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.”

GB Railfreight Supporting Headway and Macmillian

Over the past decade, GBRf has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for national and local charities. These charities change periodically but are always chosen by GBRf employees, and are often linked with railway personnel. Currently we are supporting Headway and Macmillan. We encourage your to visit their websites and read about the amazing work these charities do, amazing work only made possible by people like you supporting them.

GBRf encourages all its employees to take part in fundraising events, these can range from a bake sale to running a 5 day charter train. Pictured above is Daniel Matthews, delivering 40 bags of cloths /bric-à-brac to Headways head office in Nottingham

GB Railfreight Launches New Service From Birch Coppice To Felixstowe

GB Railfreight were this week delighted to launch their new intermodal service from Birch Coppice to Felixstowe. The move demonstrates the sustained growth of GBRf as a business, with the launch marking its 5th new intermodal service in the past 18 months and 2nd service into the Birch Coppice terminal.

The Maritime Transport liveried locomotive left Birch Coppice at 14.14 on Tuesday 22nd January, arriving at Felixstowe at 20.14 the same day, passing through Hams Hall, Leicester, Peterborough and Ipswich along the way. Made up of 33 platforms, the service will transport a mixture of intermodal boxes, and will initially run 5 days a week. The move marks the continued expansion of GBRf’s intermodal offering, numbering its 13th intermodal service to date.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight said:

“We’re thrilled to be putting on this new service, which will be running on a daily basis. It is demonstrative of the wider sea change we are seeing in the rail freight industry, as the UK moves from its industrial roots to become a service and consumer- led economy. This is reflected in the fact that intermodal traffic now accounts for approximately 36% of rail freight industry wide.

The route is also practical, with this new Midlands service meaning Birch Coppice can accommodate business that was going to Hams Hall, allowing our client Wincanton additional space for its logistics operation that is centred around the ABP facility.”

GB Railfreight and Class 50 Alliance collaboration sealed with locomotive repaints

UK rail freight operator GB Railfreight (GBRf) and the Class 50 Alliance (C50A) have today announced that mainline registered Class 50 locomotives 50007 Hercules and 50049 Defiance are to be repainted into the latest GBRf livery.

GBRf worked closely with the C50A in enabling a return to the mainline for their locomotives in 2017 and subsequently through a programme of railtours during 2018 as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Class 50s.

The decision to repaint the locomotives into the striking new livery is a recognition of the developing relationship between the two organisations and marks a new chapter in the story of the Class 50s.

Over the past two years, GBRf has invested in a programme of driver training to enable Class 50 operation over much of the UK rail network. The company has also operated several railtours using the 50007 and 50049s, including The Caledonian in October 2017, returning class 50s to Glasgow for their 50th anniversary.

The repaints will be carried out by Arlington Fleet Services at Eastleigh. GBRf will fund the repainting and also manage the movement of the locomotives to and from Eastleigh.

The first outing for the GBRf-liveried Class 50s will be on Saturday 23rd March when they will work Pathfinder Tours’ Teminator-Pheonixed railtour from London Paddington to Penzance and return to Waterloo. This train will mark 25 years since the final BR operated Class 50 railtour over the same route, The Terminator, which was also promoted by Pathfinder.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“I am delighted that GBRf is sponsoring the repainting of 50007, Hercules and 50049, Defiance, into GBRf livery. Our relationship with the class 50 alliance has grown over the years, with the painting of the two locomotives being an excellent way to recognise the fact. Having first witnessed class 50’s at Crewe in the early 1970s, I never thought the day would arise when one would be painted in the livery of GBRf. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the finished article(s).”

Jonathan Dunster, Director Class 50 Alliance said:

“Today’s announcement marks a significant next step in the story of the Class 50s, and we’re delighted to build on our already successful relationship with GBRf.”

“Since we successfully returned Class 50s to the mainline in 1997, we have gained a great deal of experience, working with many stakeholders across the industry. We have operated around 80 railtours, supplied power for timetabled service trains in South Wales and operated numerous freight and route learning duties. For GBRf to cement our relationship in this way is fantastic news and we look forward to working with the team on an exciting future programme, which kicks off in style when we head to Penzance on 23rd March.”

Following the repaints, the locomotives will be available to operate selected GBRf trains on a ‘spot-hire’ basis. This work will include movement of locomotives between heritage railway gala events, and future railtours. The locomotives will continue to be based at the Severn Valley Railway, but will have easy access to the national network, thanks to the 24-hour connection at Kidderminster.

50007 and 50049 will be unveiled in their new livery at a private event at Eastleigh Works, prior to working a test run and then the railtour on 23rd March.

GB Railfreight To Continue Successful Partnership With Liberty British Aluminium

GB Railfreight are today delighted to announce that they will be continuing their successful partnership with Liberty British Aluminium, having agreed to extend their contract for another three years.

The contract will see GBRf class 66 locomotives hauling alumina from North Blyth to Fort William, on a service that will run six days a week. The service enables the delivery of critical supplies to an industry which is not only central to the West Highlands, but the Scottish economy as a whole.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“We are delighted to see the extension of this historic relationship between GB Railfreight and Liberty British Aluminium. The move will ensure the continuation of rail freight on the West Highland line.

Our ambition at GBRf is to see an increase in the amount of goods and materials transported via rail freight, taking trucks off the road and benefiting the environment.

Ensuring the delivery of materials to a key Scottish industry also secures employment in the West Highlands, and we are proud of the role GBRf are playing in ensuring the economic prosperity of the area.”

Liberty British Aluminium said:

“We at Liberty are incredibly proud to own and operate the only remaining UK aluminium smelter in Fort William. Our partnership with GB Railfreight is important in maintaining the operation of the smelter and our continued investment and growth; creating jobs in the West Highlands.”

Bill Reeve, Transport Scotland’s Director of Rail, said:

“A competitive, sustainable rail freight sector supports our communities and our economy through a safe, green and efficient way of transporting products and materials.

The Scottish Government welcomes the continued commitment of British Aluminium to rail freight to provide the raw materials for its production. This is another example of the importance of the West Highland Line to the economy, environment and communities of Lochaber.”

About Liberty British Aluminium

Liberty British Aluminium is part of the GFG Alliance, a London-headquartered international group of businesses, founded and owned by the British Gupta Family, with annual revenue of over US$15 billion and around 14,000 staff. It combines energy generation, metal manufacturing, engineering, natural resources and financial services, working together to deliver a common business strategy. The Alliance comprises Liberty – an integrated industrial and metals business – SIMEC – a resources and infrastructure group – Wyelands – a banking and financial services arm JAHAMA Estates – a division that manages and develops the Alliance’s global property holdings – and GFG Foundation which focuses on the retention and creation of engineering and industrial skills.