GB Railfreight announce deal with DB Cargo for Class 60 maintenance

Photo courtesy of Ken Short

GB Railfreight (GBRf) has announced a new three-year deal with fellow rail freight company DB Cargo UK to undertake the maintenance of ten Class 60 locomotives as well as providing technical in-field support.

The agreement will see GBRf’s engineering team work closely with DB Cargo UK to drive locomotive performance and provide professional engineering support.

The focus of the contract will be undertaking regular maintenance in line with contracted KPIs whilst driving reliability improvements.

The Class 60 locomotives which have entered service will allow heavier and longer trains to run. This brings environmental benefits as longer trains are more efficient.  The main duties of the locomotives will be hauling biomass to power stations.

This announcement demonstrates a willingness of the rail freight sector to continue investing and working together through this difficult time in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“I am thrilled to be unveiling this new partnership with DB Cargo UK. At this time of economic uncertainty, it is important for the rail freight sector to work together to deliver investment to support its growth.

Most importantly, the economic recovery needs to be green and sustainable and by maintaining these locos we will ensure fewer carbon emissions in the long run. I am pleased that rail freight is playing its part in the economic recovery driven by environmentally sustainable investment.”

Hans-Georg Werner, CEO at DB Cargo UK, said:

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with our colleagues at GB Railfreight providing high quality maintenance services for their Class 60 locomotives. At DB Cargo UK we pride ourselves on the quality of our engineering, with our key focus being on cost-effective locomotive availability and reliability.”

GB Railfreight unveils new sidings at Peterborough

GB Railfreight (GBRf) is set to start operations at its new intermodal sidings at Peterborough. The investment provides GBRf with much needed track capacity – which will be doubled – in order to facilitate the business’ growing intermodal sector.

This is the first of four phases of works to have been completed on this site. GBRf are looking to develop this site further by completing alterations to existing sidings and install additional infrastructure to provide improved access to the East Coast Main Line, allowing GBRf to further increase the capacity of the site.

Other works planned at this location in the near future include a purpose-built wagon maintenance facility in order to support high levels of asset utilisation. The move will provide GB Railfreight with an improved and more efficient wagon maintenance capability along with improved facilities for their maintainers to operate from. This follows the announcement of a new multi million contract for the lease of an additional 52 Ecofret2® Intermodal wagons from VTG, Rail UK Ltd, the UK’s largest private wagon hire company.

To meet increasing demand for rail freight, GBRf are also expanding operations by investing in new offices and training facilities. GBRf recently broke ground for their new office in Peterborough, with the work involving the demolition of existing temporary office buildings and construction of a new building to house a control room, three classrooms, a board room and staff welfare facilities. The training school will support GBRf’s state-of-the-art class 66 simulators, which were unveiled in 2019.

The new intermodal sidings at Peterborough, were completed by MLP Railway Maintenance Ltd which enabled GBRf to finish them ahead of schedule and also within budget. This announcement demonstrates the company’s commitment to investing in the rail freight sector and the UK economy as a whole at this time of uncertainty in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“I am absolutely delighted to be able to unveil the new intermodal sidings at Peterborough. The growth in Intermodal is demonstrative of GBRf’s commitment to leading the way in what is one of the biggest changes in the freight industry’s history, offering flexible and innovative door-to-door solutions that meet our customer’s needs.

“In 2019 GBRf delivered not only growth but also consumer choice in the market with a further four Intermodal services from major deep-sea UK ports, bringing the total to 17 Intermodal services. Despite the current disruption due to COVID-19 we are committed to delivering investment to support the growth of the rail freight sector, ensuring that rail freight can play its part in the economic recovery  driven by environmentally sustainable investment.”

GB Railfreight and CEMEX unveil new service from Dove Holes to Crawley

GB Railfreight (GBRf) and global building materials supplier CEMEX have unveiled a new service from Dove Holes Quarry, Buxton to Crawley.

This was the first train that has been operated by GBRf on the route to Crawley with products being conveyed on cut and shut aggregate hoppers that have been repurposed from coal hoppers. The train ran with 22 wagons and over 1,675 tonnes, exceeding previous deliveries to Crawley by approximately 350 tonnes, and arrived in Crawley on Saturday 18 April.

This is a further example of GB Railfreight continuing to operate during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. Once business as usual has resumed, the new service between Dove Holes and Crawley is expected to run once a week.

John Smith, Managing Director of GBRf, said:

“We are delighted to unveil this new route in partnership with CEMEX. We have a longstanding relationship and the new service, which is expected to run once a week once operations are back to normal is testament to the successful partnership we have forged.

“We are also absolutely committed to keeping Britain on track during the challenging times. GB Railfreight does not shy away from these moments and we are delighted to be doing our bit to keep the economy moving during the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to running more services in the coming weeks and months.”

