Hanson Restores Rail Link To Ashton-In-Makerfield With The Help Of GB Railfreight

Hanson has invested £250,000 in restoring the railway siding at its plant in Ashton-in-Makerfield. It is the first time rail freight has been run into the depot for some 10 years, and will see hundreds of lorry journeys taken off the roads each year.

Working in partnership with GB Railfreight, Hanson will run three trains a week from its quarry in Shap, Cumbria down to its site in Ashton. It is expected that over 200,000 tonnes of material will be taken by rail each year along this new route, which saw its first service run on 15th October.

Hanson UK’s regional general manager for the north Simon Day said: “The investment in the site is an important part of our rail strategy. We are working to try to increase the tonnage of aggregates we transport this way across the UK. These three trains a week will take around 1,500 truck journeys off the road each year and mean that we only need to put the material onto road transport for the last 5 – 10 miles rather than the 60 – 80 miles we do now. This will reduce the distances travelled on the road by our truck fleet by around 500,000 miles per year.”

GB Railfreight’s Managing Director John Smith said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Hanson on this new service, which will be using one of GB Railfreight’s recently purchased class 60 locomotives.This partnership is further demonstration of the role freight can play in taking trucks off the road and reducing emissions.”

The material will be used by the company’s asphalt and concrete plants as well as supplying the construction market in the north west of England.

As well as refurbishing the rail track serving the site, money is being spent on upgrading the depot including the installation of a new weighbridge and office facilities.

About Hanson UK
Hanson is the UK’s leading supplier of heavy building materials to the construction industry, employing 3,500 people and producing aggregates (crushed rock, sand and gravel), ready-mixed concrete, asphalt, cement and cement-related materials. Hanson is part of the HeidelbergCement Group, one of the largest building materials manufacturers in the world.


For further information please contact:
Phil Pitt, Hanson communications and marketing
01628 774113

New Review Into Rail An Opportunity For Freight, Says GB Railfreight

GB Railfreight welcomes the government’s announcement of a new rail review yesterday (Thursday 20th September), aimed at considering all parts of the UK’s rail network. This must include, however, the rail freight sector, which plays a pivotal role in the delivery of goods, commodities and building materials around the country.

The turmoil created by the recent timetabling issues experienced by passenger services has also negatively impacted freight services. Open access freight companies have not been issued with a December timetable, meaning Network Rail will be improvising essentially. Additionally, there wasn’t appropriate consultation with rail freight operators before the cancellation of timetables, which has placed a burden on the sector.

GB Railfreight is proud of the role that it plays in increasing the productivity of UK plc, from reducing congestion and lowering air pollution by removing lorries from the roads to supplying companies up and down the country with the materials needed to build houses, lay roads and dig tunnels. Any review into the railways must ensure that this part of the sector is allowed to continue to flourish as it has done since privitisation.

Commenting on the review, John Smith, GB Railfreight’s managing director, said:

“Given the role we play, shifting goods worth billions of pounds per year and helping the UK become more productive and sustainable, rail freight expects to play a central role in the discussions around the railways’ future. If we do not, the government and Network Rail risk undermining all the fantastic work we have done since the mid-90s to create a thriving business.

“More than that, we see this as a vital opportunity to ensure the regulatory landscape is most beneficial to rail freight, putting it on a secure footing to grow new routes, open up new markets, and develop new freight terminals. GB Railfreight will be at the forefront of these conversations, leading the way for the industry, and making sure rail is given its due consideration as a freight transportation option now and well into the future.”

GB Railfreight Runs First Commercial Service To IPort Rail

On Tuesday 18th September, GB Railfreight Class 66 locomotive no. 66752, ‘The Hoosier State’ had the privilege of being the first freight train to arrive at the newly-opened iPort Rail inland port in Rossington, Doncaster.

The fully loaded service began its journey on Tuesday morning, departing from Solent Stevedores at 05:07, before arriving at iPort Rail at 14.33 on Tuesday afternoon, where its intermodal cargo was unloaded. New containers were loaded on, and the train departed at 18:04 back to Southampton, a service that will now run five days a week.

