GB Railfreight works with Network Rail to re-open March sidings

GB Railfreight (GBRf) is delighted to announce that in partnership with Network Rail, it has secured a lease for the long-disused March Up Yard rail sidings complex in Cambridgeshire.

The site is just over three acres in size and will accommodate trains of up to 320m in length.  It will operate in conjunction with the Down Yard, south of the main line, which GBRf already works from. The line through March is part of the nationally designated freight route between Felixstowe and Nuneaton, and plays a key role in the haulage of goods and materials around the country.

The site will initially be utilised for the stabling and maintenance of rolling stock used on the traffic between Middleton Towers and Yorkshire, as well as that used to carry aggregates between the Peak District and East Anglia.  As rail traffic to and from Felixstowe continues to grow, the yards will be used for container wagons as well.

As part of the lease, GBRf will refurbish the railway track, putting it into good working condition.  Consideration is also being given to the possible installation of a fuel point. The scheme will incorporate new fencing and acoustic barriers to mitigate the impact of the yard’s re-opening on nearby residents.

John Smith, Managing Director of GBRf, said of the new facility:

“We’re really very pleased to have secured this location.  It will help reduce emissions and save costs in terms of running several hundred empty miles each week in order to get our wagons serviced.  It will also reduce congestion elsewhere along our routes and assist with timetabling flexibility, improving performance overall.  It’s a real bonus for us.”

Guy Bates, Head of Freight Development at Network Rail added:

The re-opening of March by GBRf to support their growing freight traffic operation is a very satisfying development. Recognising its location on a rail freight corridor of national significance, we took the decision to include this site in our 2014 freight estate acquisition portfolio in the clear anticipation that it would have future utility. 

Successive Governments have shared an ambition to grow freight on rail substantially and our facilitating of this type of market led development of our freight estate is critical to realising that growth.”

GB Railfreight Appoint New Head Of Market Development

Carl Kent, GB Railfreight’s (GBRf) current Head of Strategy and Innovation has been appointed Head of Market Development and will assume his new role and responsibilities from 17 June 2019.

Kent has worked within the business for five years. He has been highly influential in the successful implementation and delivery of many major contracts in what has been a period of significant growth for the company. The Business Implementation team, led by Kent, have delivered a range of new rail freight business in intermodal, international, bulk, energy, infrastructure and rail services markets. In addition, Kent has played a key role in lobbying industry groups during the Periodic Review 2018 (PR18) and the ongoing Williams Rail Review.

Kent said of his promotion:

Working at GBRf has been challenging and exciting, in equal measure. The culture of the business is something that I deeply buy into and try to instil in those around me. I look forward to bringing my skills in developing solutions to deliver new business volumes in line with the development of new market opportunities for GBRf to successfully exploit.”

Lee Armstrong, Commercial Director of GB Railfreight, stated:

“I am thrilled that Carl is the new Head Market Development, he has worked successfully with the Commercial Team and the Market Development Team for several years, he has a fantastic understanding of GB Railfreight and our customers’ requirements, consistently influential in developing business solutions, these skills complement his new role.”

The role’s current holder, Jonathan Bailey, leaves the business after two years in post. He goes to DFDS Seaways, where he will be Shipping Logistics Director.

GBRf would like to thank Jonathan for the excellent work he has done in bringing new contracts into the business, particularly in expanding the company’s operations throughout Europe and developing strategies to work more effectively within the supply chain. Lee Armstrong added:

Over the last few years with GB Railfreight, Jonathan has been instrumental in helping deliver GB Railfreight’s growth, I would like to congratulate him for his new Director role with DFDS and thank him for the success he helped bring to GB Railfreight.”

GB Railfreight To Introduce Three Class 66 Locomotives To The UK Rail Network

GB Railfreight (GBRf) are delighted to announce three Class 66 locomotives are to be leased from Beacon Rail Leasing and introduced to the UK rail network from Sweden.

The locomotives T66 403/4/5 will become 66 790/791/792 and mark GBRf’s continued growth and investment in its fleet. These locomotives are the most widely operated modern freight locomotives in the European market and will further strengthen GBRf’s already reliable fleet.

GBRf have considerable experience bringing locomotives from Europe to the UK. Previous conversions include 66 747/8/9/5/51 from European to UK specification with the assistance of Electro Motive Diesels (EMD).

Prior to entering service, the locomotives will undergo upgrades in Gothenburg before being shipped to Immingham and transferred to EMD’s Longport Facility for conversion to UK specifications.

