GB Railfreight’s regional investment continues with new Peterborough HQ, officially opened by Rail Minister

GB Railfreight’s regional investment continues with new Peterborough HQ, officially opened by Rail Minister

John Smith, CEO of GB Railfreight and Chris Heaton-Harris MP, Minister of State for Transport

Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris MP, officially opened the new GB Railfreight (GBRf) Peterborough headquarters today, marking a major long-term investment into the local area by the leading UK rail freight company.

The new £3 million building accommodates GBRf’s traincrew and office staff including its 24-hour control centre, training and operations departments, as well as the asset management team.

GBRf will look to become the industry’s leading training provider for those embarking on a promising career in rail freight. The building plays host to three new purpose-built classrooms and state-of-the-art simulators which will be used to develop future generations of talent from the local area and beyond.

This year alone, 120 people are expected to use the facility and develop skills to qualify for a variety of roles from trainee train drivers to apprenticeships.

Sustainability and wellbeing are central to the new headquarters, with features such as solar panels, electric vehicle charging points and cycle racks as well as a catering hub and new shower facilities for its around the clock staff. This reinforces GBRf’s commitment to sustainability and investing in its workforce.

John Smith, Paul Bristow MP, Chris Heaton-Harris MP, Councillor Wayne Fitzgerald, Leader of the Peterborough City Council

John Smith, CEO of GB Railfreight, said:

The new Peterborough headquarters is one of GBRf’s single largest investments to date and builds on our ever-growing presence in the local community and commitment to regional development. As we build towards a brighter future, we want to foster the next generation of rail freight talent and our new headquarters will help us achieve this aim.”

Chris Heaton-Harris MP, Rail Minister, said:

“It is a pleasure to open the brand-new GB Railfreight headquarters, which will provide future generations with the essential skills and knowledge for a successful career in rail freight.

“Our rail freight sector has kept our country and economy moving through the pandemic, and we will continue to support the growth of this key industry, particularly as we look to decarbonise transport and deliver net-zero by 2050.”

GB Railfreight complete £1.5 million upgrade to Eastleigh and Bescot LDCs for Network Rail

GB Railfreight complete £1.5 million upgrade to Eastleigh and Bescot LDCs for Network Rail

26th July 2021 – GB Railfreight (GBRf) has completed two major upgrade projects funded by Network Rail worth over £1.5 million, aimed at improving vital Local Distribution Centres (LDCs) in Eastleigh and Bescot.

Both LDCs act as a focal point for the shunting, marshalling and preparation of trains needed to support vital engineering works carried out by Network Rail.

The work on Eastleigh LDC, in Hampshire, has been two years in the making with GBRf replacing old cabins with updated facilities that provide full recreational capability, offices for management, a meeting room, as well as a vantage point that overlooks the yard. Alongside this, GBRf undertook a car park overhaul, maximising the potential parking for those operating onsite.

Staff officially relocated to the new facility on 1 June, moving from temporary accommodation which has been a welcome change.

The West Midlands-based Bescot LDC has undergone a series of works to repair and renew underinvested and unsafe track at the site. The project included the removal of abandoned buildings, lighting upgrade works, installation of Armco crash barriers, new safe walking routes and safety steps, and reinstatement of siding 1 which has been derelict for many years by using recycled rail and sleepers.

Backed by Network Rail Supply Chain Operations (SCO) and the Network Rail Freight Safety Improvement Fund, Bescot LDC has been hugely improved to prevent derailments.

Mike Black, Supply Chain Services Director of Network Rail said:

“Local distribution centres may not instinctively sound like the most critical part of running a railway, but they’re absolutely vital to maintaining and renewing the railway, and keeping our passengers and freight moving.

“The improvements delivered at Eastleigh and Bescot are part of our wider strategy to modernise supply chain operations sites in order to make working practices even safer and more efficient while also improving performance.”

 David Golding, Asset Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“Our partnership with Network Rail has seen the completion of both projects on time and within budget, providing the facilities needed to ensure the smooth running of LDCs, which are a vital part of our infrastructure system in the UK. This work will help to bring LDCs into the twenty-first century, as we see demand for UK-wide possession and support services increase post-pandemic.”

