GB Railfreight unveils new sidings at Peterborough

GB Railfreight (GBRf) is set to start operations at its new intermodal sidings at Peterborough. The investment provides GBRf with much needed track capacity – which will be doubled – in order to facilitate the business’ growing intermodal sector.

This is the first of four phases of works to have been completed on this site. GBRf are looking to develop this site further by completing alterations to existing sidings and install additional infrastructure to provide improved access to the East Coast Main Line, allowing GBRf to further increase the capacity of the site.

Other works planned at this location in the near future include a purpose-built wagon maintenance facility in order to support high levels of asset utilisation. The move will provide GB Railfreight with an improved and more efficient wagon maintenance capability along with improved facilities for their maintainers to operate from. This follows the announcement of a new multi million contract for the lease of an additional 52 Ecofret2® Intermodal wagons from VTG, Rail UK Ltd, the UK’s largest private wagon hire company.

To meet increasing demand for rail freight, GBRf are also expanding operations by investing in new offices and training facilities. GBRf recently broke ground for their new office in Peterborough, with the work involving the demolition of existing temporary office buildings and construction of a new building to house a control room, three classrooms, a board room and staff welfare facilities. The training school will support GBRf’s state-of-the-art class 66 simulators, which were unveiled in 2019.

The new intermodal sidings at Peterborough, were completed by MLP Railway Maintenance Ltd which enabled GBRf to finish them ahead of schedule and also within budget. This announcement demonstrates the company’s commitment to investing in the rail freight sector and the UK economy as a whole at this time of uncertainty in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“I am absolutely delighted to be able to unveil the new intermodal sidings at Peterborough. The growth in Intermodal is demonstrative of GBRf’s commitment to leading the way in what is one of the biggest changes in the freight industry’s history, offering flexible and innovative door-to-door solutions that meet our customer’s needs.

“In 2019 GBRf delivered not only growth but also consumer choice in the market with a further four Intermodal services from major deep-sea UK ports, bringing the total to 17 Intermodal services. Despite the current disruption due to COVID-19 we are committed to delivering investment to support the growth of the rail freight sector, ensuring that rail freight can play its part in the economic recovery  driven by environmentally sustainable investment.”

GB Railfreight and CEMEX unveil new service from Dove Holes to Crawley

GB Railfreight (GBRf) and global building materials supplier CEMEX have unveiled a new service from Dove Holes Quarry, Buxton to Crawley.

This was the first train that has been operated by GBRf on the route to Crawley with products being conveyed on cut and shut aggregate hoppers that have been repurposed from coal hoppers. The train ran with 22 wagons and over 1,675 tonnes, exceeding previous deliveries to Crawley by approximately 350 tonnes, and arrived in Crawley on Saturday 18 April.

This is a further example of GB Railfreight continuing to operate during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. Once business as usual has resumed, the new service between Dove Holes and Crawley is expected to run once a week.

John Smith, Managing Director of GBRf, said:

“We are delighted to unveil this new route in partnership with CEMEX. We have a longstanding relationship and the new service, which is expected to run once a week once operations are back to normal is testament to the successful partnership we have forged.

“We are also absolutely committed to keeping Britain on track during the challenging times. GB Railfreight does not shy away from these moments and we are delighted to be doing our bit to keep the economy moving during the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to running more services in the coming weeks and months.”

David Hart, CEMEX UK’s Supply Chain Director, added:

“Our rail network is an important way for us to transport our materials around the country to where they are needed. The addition of this new route allows us to better serve our customers, while the increased capacity offers further sustainability benefits by taking trucks off the road and reducing congestion. We are pleased to partner with GBRf on this new service as they share our commitment to a safe and reliable operation.”

GB Railfreight Announce lease of VTG Rail UK Ltd Wagons

GB Railfreight, the UK’s third-largest rail freight operator, has announced it has signed a new multi million contract for the lease of an additional 52 Ecofret2® Intermodal wagons from VTG Rail UK Ltd, the UK’s largest private wagon hire company.

The news comes after GBRf recently announced the leasing of 32 Ecofret2® triple wagon sets, from VTG, which will enter service in 2020 and 2021. The deal highlights GB Railfreight’s commitment to investment in the future of the Intermodal rail freight sector.

Increasing the proportion of goods carried by rail has an important role to play in helping the UK to deliver on its decarbonisation agenda and rail freight will therefore play an important role in supporting a green recovery.

