Life of former inspector of railways celebrated with freight train named in his honour

Life of former inspector of railways celebrated with freight train named in his honour

GB Railfreight and the Office of Rail and Road has honoured the last Royal Engineer officer to be appointed a HM Railway Inspector, Major John Poyntz, by naming a freight train after him.

GB Railfreight’s Class 66 train – 66764 – will take the name of the former inspector, who died in November 2020 aged 82.

His life was celebrated at industry event, Rail Live, today (16 June) where the unveiling was announced in front of a socially distanced crowd.

Major John Poyntz was in the army for 35 years, serving with the Royal Engineers and later the Royal Corps of Transport.

After military service, he joined the Railway Inspectorate – now part of the Office of Rail and Road – a move he viewed as an honour and privilege.

He was the last Royal Engineer to take such route, spending 25 years in the role as a Railway Inspector. His work included inspections of heritage railways and dealing with accidents and incidents such as the Severn tunnel rail accident and the Cannon Street rail crash both in 1991.

Ian Prosser, HM Chief Inspector of Railways at ORR, said:

“His enthusiasm for anything on the railways was unparalleled and he would often be seen with a notebook in hand, while looking from a train window.

“It was a privilege to have got to know him and he remains greatly missed. I am pleased to donate this name plate on behalf of ORR and thank GB Railfreight for offering its locomotive to place this commemorative plaque, and have his name etched in the railways.”

GBRf Managing Director John Smith said:

“Major John Poyntz had a very special connection to the railway throughout his established and celebrated career.

“Working with ORR, we’re proud to see his legacy continue by naming a Class 66 locomotive in his honour. After today, the loco carrying his name will be supporting the movement of crucial rail freight across the network.

“A fitting tribute to Major John who dedicated so much of his time for country and the railways.”

GBRf runs first Stanton Gate service since 2009 for Ward

GBRf runs first Stanton Gate service since 2009 for Ward

GB Railfreight, one of the UK’s leading transport companies and the fastest growing rail freight operator, operated the first loaded freight service from Stanton Gate since 2009 on behalf of Ward.

GBRf reacted to a late notice demand from Ward and was asked to transport in excess of 1400 tonnes of fragmented steel to Immingham Dock. Previous trials had been run at the site to prove the ability to transport bulks services following significant infrastructure work.

The site at Stanton Gate was recently acquired by Verdant Regeneration, a joint venture between Ward and Trust Utility Management. The team has plans to transform the former steel works – one of the largest potential development sites in the East Midlands – into a thriving national distribution, logistics and rail freight hub for the Midlands, to be called New Stanton Park.

The service is further proof of GBRf’s reliable and resilient customer service, which once again delivered for its commercial partners at a moment’s notice. Having already run trials to prove its credentials, the GBRf team showed how it can turn around services such as this in a short space of time and that it will stop at nothing to meet customer demands.

Carl Kent, Head of Sales at GB Railfreight, said:

“The acquisition of such a large site by Verdant JV will help breathe new life into the local area and we hope further opportunities for sustainable freight by rail. The commitment that Ward have shown to developing new rail freight has been impressive and we have worked with them to promptly respond to their demand. If all parties involved are committed and work collaboratively, there is no reason at all that new to rail freight activity from dormant freight estate need take many months or years to deliver.”