GBRf extend contract with Belmond for Royal Scotsman, A Belmond Train, Scotland’s haulage

GBRf extend contract with Belmond for Royal Scotsman, A Belmond Train, Scotland’s haulage

GB Railfreight (GBRf) is delighted to announce that it has reached an agreement with Belmond to extend its existing contract to haul Belmond’s prestigious Royal Scotsman luxury sleeper train.

The partnership will last for an additional five years and will see GBRf continue to operate the train’s luxury journeys through spectacular Scottish scenery. The train holds up to forty guests and offers two, three and four night routes through the heart of the Highlands.

Today’s announcement is continued proof of GBRf’s strength and resilience as one of the country’s leading transport companies. Despite the disruption due to COVID-19, GB Railfreight has continued to provide first class services to all its commercial partners and is seeing business flourish despite the uncertain economic outlook.

Gary Franklin, Vice President, Trains & Cruises, Belmond, said:

“We are pleased to continue our relationship with GBRf who have been excellent partners since 2015. We look forward to commencing the Royal Scotsman’s operations again in 2021 – offering truly exceptional journeys through the heart of Scotland.”

John Smith, Managing Director at GB Railfreight, said:

 “We are absolutely delighted to be signing this contract extension with Belmond. As one of the UK’s preeminent luxury travel brands, we are honoured to continue working with them. Our existing relationship goes back to 2015 and to see it continue is a sign of how well we have cooperated over the years. 

“This is also a good sign given the economic uncertainty businesses face in light of the third national lockdown in England. Rail freight has been one of the drivers of economic activity throughout this period and will be needed now more than ever to ensure we recovery quickly. By strengthening partnerships such as the one with Belmond we are doing our bit to put our economy back on track.”

GBRf sign new contract with A.P. Moller – Maersk

GBRf sign new contract with A.P. Moller – Maersk

Photo taken by Joada Allen

GB Railfreight (GBRf) is today announcing a new two-year deal with the global provider of end-to-end logistics services, the Danish company A.P. Moller -Maersk. The first rail collaboration between the two companies.

The service will operate from Felixstowe to Newell & Wright in Tinsley and will consist of daily trains, five times a week. The new built facility at Tinsley will bring new exciting opportunities to the market.

This new agreement sees GBRf operating from a new terminal, in Tinsley, but is a continuation of a longstanding relationship with Newell & Wright, whom GBRf have long worked with.

Today’s announcement also allows for the already strong relationship between GBRf and Maersk to flourish over the coming years. Maersk, a global integrator of container logistics company, active in ocean and inland freight transportation and associated services, such as supply chain management and port operation, has been the largest container shipping line and vessel operator in the world since 1996 and is a leading player in the logistics space. This new service will incorporate five new eco-fret 2 wagons which we have recently procured from VTG.

John Smith, Managing Director at GB Railfreight, said:

“I am delighted we have agreed this contract with Maersk, one of the world’s most renowned logistics and shipping companies. We are a growing organisation, always looking for the next opportunity and working with Maersk was an excellent opportunity. We hope this is the beginning of a great relationship.”

“We are also thrilled to be able to continue to build on our relationship with Newell & Wright, and to be operating from another of their terminals. We look forward to strengthening our ties over the course of the next two years.”

Jeremy Haycock at Maersk said:

“Maersk´s ultimate aim is offering our customers reliable options that streamline their supply chains. As a provider of logistic services, rail is key for us to increase supply chain flexibility for our customers. We will continue to strength our reliability in the UK and for that matter, the relationship with GBRf and Newell & Wright has proven to be of paramount importance.”

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.”

GBRf extend contract with EMDL

GB Railfreight (GBRf) and Electro-Motive Diesel Limited (EMDL), a legal entity of Progress Rail, a Caterpillar Company, have signed a contract extension to the full-service provision arrangements between businesses, which have been in place since 2012.