David Hart, CEMEX UK’s Supply Chain Director, added:

“Our rail network is an important way for us to transport our materials around the country to where they are needed. The addition of this new route allows us to better serve our customers, while the increased capacity offers further sustainability benefits by taking trucks off the road and reducing congestion. We are pleased to partner with GBRf on this new service as they share our commitment to a safe and reliable operation.”

GB Railfreight announce extra investment in Cambridgeshire properties and facilities despite economic uncertainty

Despite the ongoing national and international disruption caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, GB Railfreight (GBRf) one of the UK’s leading rail freight operators, has announced a series of investments into its existing facilities and properties in Cambridgeshire.

GB Railfreight is continuing to invest in its site at Maskew Avenue, in Peterborough where its state-of-the-art simulators are located. This announcement demonstrates the company’s commitment to investing in the UK economy at this time of uncertainty. This follows recent upgrades at its March Up Yard site in late 2019.

Earlier this year the company announced a £3million investment in building a new control room, three classrooms, a board room and staff welfare facilities. The company is delivering further investment at the site including upgrades to the locomotive fuelling system that will improve performance and the safety of staff using it.

GB Railfreight has also been working with Balfour Beatty and Network Rail to enable works to go ahead to create new intermodal sidings.

Meanwhile, at the March Up Yard site, the business is starting to see the benefits of the investment it has put in over the last few months. Operations now include a wagon maintenance and stabling depot. This development has significantly improved all of the Sibelco rail services. The Sibelco contract sees trains run out of Middletown Towers to Goole, Monk Bretton and Barnby Dunn – delivering sand to the northern region.

The depot at March is conveniently situated directly on the route to all of these destinations; making it an efficient and appropriate pit stop to undertake critical wagon maintenance on all of the Sibelco sets. This has saved many dead miles per flow from no longer having to trip everything back to Doncaster for the vital maintenance works that need to be carried out. The strategic acquisition and subsequent development of March not only means we’re improving the efficiency and simplicity of the service, but it is also a fuel saver and better for the environment due to reduced emissions.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said: 

“GB Railfreight is unveiling today a raft of improvements to its facilities in Cambridgeshire as a sign we are confident in the resilience of the British economy. These announcements will also have an impact on how we go forward as a business and we look forward to the next chapter for GBRf.”

GB Railfreight Announce New Infrastructure Manager

GB Railfreight is delighted to announce the appointment of Alex Kirk as General Infrastructure Manager. Alex began his new role this week.

This appointment marks a very exciting time for GBRf.  Over the last few years the business has enjoyed a long period of growth and now has turnover in excess of £200 million a year and operate over 1,000 trainloads a week, moving approximately 23% of the UK’s rail cargo. The infrastructure team is set to play a leading role in supporting the recovery of the railway post COVID-19.

Alex joins GBRf from Network Rail where he began his career as a graduate in the Commercial Freight team. In the six and a half years there, Alex worked as Freight Manager in Wales and then sponsored freight enhancement projects in the South.

In this role, Alex led the Felixstowe branch line project, helping to reshape the project to a successful conclusion.  He finally became Route Logistics Manager in SCO for Wessex, a position where he found himself being the customer for the team he will now go to manage.

Alex brings with him knowledge of Network Rail as well as of the drivers for CP6 and the pressures they face. He has developed strong relationships across Network Rail and Transport for London, which will be key in his new role.

Liam Day, GB Railfreight’s Commercial Director, said:

“The railway has an important role to play in helping the UK to recover from the COVID-19 crisis and our infrastructure team will be playing a significant role in supporting the sector. I am extremely pleased that Alex has joined us as the team’s General Infrastructure Manager. Alex brings great knowledge of the things that are most important to our customers and a real desire to make a difference. He is a fantastic addition to the team.” 

 Alex Kirk said:

I am absolutely delighted to be appointed General Infrastructure Manager. Having worked with GBRf as a customer I can’t wait to get stuck in and see if from the other side. This is an unusual time to start a new job, but I am looking forward to working with the team to help our customers in delivering recovery and future growth for the railway in the UK. I am thrilled to be part of the GBRf family!”

GB Railfreight Contract Renewal with Etex Building Performance

GB Railfreight (GBRf) is delighted to announce Etex Building Performance (EBP) has renewed its contract for three years from 1 August 2020 to 31 July 2023, for the transportation of gypsum to the plasterboard producer’s factory in Ferrybridge. At present, GBRf is delivering the fifth term of their contract for EBP. When the initial contract commenced in 2015, the operation was for flow from Cottam and West Burton Power Stations to EBP’s plants in West Yorkshire and Portbury. The closure of Cottam Power Station and the reduced activity at West Burton resulted in a reduction in contract volume. Despite this, GBRf continued to work with EBP for high quality rail solutions into their operations, providing reliable services and maintaining a strong customer relationship. The contract renewal which will now run until 2023, will see GBRf continue to provide services to and from Ferrybridge.

