services into the Newell & Wright Rotherham terminal. The container market is an important source of growth for the industry and we are proud to be delivering a reliable service that also helps the UK cut carbon emissions and improve air quality.

“‘Made in Sheffield’ signifies the close working relationship we have with Newell & Wright and is an important part of the operations we run across the UK.”

Frank Newell, Managing Director of Newell & Wright, said:

“It is fantastic to have a locomotive named after our Sheffield roots. The service GBRf provides into our terminal in Rotherham offers Yorkshire a reliable, seamless rail service which is an integral part of the supply chain.”

EVENING STANDARD: More rail freight can help London be greener

By John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight

When we think of London’s rail network, images of commuters packed tightly onto trains heading into the capital for the daily grind comes to mind. The well-worn route for millions of people is a reminder of the dependence London has on its rail network.

Transporting the capital’s workers is certainly important but is only half the picture. Rail supports London’s growth through the movement of freight too. While the role of rail in moving goods is barely noticed by most people, it is important to the city’s economy and in delivering on the demands of Londoners for action on air pollution and climate change.

London is undergoing a green transport revolution. Cycling is being prioritised and there is a shift to electric cars and vans. Business is facing pressure to move to more sustainable ways of delivering goods.

The London-based business I run, GB Railfreight, is the UK’s fastest-growing rail-freight business. I believe rail freight can play a much bigger role in helping London become a greener city.

Freight trains can carry the equivalent of up to 70 lorries, while producing a quarter of the carbon emissions. They already move 40 per cent of all construction material into London, and there is the potential for this to grow, reducing lorry miles on the capital’s roads.

Londoners are the most active users of online shopping in the UK, but there is increasing concern about the environmental impact of parcel deliveries. We’re asking ourselves how rail could play a role in making these deliveries more sustainable. We are exploring converting old Intercity 125 high-speed trains into fast freight services that can move internet shopping orders into London overnight, ready for delivery next morning. This would increase the speed of deliveries and lessen their environmental impact.

For a greener London we need to see the expansion of rail freight into our city. For this, we require action from both policymakers and business.

Access to freight terminals in London needs to be preserved. This requires appropriate planning policy from the Mayor and London’s boroughs to protect sites from being developed for other uses and, importantly, allowing them to operate at night, so freight services can make the best use of less congested lines. Central government must also deliver investment to remove bottlenecks on routes into London.

Business can play a role by looking at the sustainability of their deliveries into the capital. Like all major cities, London is constantly feeling the pains of growth. Over the decades rail has played a huge role in allowing the city to expand while remaining an attractive place to live. I believe rail freight has an important role to play in helping London’s ever-changing economy grow while reducing air pollution and carbon emissions.

This article originally appeared in the Evening Standard on Friday 5 July.

Site reopening could boost rail’s role in Heathrow Expansion

GB Railfreight has assisted in the reopening of a rail site at Link Park Heathrow, just to the north of Heathrow Airport by taking part in a test run which has shown the recreated sidings as suitable for use for the transportation of aggregates to the site.

The test run was successful and site occupier Ashville Aggregates is developing plans to use the site to transport aggregates from the Midlands to their Park Link site.

The site was last used as a railhead in 2013 but since then use has been discontinued and the rail lines had been covered over. Rail consultant, Intermodality, led on the work to uncover and reinstate the lines, and ensure that the sidings were again suitable to for freight train unloading.

The site is just three miles to the north of Heathrow airport and close to the planned site of the third runway.

GB Railfreight’s test train from the mainline into the sidings to test its operability was successful and the site is now operational.

John Smith Managing Director of GB Railfreight said:

“GB Railfreight is pleased to have been able to help in the reopening of this site. The reopening is a clear sign of increasing demand for rail freight services as business look for reliable and more sustainable ways to move freight.

“With each train carrying the equivalent of 60 lorry loads and while emitting at quarter of the emissions of equivalent road transport, rail freight has an increasingly important role to play. With major new infrastructure projects planned to happen close by, including the Heathrow third runway, the site offers a potentially useful rail head to transport material to the area and potentially spoil away.”

“We hope that our train will be the first of many into the redeveloped site”