GBRf strike gold at the Rail Business Awards 2021

GB Railfreight are celebrating another successful day at this year’s virtual Rail Business Awards following the announcement that GBRf Human Resources Manager Gemma Platt has won the Richard Hope Award.

The award marks an outstanding personal contribution in the rail sector and is named after the former Railway Gazette Editor Richard Hope, who died in October 2019.

Gemma’s drive in setting up a mental health and wellbeing programme has helped sustain the morale of her colleagues during the COVID-19 crisis. The project involved the creation, training and appointment of ‘wellbeing champions.’ These were volunteers from within the business who were trained by Suffolk MIND and act as support and listening ears to staff should they need to talk to someone in confidence. The Champions work has also led to the launch of a Mental Health support App and creation of other virtual entertainment activities aimed at improving overall wellbeing and allowing people to stay connected on a more social level during the pandemic. The timing of the launch during the pandemic has meant GBRf had support available to staff when they needed it most during some of the uncertain times the country has faced in recent memory.

Gemma was motivated to create the programme off the back of her own tragedy, after suddenly losing her husband in 2019, which is testament to her dedication, commitment and character.

GBRf Managing Director John Smith said:

“I want to extend my sincere congratulations to Gemma for winning the Richard Hope Award for her Outstanding Personal Contribution over the last year. Her success is something the whole GBRf team can be proud of.

“Gemma’s passion, professionalism and dedication, has empowered her to set up the ‘wellbeing champions/need to talk project’ and in turn has enabled GBRf to provide support surrounding mental health issues to their staff 24/7. Gemma has changed the focus of wellbeing within our company, and by using and drawing on her own personal adversity for the benefit of others, she has removed any stigma that may have existed around this very real topic.  Gemma has dedicated herself to encouraging awareness of wellbeing and mental health, and I couldn’t be prouder of her.”

Richard Hope Award winner Gemma Platt said:

“It is such an honour to win this award and I want to thank the rest of the Wellbeing Champions at GBRf for making the Mental Health project the success it become. I couldn’t have done this without your passion and commitment.

“I look forward to working with this group to continue to help normalise conversation around mental health and provide the best support possible to our staff.”

GBRf kick off new service from Portbury

GB Railfreight (GBRf), one of the largest rail freight operators in the UK, has officially begun a new service from Portbury to Acton, in partnership with AI.

Responding at short notice, there was the requirement for the GBRf team to immediately start working to learn the new route, familiarise themselves with the new site, and prepare for the smooth operation of the first few services.

These services, which began at the end of January, will move 90,000 tonnes of aggregate, which amounts to approximately 60 trains and considerations are being given to further shipments.

The agile establishment of this service is further proof of the excellent service GBRf provides and builds on existing supply routes and flows of aggregates the transport company already run for AI.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“We were absolutely delighted to be approached by AI to run this service. We have a longstanding relationship with them and they are a valued partner for us. I would also like to congratulate the GBRf team for the smooth running of this service last month.

“We are also pleased to have secured this traffic because it reinforces what we already know – that GB Railfreight is one of the most trusted transport operators in the UK and one you can rely on to turn around work in a short space of time. I couldn’t be prouder of the team we have here at GBRf.”

Simon Blake, General Manger – Rail of Aggregate Industries, said:

“We are delighted to have been able to work so quickly with support from GBRf to convert a window of opportunity, to a practical and commercially sound reality. This new source of material will further support the Aggregate Industries offer for both sustainable delivery and surety of supply for construction materials to the South East market.”

GBRf extend contract with GRS Rail Services

GB Railfreight (GBRf) is delighted to announce that it has signed a five-year deal with GRS Rail Services, a joint venture between Tarmac and aggregates trading company GRS , in an extension to its existing contract.

The new GRS Rail Services contract builds on a partnership between the two businesses that begun in 2016, primarily supplying rail haulage services between the UK’s largest granite quarry, Mountsorrel Quarry in Leicestershire, operated by Tarmac, and a major aggregates supply depot at Wellingborough, Northamptonshire operated by GRS. The Wellingborough depot was developed between Network Rail, GB Railfreight, Tarmac and GRS to support major infrastructure projects such as the redevelopment of the A14 in Cambridgeshire, one of the country’s biggest highways schemes in recent years.

Over the course of the last five years, the contract has evolved to serve new supply points, such as Swinden Quarry, North Yorkshire, and Tunstead Quarry, Derbyshire, and feed new railheads in Luton and Northampton. GBRf and GRS Rail Services have also moved over 1.8 million tonnes of aggregates across the UK to support the construction industry and prevented almost 100,000 lorry loads from using our roads. The announcement today of this contract renewal signals the resilience of a longstanding and fruitful relationship between GBRf and GRS.

This partnership will allow for the operation of services from the Peak District to terminals at Wellingborough, Luton, Northampton and Peterborough, as well as the redevelopment of Wellingborough Aggregates Depot.

John Smith, Managing Director at GB Railfreight, said:

“I am absolutely delighted to be unveiling this contract extension with GRS Rail Services. We have worked with GRS for a number of years and our partnership has been fruitful from the very start.

“Given the uncertain economic picture we are facing at this time, it is more important than ever to continue with the work we have done so successfully throughout 2020 and today’s contract extension will ensure we keep the economy moving in the right direction as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Jon Fisher, Chief Executive at GRS said:

“Our partnership with GB Railfreight has gone from strength to strength, allowing us to meet the construction industry’s demand for aggregates with the lowest possible carbon footprint and in the most efficient way possible.

Rail freight produces a fraction of the carbon and particulate emissions of road haulage, and although lorries are still needed for local distribution, thanks to GB Railfreight we can cover most of the journey from aggregates source quarries to construction site by rail. We’re looking forward to developing our partnership over the years ahead.”

GBRf unveil partnership to transform railways weed control maintenance

GB Railfreight (GBRf), one of the largest rail freight operators in the UK, is delighted to announce a landmark cooperation with Bayer Environmental Science, Network Rail, and a number of start-up companies, which will transform essential weed control maintenance on the UK’s railways.

Introducing innovative technology, three new Smart Weed System trains will commence service on the British railway network later this spring. They will have the capability to eliminate potentially dangerous weed infestations with advanced precision. Responsible for supplying the end-to-end rail operations, GB Railfreight will provide rail expertise for this project.

By detecting the weeds using cameras mounted on the trains, only the most appropriate herbicide will be use, thus improving the environmental footprint. The data generated will be uploaded to a cloud database using GPS software, which will enable weed control to be monitored and reported 24/7 from a central point.

This innovative GPS tracking system will also automatically shut off spray nozzles when the train approaches a ‘Non-Treatment Zone’, such as a watercourse or bridge, a move which further enhances the environmental impact by adding a second layer of protection for the operators.

Mark Wyborn, Head of Strategic Development at GB Railfreight, said:

“The higher efficiency of the three new trains combined with the modern technology and asset life will provide a more efficient weed control program for years to come. Aiming for a safer rail industry for all should be a priority. This investment from Bayer into the collaboration will bring a new level of scientific expertise and knowledge to the rail industry and will help to drive forward weed control and safety for future years. The first train will be introduced and in service on UK railways from May 2021, with the second and third train planned for use in April 2022.”

Commenting on how the partnership will increase the safety of the railways, Alan Morris, Bayer Environmental Science UK country head said:

Weeds can cause contamination of valuable equipment and lead to a range of health and safety issues for both workers and passengers. This technology is not only an innovation for the rail industry but weed control globally, so we’re delighted to be involved in this collaboration with key members of the rail industry.”