The locomotives will have Train Bourne safety systems, air conditioning, as well as cab and system specific reliability improvements made. In addition, they will all receive GBRf livery and once fully upgraded, the Class 66s will then enter service.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:
I am delighted to announce that three Class 66 locomotives are being added to our fleet. These locos are incredibly reliable and will assist us in delivering the best possible service now and into the future.

This move is demonstrative of why GBRf are leading the way in the rail freight sector. It’s a fantastic addition to our offer, enabling us to expand operations, whilst also providing the extra freight capacity the industry really needs.”

GB Railfreight Announce New Service From Felixstowe To IPort

GB Railfreight (GBRf) are today delighted to announce the start of a new service from the Port of Felixstowe to iPort Rail in Doncaster, marking the company’s continued expansion into the Intermodal market.

The service will run 5 days a week, and represents GBRf’s 16th intermodal service to date, following rapid expansion into the market over the past 18 months. The service is demonstrative of the highly valued relationships GBRf maintains with its partners. GBRf trains now carry one third of all containerised rail traffic to and from the Port of Felixstowe.

As the latest GBRf service into iPort Rail, it also strengthens a newer relationship which began when GBRf had the honour of being the first commercial service to arrive at the newly opened facility back in September 2018. GBRf are incredibly proud that all freight services currently using the facility are provided by GBRf.

The new service will enable increased diversity in GBRf’s Yorkshire operations, providing customers with more logistical options in the wider Yorkshire area are further afield than ever before.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“I am thrilled to see the beginning of this new service. It is fantastic to be working once again with valued friends and partners. Our growth in intermodal speaks to GBRf’s commitment to innovation, offering flexible and innovative door-to-door solutions that meet our customer’s needs, as well as a consistently reliable service. This is why customers work with us again and again, GBRf are the industry’s trusted intermodal carrier.”

Steve Freeman, Managing Director of iPort Rail, said:

“This new Felixstowe service highlights the growth iPort Rail is experiencing since welcoming its first commercial service late last year, and the increasing significance of our facility to national and international supply chains.”

“Being part of Verdion’s iPort multimodal logistics hub means that 87 per cent of the UK population is within a four-hour drive of our terminal, with easy access to the national motorway network and sea transport links as well as rail freight routes increase.

“The terminal already handles several hundred tonnes of goods daily, and we are excited that our expansion story is set to benefit businesses across the country even further.”

Commenting on the new destination, Clemence Cheng, Chief Executive Officer at the Port of Felixstowe and Executive Director of Hutchison Ports, said:

“More and more companies are looking for sustainable transport options and ways to avoid an increasingly crowded road network. The Port of Felixstowe is uniquely placed to meet those demands and already offers a wide range of intermodal rail freight services to key UK destinations.

“With nearly 1.5 million TEU moving between Felixstowe and locations in the Northern Powerhouse region each year, Felixstowe is already the North’s major gateway for global trade. This new connection provides businesses in this vital region with greater choice of ways to get their goods to market.”

GB Railfreight celebrate signing CP6 contract with Network Rail, marking increased role across the UK’s rail network

GB Railfreight (GBRf) are delighted to announce that final contracts have been signed with Network Rail for the new Control Period 6 (CP6). In what has been a hugely successful process for GBRf, CP6 will see a 25 per cent growth in the company’s market share with their single largest customer, Network Rail.

The new Control Period will see GBRf continue to run their hugely successful Whitemoor Local Distribution Centre (LDC), one of the best performing LDCs in the country, along with two new sites in Bescot and Eastleigh. These new additions to GBRf’s portfolio will bring with them great opportunities for upskilling current GBRf staff, as well as increased recruitment to support the running of the new depots.

GBRf are also thrilled to have been awarded increased bulk and network services, which will ensure the future modernisation of the railways. GBRf have won 44 per cent of bulk services, which will see them move ballast around the country. Whilst in another major win, GBRf have been awarded 53 per cent of network services, which position fleet around the country in order to carry out railway modernisation. GBRf will operate 16 trains on a daily basis, representing the largest area of growth within this tender.

GBRf will continue to support infrastructure improvements and enhancements across the network with Network Rail possession trains. GBRf have been awarded annual possession hours, along with an enlarged geographical spread. This will open up increased opportunity in areas GBRf has historically had a lesser presence in. One such example is the West of England, where the contract will bring with it yet more opportunities and upskilling of staff, as well as ensuring strong GBRf coverage across the whole of the UK.

Finally, Network Rail has also awarded seasonal services to deal with weather related issues such as leaf fall contamination in Autumn, and snow and ice treatment in Winter. These services are critical to keeping the country moving and passenger trains operating safely during adverse weather conditions. GBRf have strengthened their market position in this area by their fantastic work and high performance in CP5.