The new contract extends the size of the GBRf fleet supported by Progress Rail. It also expands repair capacity at both the Doncaster and Peterborough depots and increases the number of field service engineers joining the team.

Representing a significant strengthening of the long-standing relationship between the two companies, this contract supports the GBRf Class 66 locomotive fleet and prepares the ground for the newly re-engineered Class 69 locomotives, the first of which was on trial at Severn Valley Railway. Additionally, Progress Rail will be fitting the innovative PR UptimeTM digital prognostic equipment to the Class 66 fleet, which serves as the next-generation analytics platform, prompting preventative maintenance and continuously improving reliability and performance.

Cementing further years of support, this contract demonstrates GBRf’s faith in Progress Rail’s technical capability and excellent service standards, which have delivered industry-leading asset utilisation to date. This deal secures a long-term future for both businesses in the ever-growing rail freight market in the United Kingdom.

GBRf Asset Director David Golding said:

“We are pleased to announce this contract extension with EMDL, a well-established and reliable partner for our business. This is a significant enhancement, which will enable GBRf to expand its operations, whilst also providing extra field service and engineering capacity the business needs.”

EMDL Sales Director Jon Caen added:

“We are delighted to be working with GB Railfreight on this exciting project. This contract extension solidifies a successful relationship and provides both companies with a long-term future. Supporting fleet maintenance digitalisation, the fitment of PR UptimeTM across the Class 66 and 69 fleets brings the most advanced analytics technology available.”

GBRf partners with Porterbrook to build 100 new wagons

Following an extended commercial exercise, GB Railfreight (GBRf) has chosen to partner with British rolling stock company, Porterbrook, for the build of 100 Greenbrier 60’ intermodal twins.

This partnership will manage the production of wagons by Greenbrier, a renowned railcar manufacturer, which will see the first batch rolling off the production line in August 2022. The manufacturing process is scheduled to supply ten intermodal twin wagons per month, meaning that the total of 100 vehicles are expected to be operational in the UK by summer 2023.

The contract will initially operate on ten-year dry lease and marks another step towards promotion of sustainable and low-carbon freight transport.

John Smith, Managing Director at GB Railfreight, said:

“I am delighted to be partnering again with Porterbrook, a company at the heart of the UK’s rail network, on this exciting project. At GBRf, we always look to work with leading companies in the transport sphere and we couldn’t ask for a better partner than Porterbrook. By working together we are proving that our sector continues to combine innovation and resilience which will be vital as we move towards more sustainable modes of transport.”

“We are also thrilled to be able to work with an innovative manufacturer such as Greenbrier, and see this as a continuation of an excellent long-standing relationship”.

Mary Grant, Porterbrook CEO, said:

“We are very pleased that GBRf have chosen Porterbrook to support their ambitious intermodal expansion plans. This builds on our 15 year relationship with a truly innovative company.

“Today’s announcement also signifies a renewed commitment by Porterbrook to investing in rail-freight, which has a key role to play in reducing long distance lorry movements and supporting the Green Recovery.”

GB Railfreight and Hanson announce new contract

GB Railfreight (GBRf) are delighted to announce a two-year deal with Hanson for services from Shap Quarry in Cumbria to Tuebrook in Liverpool.

GBRf will operate an average of two trains a week, having successfully trialled two services already over the last week. Each train is expected to convey approximately 1,800 tonnes of aggregate material.

GBRf and Hanson have developed the terminal from under-utilised rail land at the Merseyside site and today’s announcement marks the start of a new rail service to support Hanson’s aggregate supplies to their Liverpool sites.

The deal builds on an incredibly successful partnership between GB Railfreight and Hanson, which already sees the movement of aggregates from Shap to Hanson’s site at Ashton in Makerfield. Today’s announcement is also further proof of the resilience of the rail freight industry which has been going at full steam despite the uncertain economic outlook.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

We are absolutely thrilled to be working with Hanson once again. Having developed this new terminal, we have put the land to good use and will strengthen our deep commercial ties with an additional service.

