GB Railfreight Announce New Chairman

GB Railfreight is delighted to announce the appointment of James Cooper as Chairman. James commenced his new role on 29 November 2019.

James has had a prestigious career spanning the infrastructure and financial services industries. Most recently James served as Chief Executive of Associated British Ports. Prior to this James has also been Chief Executive and Chairman of Red Funnel Ferries and has served in leading roles within Infracapital, BNP Paribas, and Hambros Bank. He brings considerable knowledge across a broad range of industries complementary to the GB Railfreight business and will be a valuable addition to an already strong and experienced senior leadership team.

In September 2019, GBRf announced Infracapital’s new ownership of the company and James’s appointment highlights the business’s commitment to future growth and continuing to deliver a reliable and high-quality service for customers.

This appointment marks a very exciting time for GBRf who have a turnover in excess of £200 million a year and operate over 1,000 trainloads a week, moving approximately 23% of the UK’s rail cargo.

John Smith, GBRf Managing Director, and James will be working closely to ensure continued growth in freight, as the business makes a concerted effort to prioritise growth in the intermodal market and other key sectors as businesses look to more sustainable logistics solution.

John Smith, Managing Director GBRf, said:

“I am thrilled James is joining the GBRf family. As a business, we have entered an exciting time and James’s wealth of experience will help us meet and exceed our ambitious growth plans. The industry continues to evolve and innovate, and James is best placed to lead us into the future of rail freight.”

 James Cooper said:

 “I am delighted to be joining the Board of GBRf. The company has an outstanding reputation in the sector and as GBRf enters a new chapter focusing on ambitious growth plans, I look forward to contributing to the business’s success.” 

Ed Clarke, Managing Director at Infracapital, said:

“We at Infracapital welcome James to GBRf. His breadth of experience across the wider infrastructure sector will complement and support GB Railfreight’s existing wealth of management expertise. We look forward to working closely together to achieve the sustainable growth ambitions of this exciting business.”

GBRf celebrate longstanding employee with loco naming

GB Railfreight are thrilled to announce the naming of a loco after longstanding colleague Chris Hopcroft MBE on Thursday 5 December.

Managing Director John Smith named a new Class 66 loco after Chris, with the ceremony taking place at Bristol Temple Meads station. Chris, accompanied by his wife and two children, was met by 50 of his closest friends and colleagues.

Chris spent the last 60 years on the railways, providing outstanding work and dedication to all his roles, the most recent as a train manager for GBRf. Throughout his long career he has trained up colleagues and passed on vital technical knowledge of operations.

His passion for, and service to, the railways was recognised in 1994 with an MBE for services to the safety of young people. Throughout his career, Chris has worked tirelessly to ensure every job he’s ever had was done to the best of his ability. The commitment that he has demonstrated every day since first starting has shown him to be an exemplary figure and inspired colleagues across the industry.

GBRf Managing Director John Smith said:

It was my pleasure to name this Class 66 loco after Chris. Having started off at the bottom of the ladder and worked his way up, Chris has boundless experience, and knows the sector better than anyone.

 “As a 42-year railway person, I am a mere beginner when compared to the iconic Chris Hopcroft who has clocked an amazing 60 years. I’m not sure in the modern world that this will ever be bettered. Not only has Chris contributed to our industry over a huge period of time, he has been the consummate professional throughout and has the wonderful habit of reverting to happy when things are going slightly awry.

 “He has a reputation in the industry for being a highly reliable and skilled colleague who makes time to pass on his expertise and support modernisation in all aspects of the railway. We are proud to name this loco after him.”

Chris Hopcroft said:

“This has come as a complete surprise! Words cannot describe how much this means to me. Trains are not just a job for me – they’re my life and passion.

“I love being part of the GBRf family and I am delighted so many of my colleagues were able to attend this special day. I am over the moon and cannot thank John enough for this.”