GBRf is enthusiastically moving into CP6, which runs through to March 2024. The opportunities it will afford to GBRf, and the role it will enable the company to play in ensuring the future prosperity of the UK rail network, is very exciting.

Mark Wyborn, General Manager at GB Railfreight, stated

“This is great news for GBRf, securing a long-term commitment with Network Rail for the next five years is key, as is the growth we have seen by operating more yards (LDC’s) and more haulage trains than we did in the last Control Period.

The growth and commitment from Network Rail is testament to our performance and reputation that we have built on over the last 5 years. This is another huge step within the infrastructure portfolio for GBRf as we continue to look for more diverse opportunities.”

Rob Morton, Director of Supply Chain Operations, Network Rail, added

“These contracts demonstrate the commercially creative approach Network Rail’s supply chain now adopts. We have applied a more collaborative and forward-thinking style to our sourcing than previously, which aligns not only our goals, but those of our supply partners.

The new contracts provide us with sufficient flexibility to direct our spend to those suppliers who deliver the best service. We have also ensured the deals have appropriate mutual benefit to maximise their longevity and chance of delivering successfully.”

GB Railfreight Invest In Cutting Edge Training With New Simulators

GB Railfreight (GBRf) have today confirmed that they are investing in two new state of the art simulators, which will form part of their new training school at Peterborough.

At a total cost of £850,000, they will be the UK’s first and only full cab freight European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) capable simulators. They will be used by new and existing drivers for basic training, advanced training as part of the Driver rules exam, Mentor and Instructor training and post incident reconstruction. They will initially cover the journey from Kings Cross to Peterborough, and are designed with a route building tool which will enable the addition of all other GBRf routes going forward.

The new simulators are being built with the recycled remains of locomotive no. 66734, which was involved in a landslip derailment at Loch Treig back in 2012. Now in the final months of construction, the simulators are being fitted out in France at Corys, having been subject to a fantastic refurbishment by EMD Longport in 2018.

The simulators are due for completion in June 2019.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“GB Railfreight has always been committed to training, both internally and externally- We are training the railway employees of the future. The GBRf training team is currently overseeing the establishment of a?new training school at Peterborough, which will?provide?a state-of-the-art learning environment for all?trainees, including 3 high tech classrooms and the new simulators.

When finished, these simulators will enable us to provide cutting edge training not only to GBRf staff, but the wider rail industry. We are hugely exited for their completion.”

GB Railfreight Helps Launch New Caledonian Sleeper Coaches

UK rail freight operator GB Railfreight (GBRF) are proud to have been working with Caledonian Sleeper in launching their new Mark 5 Sleeper coaches, with a special run yesterday (10 April) for invited guests.

The overnight service is being transformed with the new passenger carriages and will begin full Mark 5 operations from the end of May 2019.

Over the past 18 months, GBRf in partnership with Wabtec have modified twelve Class 92 and six Class 73 locomotives to haul these vehicles on both the Lowlander Caledonian Sleeper route, between Euston and Edinburgh and Glasgow, and in due course the Highlander Caledonian Sleeper routes to Fort William, Aberdeen and Inverness.

The locomotives have been fitted with new Dellner couplings and electronics, which include additional safety features, improved on-train communication and power upgrades to supply the requirements for the train’s air-conditioning, on-board showers and catering facilities.

In addition to locomotive provision, GBRf also supply the drivers for each service as part of the long-term contract with Serco which operates Caledonian Sleeper. This has meant bespoke training for around ninety members of GBRf staff on the features of the new trains.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“The successful delivery of these locomotives and the drivers for the Caledonian Sleeper service demonstrates the value and skills in our rail service business.

It has been an exciting partnership with Serco and CAF, and the end result is a transformed service for passengers. We’re very proud of our involvement in helping to secure this service between Scotland and England for years to come.”

Ryan Flahery, Serco’s Managing Director of Caledonian Sleeper, added:

“GBRf is one of our trusted Caledonian Sleeper partners. We have worked closely to ensure that our guests will be able to experience the best possible service and are very pleased with the expertise and skills GBRf has brought to the table to help deliver these trains. We look forward to continuing our successful working relationship long into the future.”

GB Railfreight And British Gypsum Celebrate Contract Extension

GB Railfreight are today pleased to announce they have agreed a contract extension with British Gypsum, which will see their partnership continue through to December 2021.

The extension will mean not only the continuation of GBRf’s existing service from Southampton to British Gypsum’s plasterboard plant in Robertsbridge, but the provision of further terminal services at Robertsbridge and additional rail haulage flow from AV Dawson in Teeside to British Gypsum’s plant at East Leake, Loughborough.