“Given the economic picture remains mixed, it is great that our industry and the wider infrastructure sector continue to show leadership which will stear the country back on track after COVID-19. Today’s announcement is another example of this.”

James Whitelaw, Managing Director of Hanson Aggregate said:

“This is an exciting new venture for us in conjunction with GB Railfreight (GBRf) and is part of our plan to grow our UK network of depots.”

GBRf kick off new service from Portbury

GB Railfreight (GBRf), one of the largest rail freight operators in the UK, has officially begun a new service from Portbury to Acton, in partnership with AI.

Responding at short notice, there was the requirement for the GBRf team to immediately start working to learn the new route, familiarise themselves with the new site, and prepare for the smooth operation of the first few services.

These services, which began at the end of January, will move 90,000 tonnes of aggregate, which amounts to approximately 60 trains and considerations are being given to further shipments.

The agile establishment of this service is further proof of the excellent service GBRf provides and builds on existing supply routes and flows of aggregates the transport company already run for AI.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“We were absolutely delighted to be approached by AI to run this service. We have a longstanding relationship with them and they are a valued partner for us. I would also like to congratulate the GBRf team for the smooth running of this service last month.

“We are also pleased to have secured this traffic because it reinforces what we already know – that GB Railfreight is one of the most trusted transport operators in the UK and one you can rely on to turn around work in a short space of time. I couldn’t be prouder of the team we have here at GBRf.”

Simon Blake, General Manger – Rail of Aggregate Industries, said:

“We are delighted to have been able to work so quickly with support from GBRf to convert a window of opportunity, to a practical and commercially sound reality. This new source of material will further support the Aggregate Industries offer for both sustainable delivery and surety of supply for construction materials to the South East market.”

GBRf extend contract with GRS Rail Services

GB Railfreight (GBRf) is delighted to announce that it has signed a five-year deal with GRS Rail Services, a joint venture between Tarmac and aggregates trading company GRS , in an extension to its existing contract.

The new GRS Rail Services contract builds on a partnership between the two businesses that begun in 2016, primarily supplying rail haulage services between the UK’s largest granite quarry, Mountsorrel Quarry in Leicestershire, operated by Tarmac, and a major aggregates supply depot at Wellingborough, Northamptonshire operated by GRS. The Wellingborough depot was developed between Network Rail, GB Railfreight, Tarmac and GRS to support major infrastructure projects such as the redevelopment of the A14 in Cambridgeshire, one of the country’s biggest highways schemes in recent years.

Over the course of the last five years, the contract has evolved to serve new supply points, such as Swinden Quarry, North Yorkshire, and Tunstead Quarry, Derbyshire, and feed new railheads in Luton and Northampton. GBRf and GRS Rail Services have also moved over 1.8 million tonnes of aggregates across the UK to support the construction industry and prevented almost 100,000 lorry loads from using our roads. The announcement today of this contract renewal signals the resilience of a longstanding and fruitful relationship between GBRf and GRS.

This partnership will allow for the operation of services from the Peak District to terminals at Wellingborough, Luton, Northampton and Peterborough, as well as the redevelopment of Wellingborough Aggregates Depot.

John Smith, Managing Director at GB Railfreight, said:

“I am absolutely delighted to be unveiling this contract extension with GRS Rail Services. We have worked with GRS for a number of years and our partnership has been fruitful from the very start.

“Given the uncertain economic picture we are facing at this time, it is more important than ever to continue with the work we have done so successfully throughout 2020 and today’s contract extension will ensure we keep the economy moving in the right direction as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Jon Fisher, Chief Executive at GRS said:

“Our partnership with GB Railfreight has gone from strength to strength, allowing us to meet the construction industry’s demand for aggregates with the lowest possible carbon footprint and in the most efficient way possible.

Rail freight produces a fraction of the carbon and particulate emissions of road haulage, and although lorries are still needed for local distribution, thanks to GB Railfreight we can cover most of the journey from aggregates source quarries to construction site by rail. We’re looking forward to developing our partnership over the years ahead.”