GBRf name new locomotive as King’s Cross project reaches final stage

GBRf name new locomotive as King’s Cross project reaches final stage

L-R: Gary Ruff, Infrastructure Maintenance Engineer for Network Rail, Paul Rutter, Route Director for Network Rail’s East Coast Route, John Smith, GBRf Managing Director

To celebrate the final closure of the Kings Cross signal box, GB Railfreight, one of the UK’s leading transport companies, named a Class 66 locomotive at the station on 23 April.

The GBRf team has provided engineering trains and supported a project to renew the signalling system and overhead line equipment in the Kings Cross area, as well as simplifying the track layout at London King’s Cross.

As a result, the King’s Cross Power Signal Box has been closed, and the signalling has been recontroled to a state-of-the-art Rail Operating Centre in York. GBRf decided to mark the occasion by renaming the last train which was signalled into the station by the box in its honour.

The King’s Cross Power Signal Box opened in September 1971, after the original signal box built by the LNER in 1932 was closed. All signalling operations moved overnight to the new Kings Cross Power Signal Box situated on the site of the old York Road Station buildings. The original LNER signal-box remained in-situ for another five years before being demolished as part of the electrification scheme and rationalisation of the station track-work.

The new locomotive was named ‘King’s Cross PSB 1971-2021’ to mark this historic day.

John Smith, Managing Director at GB Railfreight, said:

After 50 years King’s Cross PSB closed its doors with this 66767 being the last loco signalled by the box into King’s Cross station. Quite an honour when you consider all the other famous trains that have come and gone from the place!

“I’d like to thank all those who worked on this project, especially our colleagues at Network Rail who we worked so closely with during these last few months.

GB Railfreight open new Peterborough office to kickstart next chapter

GB Railfreight open new Peterborough office to kickstart next chapter

GB Railfreight officially opened their new office this week, in a move marking the next phase for the ever-growing transport company.

The official opening marks a new chapter in the story of GBRf. Founded in 1999, the 22-year-old company has been going from strength to strength in recent years, even during the pandemic. GBRf had a strong 2020 and is looking to build on last year’s results. The new headquarters sees the company continue to be a leader in the sector through innovation, training and a particular focus on its workforce, an area for which it was recently recognised at the Rail Business Awards earlier this year.

The works on the building, led by Lindum, are now complete, finishing on time and within budget – an achievement that has been praised given the last year has seen disruption from both Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic. After an informal opening on 8 April, teams have officially moved in and are getting used to their new surroundings. The building will house central functions, training and the Operations departments, as well as the fleet, and the GBRf 24-hour control centre.

The new office is based next door to the state-of-the-art simulators owned by GBRf. Having already pioneered this cutting-edge equipment, GBRf will look to become the leading training provider for train drivers and managers across the rail sector. The new office will play host to three shiny new classrooms which will be used by prospective train managers together with the simulators.

The building also reinforced GBRf’s green credentials, with solar panels having been installed on the roof and a number of electric vehicle charging points and bike racks having been installed. The company has also made staff wellbeing central to its plans for the new headquarters, with new furniture and amenities having been installed, as well as making sure the building and car park are completely accessible to all members of staff.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight said:

“I am over the moon to be able to officially open our new offices in Peterborough today. Having seen a huge increase in the demand for our services, we made the call to expand our operations here by investing in new offices and training facilities. Today that has become a reality.

“On behalf of GBRf, I would like to thank the construction company Lindum for completing an outstanding job. The success of the project relies on the practical, hands-on approach taken from concept to completion, and the company is delighted with the result of this partnership.

“Our partnership with Lindum has seen the works happen on time and within budget – no mean feat considering what a challenging year 2020 was for the UK and the whole world. Now we look to put that disruption behind us, and kickstart a new phase for the business, which continues to go from strength to strength.”

Darren King, Managing Director of Lindum, added:

“This has been a fantastic project to be involved in. The building is just a few miles from our Peterborough office, so we are particularly happy to see the site being regenerated in this way. “Work began just before the Covid outbreak so we had to introduce strict hygiene rules and extra safety measures on site to ensure the impact of the virus was kept to a minimum.