Made up of 36 platforms, the arrival marked a milestone as the first commercial service to arrive at the £14m, 30-acre iPort Rail terminal. This new facility provides a state-of-the-art rail freight hub able to accommodate the UK’s longest trains up to six times a day, six days a week. It currently has storage for 1,500 TEU storage containers, plus room for expansion, with each of the reach stackers on site able to lift up to 115 tonnes. Connected via the South Yorkshire Joint Freight Line direct to the East Coast Main Line and the UK national rail network, it has been designed to meet Channel Tunnel (SACTFF) approved secure facility standards for international movements.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“GB Railfreight is absolutely thrilled to be the first commercial service to arrive at the newly-opened iPort Rail facility in Doncaster. Its opening marks a great development for the UK freight industry. The fact the loco went from Solent Stevedores to iPort also shows the excellent relationship we have with the team in Southampton. We look forward to seeing these partnerships flourish even more going forward.

More broadly, this new intermodal flow demonstrates that rail freight has a key role to play in delivering goods around the country and is primed to expand should the opportunity arise. Doing so takes lorries off our roads, reduces congestion and lowers air pollution which is a factor in tens of thousands of premature deaths. GBRf will continue to press government on this, and with the new service to and from iPort Rail, we have an outstanding example.”

Steve Freeman, Managing Director of iPort Rail, said:

“This is a very important milestone for iPort Rail, opening up a new logistics route into and out of South Yorkshire and reinforcing our strong working relationship with GBRf.

iPort is the perfect logistics location – very close to the M18 and Doncaster Sheffield Airport and within two hours of Hull and Immingham as well as being around seven hours from the UK’s other major ports. 87% of the UK mainland population is within a four-hour drive time. We’re really proud of the standard of facilities here and our team has been focussing most of all on efficient operations that will give everyone a short turnaround time.

From here we are continuing to build up services to the facility and are looking forward to working closely with GBRf going forward to link iPort Rail with other sea ports and logistics hubs around the country.”

Fiona Robson, Managing Director of Solent Stevedores, said:

“Over the last 12 months we have developed an excellent working partnership with GBRf. We are absolutely thrilled to see them grow their services from our terminal, which is the result of a huge amount of hard work from both teams and testament to the excellent facility we operate – now one of the most efficient of its kind in the UK. We are excited to build on this success with GBRf moving forward.”

About iPort Rail
iPort Rail is a new, 30-acre multimodal rail freight facility in Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Developed by pan-European logistics real estate specialists Verdion, it is the UK’s first inland port to be open and operational for ten years. iPort Rail is a state-of-the-art, high volume, secure container site. Connected via the South Yorkshire Joint Freight Line direct to the East Coast Main Line and the UK national rail network, it has been designed to accommodate the UK’s longest trains and meet Channel Tunnel (SACTFF) approved secure facility standards for international movements. It currently has storage for 1,500 TEU storage containers, with each of the two reach stackers on site able to lift up to 115 tonnes.

iPort Rail is part of iPort, the UK’s most advanced multimodal logistics hub, already home to some of the industry’s leading logistics occupiers, including Amazon, CEVA, Fellowes and Lidl.

For further information about iPort Rail or iPort, please contact
Hebe Hamilton: 07921 477 552
Laura Torrance: 07595 276 254

For further information, please visit www.iportrail.com www.iportuk.com www.verdion.com

About Solent Stevedores
Solent Stevedores operate a 6 acre Intermodal Rail Facility within the Port of Southampton, directly adjacent to the UK’s second largest Container Terminal. A recent £5m investment program undertaken in partnership with Associated British Ports to improve infrastructure and equipment has halved turnaround times, trebled capacity and driven container throughput. Further work is planned in Q1 2019 to lengthen the terminal’s rail sidings to accommodate longer trains and enable two services to be handled simultaneously – further improving capacity.

For further information, please contact
Solent Stevedores
Tom Dynes

For information, please visit www.solentstevedores.co.uk

GB Railfreight And The Worshipful Company Of Paviors Christen ‘The Pavior’

GB Railfreight, in partnership with The Worshipful Company of Paviors, is today (14th September) pleased to announce the naming of its new locomotive, The Pavior.

The locomotive, number 66758, was christened at a ceremony at Tarmac’s Harper Lane site in Radlett at 12.30pm this afternoon. The loco is named in honour of The Worshipful Company of Paviors, who were historically responsible for the pavements of the City of London, and over the years have been critical to the development of the craft of paving, road making, general construction and infrastructure. Its modern membership includes the leaders of construction in the UK. The loco will be used across the GBRf business and numerous routes going forward.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said of the naming:

“We have always been proud of our longstanding friendship with The Worshipful Society of Paviors, an organisation of such great history and pageantry. We are delighted that GB Railfreight today becomes part of the Paviors’ rich history with the naming of The Pavior, long may our friendship continue.”

