GB Railfreight Make History with Class 66 to Oban Station

GB Railfreight Make History with Class 66 to Oban Station

GB Railfreight made history on Thursday 12 September, when for the first time ever a Class 66 locomotive ran along the Oban branch in Scotland right to its terminus.

The achievement was two years in the making. GBRf worked with Network Rail to approve the use of Class 66s on the line, as previously they had not been permitted with only lighter locomotives, such as Class 37s, allowed.

Locomotive 66 746 successfully headed the Royal Scotsman into Oban Station, and a limited number of charter Class 66 locomotives a year will be able to run on the single track Crianlarich to Oban line in the West Highlands for rail excursions.

The use of Class 66s on the line was specifically designed to facilitate the Royal Scotsman excursions along one of the most scenic railway lines in the world, taking in the remote mountainous west coast of Scotland, on board an overnight luxury train.

The journey itself sweeps along the edge of Loch Awe, past Ben Cruachan (the highest point in Argyll and Bute) where travellers can take in the ruins of Kilchurn Castle, before heading to Loch Etive and then to Oban. From Oban, travellers can then take ferries on to Mull, Iona and the Outer Hebrides.

John Smith, Managing Director GB Railfreight, said:

“This is an historic achievement and a lot of hard work has gone into making Class 66s on the Oban branch a reality. The first journey was a resounding success and just goes to show the expertise of the GBRf team in meeting and exceeding challenges to deliver innovative services for our clients across the whole of the UK. The whole team is very excited to see further Class 66s arrive at Oban station.”

Andy Saunders, Freight Delivery Director, said:

“Network Rail were delighted to support this important charter service through the Oban line and being able to permit a limited number of Class 66 movements a year for the operation of the Royal Scotsman”.


GB Railfreight Celebrates Locomotion’s 15th Anniversary with Class 66 Naming

GB Railfreight Celebrates Locomotion’s 15th Anniversary with Class 66 Naming

GB Railfreight are pleased to announce the naming of one of our Class 66 locomotives as part of the celebrations around the 15th anniversary of the opening of Locomotion, Shildon, on Saturday 21 September.

In honour of the occasion, a Class 66 ‘Locomotion 15’ has been named. GBRf hope to see the museum carry on its inspiring work for another 15 years, educating all generations about the important role of the railways and its technological developments.

GBRf actively work with both the National Railway Museum and others to promote railways of yesterday, today and the future, and to preserve our wonderful heritage especially in such a unique and exciting venue as Locomotion.

By naming the Class 66 loco ‘Locomotion 15’ GBRf are delighted to be part of the museum’s history. Locomotion has played an important role in showcasing the national collection of railway vehicles in an historic railway town, and GBRf have been a long-time supporter of the museum. Previously, GBRf provided locomotives for display, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with the best in modern traction in the rail freight sector.

Bob Tiller, GBRf Engineering Director, said;

“We are thrilled to unveil ‘Locomotion 15’ to celebrate the success of the museum on its 15th anniversary. The work Locomotion do to showcase the history of the railways is an inspiration and I hope visitors are encouraged to find out more about the important role rail freight plays across the country.”

Sarah Price, Head of Locomotion, said:

“The newly named ‘Locomotion 15’ is a wonderful way to mark our anniversary. GBRf have provided us with much support over the years and we hope that our visitors keep an eye out for the locomotive as it travels across the UK.”

GB Railfreight Announce New Ownership

GB Railfreight Announce New Ownership

GB Railfreight announced on Monday 23 September that EQT’s infrastructure portfolio company, Hector Rail Group, has sold the business to Infracapital – the unlisted infrastructure equity arm of M&GPrudential.

Over the past three years under EQT’s tenure, GB Railfreight has grown considerably, expanding across the length and breadth of the UK and into new markets. The most exciting for the company being the intermodal market, with a range of new routes. This includes a new Southampton to Manchester intermodal service which launched earlier this month, serving one of the UK’s leading deep-sea container ports.

Together EQT and GB Railfreight have seen the business become the third largest rail freight operator in the UK, with over 900 employees and a turnover in excess of £200 million a year. GB Railfreight now operates over 1,000 trainloads a week, moving approximately 23% of UK’s rail cargo.

It was been an incredibly successfully time for GB Railfreight and under Infracapital the business will continue grow to deliver a reliable and high-quality service for customers.

John Smith, Managing Director at GB Railfreight, said:

“We have grown at an incredible rate under EQT. It has been a real pleasure working with EQT over the past three years to become a leading rail freight provider. As a business we are now entering an exciting time with Infracapital – I look forward to working closely with our new owners to maintain and surpass our growth ambitions.”

Martin Lennon, Head of Infracapital, said:

“GB Railfreight has shown strong growth in the UK rail freight sector and expanded into new markets, identifying the business as a leader in rail freight. It not only leads in innovation but its environmental credentials set it apart from competitors. We are delighted to be part of the business’s future growth and success.”

GBRf Announce New Southampton to Manchester Intermodal Service

GBRf Announce New Southampton to Manchester Intermodal Service

GB Railfreight are delighted to announce the start (Monday 2 September) of another new intermodal service, this time from Solent Stevedores, Southampton, to Maritimes Terminal in Trafford, Manchester. This will be the third daily service GBRf offer from one of the UK’s leading deep-sea container ports.

This new service marks GBRf’s continued expansion into the intermodal market and the vital role rail freight plays in delivering goods around the country.

GBRf continues to prioritise converting volume from road to rail in the intermodal market and this new service demonstrates the success of our service delivery and expertise being provided to customers across the network.

The new service will run five days a week, and represents GBRf’s 17th intermodal service to date, following unprecedented growth in this market over the last two years. Intermodal traffic now accounts for approximately 36% of all rail freight industry wide.

GBRf are committed to increasing the amount of goods and materials transported via rail freight, reducing emissions and delivering a more sustainable logistics solution. An average freight train removes 80 HGV journeys from roads every day.

When combined with rail’s advantageous performance in terms of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter emissions, rail freight demonstrates a clear contribution to the challenge of meeting the UK’s carbon-cutting targets.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“I am thrilled to see the beginning of this new service. Our growth in intermodal shows GBRf’s dedication to innovation, offering flexible door-to-door solutions that meet our customer’s needs, as well as a consistently reliable service. We are very proud of the hard work that has been put in to be the industry’s trusted intermodal carrier.”

Stuart Cullen, CEO of Solent Stevedores, said:

“We are delighted that GB Railfreight has started a new service from Solent Stevedores to Manchester. We have a strong working relationship and are thrilled that our partnership is flourishing through their new intermodal services from our terminal”.