“It is great to see a company like GB Railfreight reaffirming its commitment to Peterborough and we’ve enjoyed working with such a forward-thinking and ambitious client.”

GB Railfreight receives new wagons from VTG as it looks to expand its intermodal business

GB Railfreight receives new wagons from VTG as it looks to expand its intermodal business

GB Railfreight officially received the delivery of its first operational Ecofret2® triple-container flat wagon sets from VTG Rail, which will be used to support GBRf’s growing demand for intermodal services.

The wagons arrived at GBRf’s new headquarters in Peterborough following successful prototype testing and approvals. The Ecofret2® is the latest innovation in maritime container transport and a revolutionary addition to VTG Rail’s fleet. These state-of-the-art wagons remove empty spaces that are often present in other wagons, but which are inefficient and cause turbulence during the journey, thus reducing fleet efficiency.

Today’s announcement is another remarkable achievement in GBRf’s intermodal journey. The company already has 21 intermodal services running across the country, and the new Ecofret2® wagons will only help the business remain at the cutting edge of the industry in this field.

The investment, worth £50m, also shows GBRf’s resilience in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and its willingness to stride forward as restrictions are eased.

In addition, with climate change at the forefront of the political agenda, GBRf is delighted to be contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions by expanding its intermodal fleet: an intermodal train only emits 5.4 pounds of carbon emissions per every 100-ton miles. Therefore, not only will GBRf increase the amount of goods and materials transported by rail, the business will ensure that their carbon output remains low in the process.

Julie Garn, Head of Intermodal at GB Railfreight said:

“I am delighted to be receiving this shipment of Ecofret2® wagons from VTG Rail. Growing the intermodal side of our business will be crucial to us to ensure we bounce back from COVID-19. In addition, there are huge benefits to moving more freight by rail including carbon emissions, which will be vital if we are to reach net zero emissions by 2050.”

David Golding, Asset Director at GB Railfreight, added:

“I couldn’t be more pleased to see the Ecofret2® wagons arrive and join our service. They are at the forefront of innovation in the intermodal sector and will make GBRf more and more competitive as we look to grow our business in the months and years to come”.

GB Railfreight announce new contract with Celsa

GB Railfreight (GBRf) are very pleased to announce the commencement of a new twelve-year contract with Celsa Steel UK, the largest manufacturer of steel reinforcement in the UK and one of the largest producers of other long steel products.

Building upon an existing relationship of ten years, GBRf will provide internal shunting services including a supply of remote-control shunt locomotives, train crews and ancillary services. There will also be a dedicated team of shunt crews operating shunt movements on a permanent basis to ensure the smooth-running of the service.

As part of the contract, all internal rail movements will be undertaken by GBRf, including the transportation of inbound scrap metal for steel production, hot billets for processing into finished goods, and outbound movements of finished products. Furthermore, GBRf will assist Celsa with managing internal track and wagon maintenance assessments that are vital in keeping the service operational.

This is further evidence of the resilience and flexibility of what GBRf can offer to a variety of industries within the UK. The contract also marks a commitment from GBRf and Celsa to assess more environmentally friendly alternatives for locomotive supply to be explored as part of the contract, demonstrating a clear commitment to continue work towards a decarbonised transport system.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“I am delighted to announce that we are expanding on our relationship with Celsa. We have a strong relationship going back many years and we are delighted to continue it until 2033. This service will be a vital part of the UK’s steel industry, which we are incredibly proud to be supporting.

“In addition, the shift to rail freight is a vital part of decarbonising our transport system. Our partnership with Celsa shows our commitment to using innovative solutions to reach the ambitious target of net zero emissions by 2050 and we hope to build on this going forward.”

Luis Sanz, CEO and Managing Director of CELSA said:

“CELSA Steel has been part of the Cardiff industrial landscape for the last two decades and intends to build on our strong business foundations for many years to come, providing vital low carbon steel products for numerous construction projects throughout the UK. Our success is guaranteed through strong partnerships with those who want to come on our exciting journey and this long term contract with GBRf represents another step on our path to sustainability.

We can be proud of our heritage and we look forward to overcoming challenges together as we work to enhance our business and eliminate our carbon footprint.”