Dyfrig James, The Master of The worshipful Company of Paviors said:

“The Paviors are extremely proud to have a locomotive named after them, it is a very significant moment in our 700-year history and demonstrates the close link with the industry of today. Our sincere thanks to GB Raifreight and its CEO John Smith in particular.”

About the Worshipful Society of Paviors
The Paviors are a City of London Livery Company with records dating back to 1276 but now with aims to promote the craft of paving through outreach programmes and fellowship.

For further information, please visit www.paviors.org.uk

GB Railfreight Agrees Sale And Leaseback Of 10 Class 60 Locomotives With Beacon Rail

GB Railfreight (GBRf) is today pleased to announce that it has agreed a sale and long-term leaseback of 10 class 60 locomotives with Beacon Rail, marking the latest expansion of its locomotive fleet. The move continues to underline what an exciting period of growth this is for GBRf, as the company continues to move further into the commodities market, including biomass and aggregate industries.

The new locomotives will enable both higher trailing weights on certain routes, as well as offering greater efficiency. In particular, the increase in the number of locomotives means that there can be further growth on existing contracts, including GBRf’s ‘Flying Dustman’ service in partnership with Biffa. This started back in March, and sees muck taken away from sites in major industrial centres Manchester and Leeds.

John Smith, Managing Director of GBRf, said of the transaction:

“GB Railfreight is thrilled to be in the position to expand our fleet of locos in this way. The move is demonstrative of why GBRf is the UK’s fastest growing rail freight company, and this rate of development will only continue. Many thanks to the team at Beacon Rail for helping to make this expansion a reality.”

Trevor Butler, Senior Director of Lease Originations at Beacon Rail said:

“Beacon Rail is excited to agree this important transaction with our long-standing and valued customer GB Railfreight and to be part of GBRf’s continuing growth.”

GB Railfreight signs Armed Forces Covenant in honour of Armed Forces Day

GB Railfreight signs the Armed Forces Covenant in honour of Armed Forces Day

In honour of Armed Forces Day, on 28th June 2018, GB Railfreight once again showed its ongoing commitment to the Armed Forces community by signing the Armed Forces Covenant. The Covenant represents a promise by the nation that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly.

Through the Covenant, GB Railfreight recognises the value serving personnel, reservists, veterans and military families bring to their business, with GB Railfreight promising to uphold the following commitments:

  • Proactively demonstrating the fact that we are an armed forces-friendly organisation by promoting the various branches of the military and honouring the sacrifices of serving and retired personnel and their families have made;
  • Seeking to support the employment of veterans, young and old, and working with the Career Transition Partnership (CTP), in order to establish a tailored employment pathway for Service Leavers at GB Railfreight;
  • Striving to support the employment of Service spouses and partners, recognising through our working practices that special consideration is often required, and providing the flexibility that entails, for instance around spousal deployment;
  • Seeking to support our employees who choose to be members of the Reserve forces, including by accommodating their training and deployment where possible, and providing consideration for their spouses in such circumstances;
  • Offering support to our local cadet units, either in our local community or in local schools, where possible, offering opportunities to see the work of GB Railfreight, to hear from our workforce, and to provide backing for events that the units wish to run or take part in;
  • Aiming to actively participate in Armed Forces Day to commemorate the heroism of our servicemen and women from all branches of the military.

We will publicise these commitments through our literature, and/or on our website, through media engagement, and via our workplace app, Track Chat, setting out how we will seek to honour them and inviting feedback from the Service community and our customers on how we are doing.

GB Railfreight’s signing of the Armed Forces Covenant formalises a history of commitment from the company to supporting the armed forces community. In addition to its employment of ex-services personnel, GB Railfreight has previously renamed two of its Class 66 locomotives ‘Royal Corps of Signals’ and ‘HMS Argyll’, painting them in a special livery and adorning them with crests and insignia.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said of the Covenant:

“Both personally and as a company, we are honoured to now be a business signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant. The work that the men and women of our armed forces do could never be fully repaid, but GB Railfreight hopes that through our signing of the Covenant, in a small way we can show our enduring gratitude to the sacrifice that is made on a daily basis by these brave men and women, as well as their families back home.

Ex-servicepeople bring a unique skill set to GB Railfreight, and we look forward to welcoming more heroes to the GB team going forward.”