Ecofret wagons allow for more containers to be carried per train, leading to greater load efficiency, and reducing transport delays.  The wagons also help to improve the spacing of containers reducing turbulence when trains are traveling at speed and reducing fuel consumption.

All the new wagons will be manufactured in the UK, with operations and maintenance being managed by VTG’s teams in Birmingham and Peterborough.

GBRf has been working with VTG for more than 10 years, and this announcement highlights the company’s commitment to excellent customer service, ongoing investment in the market and continued support for UK plc.

The share of goods transported via rail freight has increased in recent years due to savings in harmful emissions from moving goods via rail rather than road.

The investment in these state of the art, British built wagons to be supplied by VTG, will help GBRf meet growing customer needs – employing the latest technology and further improving safety performance and reliability. The continued partnership will allow GBRf to focus on the growth of the Intermodal market, which blossomed in 2019 following the opening of new services from Solent Stevedores, Southampton, to Maritimes Terminal in Trafford, Manchester.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“I am delighted to announce that we are continuing our relationship with VTG. Over the years, time and again we have been very pleased with their wagons and the improved levels of performance and capacity we can therefore offer our customers.

 “VTG is leading the way in containerised transport and adding even more Ecofrets to our fleet is part of our continued growth plan. As a business, our goal is to offer the best possible service to our customers and we are investing heavily in the wagons which will enable us to expand our operations, whilst also providing the extra freight capacity the industry really needs.

 “Today’s announcement is also further evidence of the role GBRf and the rail freight industry as a whole will play to get the British economy back on its feet following the COVID-19 crisis. We will continue to do our bit to keep the economy on track.”

Rob Brook, Head of Rail UK for the VTG Group, added:

“VTG is thrilled to have been selected as the supplier of the next generation of container wagons for GB Railfreight and looks forward to providing them with the highest levels of service, efficiency and reliability. Our longstanding relationship with GBRf has seen the introduction of numerous new wagons, each helping to support their expansion for more than a decade. We appreciate the trust they have placed in VTG by choosing us as their partner for this new chapter in their ongoing success story.  

“As a leader in innovation, VTG has made further significant investments in the Ecofret design ensuring that the new Ecofret2® wagon will bring even greater in-service benefits than its ground-breaking predecessor. With its improved loading flexibility and brand new, track friendly bogie design, this new wagon builds on the efficiency benefits provided by the original Ecofret since its introduction seven years ago, and will help GBRf continue to meet the growing demands of the Intermodal market. As with all new VTG wagons, Ecofret2® will be fitted with our ‘Connect’ telematics system, part of the traigo platform, which allows users to subscribe to a range of GPS-based tracking and monitoring services”

GB Railfreight announce extra investment in Cambridgeshire properties and facilities despite economic uncertainty

Despite the ongoing national and international disruption caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, GB Railfreight (GBRf) one of the UK’s leading rail freight operators, has announced a series of investments into its existing facilities and properties in Cambridgeshire.

GB Railfreight is continuing to invest in its site at Maskew Avenue, in Peterborough where its state-of-the-art simulators are located. This announcement demonstrates the company’s commitment to investing in the UK economy at this time of uncertainty. This follows recent upgrades at its March Up Yard site in late 2019.

Earlier this year the company announced a £3million investment in building a new control room, three classrooms, a board room and staff welfare facilities. The company is delivering further investment at the site including upgrades to the locomotive fuelling system that will improve performance and the safety of staff using it.

GB Railfreight has also been working with Balfour Beatty and Network Rail to enable works to go ahead to create new intermodal sidings.

Meanwhile, at the March Up Yard site, the business is starting to see the benefits of the investment it has put in over the last few months. Operations now include a wagon maintenance and stabling depot. This development has significantly improved all of the Sibelco rail services. The Sibelco contract sees trains run out of Middletown Towers to Goole, Monk Bretton and Barnby Dunn – delivering sand to the northern region.

The depot at March is conveniently situated directly on the route to all of these destinations; making it an efficient and appropriate pit stop to undertake critical wagon maintenance on all of the Sibelco sets. This has saved many dead miles per flow from no longer having to trip everything back to Doncaster for the vital maintenance works that need to be carried out. The strategic acquisition and subsequent development of March not only means we’re improving the efficiency and simplicity of the service, but it is also a fuel saver and better for the environment due to reduced emissions.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said: 

“GB Railfreight is unveiling today a raft of improvements to its facilities in Cambridgeshire as a sign we are confident in the resilience of the British economy. These announcements will also have an impact on how we go forward as a business and we look forward to the next chapter for GBRf.”