The contract demonstrates GBRf’s sustained support for the UK building sector, with gypsum forming the main constituent in many forms of plaster, blackboard chalk and wallboard.

An average of 10 services will run per week going forward, with the resource having been running on an ad hoc service out of AV Dawson for British Gypsum since November 2018.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“We are really pleased to see the continuation of this contract with British Gypsum. It marks GB Railfreight’s continued commitment to the UK building sector, to which gypsum is an unsung hero.

It also underlines the important role that rail freight plays in helping the construction sector increase its sustainability. Each trainload can take up to 70 lorries off the road, therefore significantly reducing emissions.”

Kevin Flinton, Senior Procurement Manager at British Gypsum, said:

“GBRf ’s rail freight services play an important role in the success of our business, enabling the reliable flow of raw materials to our manufacturing plants and ensuring the supply of our products to the UK construction sector.

Our use of rail freight underlines our commitment to increasing the sustainability of operations in the UK and the addition of extra services highlights the health of our business and the strength of our partnership with the GBRf.”

GB Railfreight signs contract with Progress Rail for Class 56 and 69 repowers

GB Railfreight (GBRf) is delighted to announce that it has signed a lease and contract with Progress Rail for a new repower project, following the purchase of 16 locomotives from UK Rail Leasing (UKRL) in June 2018. Progress Rail’s facility at Longport, Stoke-on-Trent, will repower the 16 Class 56 locomotives with EMD engines. The locomotives, which will be redesignated as Class 69, enable the continued expansion of the UK’s fastest growing rail freight company.

With the first prototype 69 001 locomotive due for delivery in May 2020, the contract will upgrade the original British Rail Class 56 locomotives, reusing assets at risk of becoming scrapped or underutilized. Originally built during 1976-1984, the Class 56 repower conversion will upgrade the locomotives existing Ruston-Paxman RK3 engines and control gear with EMD 12-710 Series engines, rated for EU Stage IIIA emissions certification, and updated electronic controls, based upon the world-renowned Class 66 locomotives.

The upgrade ensures modernized and environmentally friendly locomotives, with more power, reduced fuel consumption and improved emissions, along with enhanced driver cab environment and performance.

The re-engineering of these locomotives will benefit the wider UK rail freight market, providing a powerful fleet which meets stringent EU emissions regulations. It will also address the shortage of locomotives currently available in the UK, with increased availability providing greater flexibility to GBRf and their customers by enabling the movement of other heavy freight locomotives around the country and more flexibility to different flows.

Delivery of the initial Class 69 will also be significant, becoming the first in the class, it will be named and have special livery with a press launch to be advised.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“This is a fantastic move, which will enable GBRf to expand its operations significantly, whilst also providing the extra freight capacity the industry really needs. I remember working on the BR Class 56’s as a young engineer, and it really will be amazing to see them come back into use under the GBRf banner!

It’s also great to see the continuation of our partnership with Progress Rail and their EMD locomotives and engines, with whom we first worked on such a project back in 2013- long may our successful relationship continue.”

Billy Ainsworth, Group President of Energy & Transportation for Caterpillar Inc., said:

“As a part of Caterpillar, we believe in delivering sustainable solutions. Progress Rail is pleased to see our customers also support that mission. We look forward to helping GBRf with their freight initiatives through our EMD brand, this time working together to ensure rail upgrades become a reality for the United Kingdom. Renewing fleets, such as GBRf’s, with our advanced EMD engines and upgraded locomotive technologies, will allow the railway to achieve lower emissions and higher performance compared to prior models.”

GB Railfreight Celebrate Release Of Newly Repainted Class 47s

GB Railfreight (GBRf) are today proud to release from repaint two of their Rail Service Class 47 locomotives, numbers 47 739 and 47 749 named ‘City of Truro.’

The locomotives have been repainted by Arlington Fleet Services at Eastleigh and will be moved to Leicester, where they will be based specially for GBRf Rail Service moves of rolling stock. These locomotives have been fitted, along with a third 47 727, with translator and Dellner Couplings for hauling unit stock moves.

47 739 has been painted in the GBRf blue livery and 47 749 has been painted in British Rail blue livery with GBRf logos and red backed nameplates. Both have the new GBRf Rail Services logo applied.

Bob Tiller, Director of Engineering at GBRf, said:

“GBRf are pleased to have refurbished and repainted these locomotives to provide a reliable and efficient traction to our Rail Services division. With the inbuilt translator equipment, we can provide a flexible service to multiple unit moves and other rolling stock.”