GB Railfreight wins Elizabeth Line Maintenance Contract

GB Railfreight wins Elizabeth Line Maintenance Contract

GB Railfreight (GBRf) is pleased to announce its success in winning the Elizabeth line Yellow Plant contract, agreeing a five-year deal with the potential for a three-year extension.

The contract will see GBRf operating and maintaining Yellow Plant for Transport for London (TfL) on the newly-built Elizabeth line. Delivering this contract will see GBRf’s involvement in the Crossrail construction project come full circle. In 2012 GBRf supported the Crossrail tunnel excavation, taking London spoil from Westbourne Park to Northfleet. The product ended up on Wallasea Island, creating Europe’s largest man-made wetland nature reserve which supports GBRf’s sustainability goals. Since then, GBRf has been heavily involved in the Elizabeth line tunnel fit-out, supplying up to 27 drivers a day, seven days a week.

The contract is demonstrative of just how far GBRf has come in recent years. Operating and maintaining Yellow Plant sees the company diversify from its traditional business model of ‘hook and haul’, to a more varied business model. This enhances and progresses GBRf’s vision for growth in both its engineering and operations.

John Smith, Managing Director of GBRf said:

“Winning the Elizabeth line Yellow Plant contract is fantastic news. Having been heavily involved with delivery of construction rail services for the project, the award of a longer-term operations and maintenance contract shows just how valued GBRf’s contribution has been. Whilst mainly invisible to those above ground Crossrail is a civil engineering marvel that will transform London’s transport system. I’m extremely proud of GBRf’s involvement with the whole venture.”

Mark Wyborn, GBRf’s Infrastructure General Manager, commented on the deal:

“Winning this contract is great news for GBRf and this paves the way for diversification and sustainability. It is a great opportunity to continue the hard work on the Elizabeth line and knowing that GBRf has contributed to each phase of this huge infrastructure build and will continue to do so, is fantastic for us.”

The contract is expected to begin in September 2018.


For further information, please contact:
Westbourne Communications
020 3397 0100

About GB Railfreight
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, with a turnover in excess of GBP 120m. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers.

GBRf awards Alstom maintenance contract for Caledonian Sleeper Class 92 locomotives from Wembley depot

GBRf awards Alstom maintenance contract for Caledonian Sleeper Class 92 locomotives from Wembley depot

Alstom has been chosen to provide maintenance support for the Class 92 locomotives that pull the carriages of the Class 92 Caledonian Sleeper service. The locomotives will be maintained at the Alstom Wembley Depot for the next twelve years starting this year, in a contract worth around £15 million.

Alstom will provide full maintenance support for 12 Class 92 locomotives securing employment for a production team of 5 plus a number of support roles at their Wembley Depot.

This new long-term contract, awarded by GB Railfreight (GBRf), will see Alstom expanding their existing portfolio from coach maintenance to managing the maintenance of both carriages and locomotives for the Caledonian Sleeper services. This will continue once the new Sleeper carriages are introduced later this year, streamlining processes and simplifying logistics by providing Serco and GBRf a one-stop shop for maintenance of the entire train.

“It is important the Caledonian Sleeper services are well maintained so that guests can continue to enjoy a highly reliable service and all the benefits the trains offer. Our new contract with GBRf will mean we are responsible for the entire train, delivering seamless maintenance of both locomotives and coaches. It also secures important jobs at our Wembley depot, which is a key train care centre in Alstom’s UK network.” said Nick Crossfield, Managing Director, Alstom UK & Ireland

John Smith, Managing Director of GBRf commented: “The new Caledonian Sleeper service will be a world class journey experience, and the performance of the locomotives is clearly of the highest importance to delivering this service for passengers. We are delighted Alstom will be maintaining the fleet and supporting the delivery of this service.”

David Simpson, Caledonian Sleeper’s Production and Safety Director, said “We welcome this positive news which sees our key partners Alstom and GBRf working even closer together to help us provide a high quality service for our guests. Our service will be transformed later this year with the introduction of a new fleet of sleeper coaches, and this will help to deliver the highest standards of maintenance on our locomotives and coaches.”


For further information, please contact:
Westbourne Communications
020 3397 0100

About GB Railfreight
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, with a turnover in excess of GBP 120m. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers.

About Alstom UK
Alstom has been part of the rail industry in the UK for over a century. We provide the widest range of solutions in the market, from high-speed trains, metros and tramways to maintenance, infrastructure and signalling. In 2017 Alstom opened the UK’s largest and most sophisticated new centre for train modernisation, in Widnes.

About Alstom Global
As a promoter of sustainable mobility, Alstom develops and markets systems, equipment and services for the transport sector. Alstom offers a complete range of solutions (from high-speed trains to metros, tramways and e-buses), passenger solutions, customised services (maintenance, modernisation), infrastructure, signalling and digital mobility solutions. Alstom is a world leader in integrated transport systems. The company recorded sales of €7.3 billion and booked €10.0 billion of orders in the 2016/17 fiscal year. Headquartered in France, Alstom is present in over 60 countries and employs 32,800 people. www.alstom.com

About Serco
Transport Scotland awarded Serco the contract to manage and operate the new and prestigious Caledonian Sleeper franchise in 2014. The franchise, over the 15-year contract period, began on the night of 31st March 2015 and Serco took over the management of all aspects of the Sleeper service including marketing, sales, the on-train hospitality service, vehicle maintenance and the provision of facilities at stations for Sleeper passengers. www.sleeper.scot

Wizard show help guide dogs for the blind

Leanne Buckley, GBRf’s Peterborough-based Locomotive Fleet Planner called on the Wizard of OBS to help her dance school put on a whizz of a show to raise money for Guide Dogs for the Blind. Leanne joined the Vera Frances School of Dance a year ago, just as it was to put on a three-night production of the Wizard of Oz. Everyone involved with the school was asked for sponsorship suggestions and Leanne asked GBRf for support to cover the cost of producing the programme.

“We wanted every penny to go to the charity,” explained Leanne, who had landed the part of an Emerald City Guard. “With GBRf’s help we managed to smash our target and beat previous shows by quite a margin.”

GB Railfreight and Biffa christen “The Flying Dustman”

GB Railfreight and Biffa christen “The Flying Dustman”

Today (Wednesday 28th March) GB Railfreight (GBRf) and Biffa, the waste management company, christen locomotive 66 783 “The Flying Dustman”, to mark the partnership between the two firms. The locomotive has also been painted red in honour of Biffa, rather than the usual blue seen on most of GBRf’s other locomotives.

“The Flying Dustman” was chosen following a naming competition amongst Biffa staff, who were keen to pay light-hearted homage to the historic passenger train service, “The Flying Scotsman”.

The locomotive, which will haul waste on routes across the UK, was named at a ceremony on platform 7 at York station at 2.45pm this afternoon. The locomotive was officially named by John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight and Ian Wakelin, CEO of Biffa.

Mr Smith said:

“We are delighted that GBRf are bringing a sense of fun to the industry with today’s naming. It could not be more fitting name for our collaboration with Biffa, one of the UK’s leading waste management companies, and we look forward to working together over the coming years.”

Mick Davis, Managing Director of Resource Recovery & Treatment Division at Biffa, said:

“The launch of “The Flying Dustman” is an exciting development for Biffa. The partnership with GBRf marks another step forward in our strategy to develop our waste management infrastructure and innovate our customer offering. By increasing the mobility of inactive waste, rail transportation will enhance our service offerings from our existing landfill network whilst also providing significant environmental benefits compared to road transportation. We look forward to working with GBRf over the years to come.”

The locomotive will be seen around the whole of the UK, hauling all kinds of freight from waste and biomass to intermodal.


For further information, please contact:
Westbourne Communications
020 3397 0100

About GB Railfreight
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, with a turnover in excess of GBP 120m. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers.

For further information, please visit www.gbrailfreight.com.

About Biffa
Biffa is a leading UK-based integrated waste management business. The Group operates across the breadth of the waste management value chain, including the collection, treatment, processing and disposal of waste and recyclable materials, as well as related work in the production and sale of energy derived from waste and the sale of recovered commodities such as paper, glass, metals and plastic. Biffa’s customer base for these services includes local authorities (which includes the collection of waste from households), large corporates and SMEs, and purchasers of end-product commodities and energy. Across its operations, the Group managed approximately 3.3mT of waste in Fiscal Year 2017. The Group’s services are organised across four operating divisions: Industrial & Commercial; Municipal; Resource Recovery & Treatment (RR&T); and Energy. In Fiscal Year 2017, the Group’s total revenue was £990.4 million and its underlying EBITDA was £137.7 million. Biffa was successfully admitted to trading on the London Stock Exchange’s main market for listed securities in October 2016 under the ticker “BIFF”.

For further information, please visit www.biffa.co.uk.

For media enquiries contact biffa@onlybeattie.com / 0161 870 9876