Managing Director of GBRf John Smith said:

“As an industry, rail freight works hard to support the efficient movement of goods for the UK supply chain and GB Railfreight is proud to help to keep this country’s construction sector moving. The GBRf team are thrilled that our contract with EBP has been renewed for three years. We strive to always deliver the best possible service for our customers, and the continuation of our partnership with EBP demonstrates the success of our operations, providing effective rail freight solutions, continually meeting the needs of our customers and surpassing expectations.”

Purchasing Head of Etex Group UK/IE Paul Brown said:

“EBP is proud to be working collaboratively with GBRf who again prove to be a truly valued partner in delivering outstanding service needs to our operational facilities. This in turn has ensured that EBP is able to deliver on the promises to our customers, which will be more prevalent given the current market dynamics.”

GB Railfreight invest £3 million in new Peterborough office

GB Railfreight are very excited to unveil the plans for a £3 million new ‘operational and training facility’ in Peterborough. Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the UK, with a turnover in excess of £200 million. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers. To meet increasing demand for rail freight, GBRf are expanding operations by investing in new offices and training facilities. At present their fleet management and control centre is located in Peterborough, with a resource centre in Doncaster and additional offices across the UK. Nationwide GBRf have an 850 strong workforce. Lindum have been appointed to undertake the construction of the three-storey office building on Maskew Avenue, on the edge of the city centre. The work will involve the demolition of existing temporary office buildings and construction of a new building to house a control room, three classrooms, a board room and staff welfare facilities. GBRf was granted planning permission for the development in December 2019, with Peterborough based construction company Lindum involved in the project since the early stages. The scheme will be completed in November 2020. John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight said:

“The plans for our new Peterborough office have been a long time in the making and following planning permission being granted at the end of last year, we are eager to get shovels in the ground so that we can provide the best possible facilities for our colleagues. Our decision to award Lindum with the construction contract was an easy one to make. Their reputation and track record sets them apart.”

Speaking about the scheme, Lindum Commercial Manager Steve Angus said:

“It is great to see a market-leading company like GBRf reaffirming its commitment to Peterborough in this way and we are delighted to be involved in the project.” “This particular site is brown field land and was previously owned by Network Rail. It is positive to see it being regenerated in this way. The land is close to the city centre and, with the planned access road, car parking spaces and forty bike spaces, it will prove to be a much-improved home for GBRf.”

Dean Duthie, Head of Major Projects said:

“This is a fantastic investment for us, bringing together a variety of teams under one roof. The training school will support our state-of-the-art class 66 simulators, whilst our control tower overlooks East Coast mainline bringing us closer to frontline operations” “It is a privilege to have the opportunity to lead on such scheme”

GB Railfreight Announce New Commercial Director

GB Railfreight is delighted to announce the appointment of Liam Day as Commercial Director. Liam, currently GBRf’s Head of Contracts, will take over his new role this week. This appointment marks a very exciting time for GBRf who have a turnover in excess of £200 million a year and operate over 1,000 trainloads a week, moving approximately 23% of the UK’s rail cargo. Liam joined GBRf in August 2014 as Terminal Development Manager, where he was responsible for the maintenance of GBRf depots across the UK, including setting up new facilities. Following a short spell as Head of Estates, Liam moved to the position of Business Manager (and latterly General Manager) in the Commercial Department in April 2016 where he was responsible for a team of Account Managers looking after GBRf’s client relationships and contractual arrangements with its Bulk customers. Liam began his career on the railways in Network Rail’s graduate management training programme before joining the Freight and National Passenger Operator (FNPO), where held the positions of Customer Manager and Route Freight Manager. Liam will be replacing Lee Armstrong who is joining the Associated British Ports (ABP). Lee will support Liam until he begins his new role at ABP. John Smith, Managing Director GBRf, said:

“I am absolutely delighted to appoint Liam Day to the post of Commercial Director. Liam has played a key role in securing long term contracts with Cemex, Hanson Aggregates and Hanson Cement whilst expanding GBRf’s bulk portfolio to its current worth of circa £75m per annum.  “As a business we are entering an exciting time and I will be working closely with Liam as we continue to grow.  “I’d like to thank Lee for his hard work and wish him all the very best for the future.”

 Liam Day, said:

“I am extremely proud to be appointed as GB Railfreight’s Commercial Director. Since I joined GB Railfreight in 2014, we have experienced huge growth and I have been very fortunate to work with both long standing and new customers to develop rail freight solutions that meet their needs. I am passionate about ensuring the service we offer is industry leading and will be focused on working with our customers to remove cost and inefficiency from their supply chains to ensure GB Railfreight continues to offer a viable logistics solution for years to come.  “There are a number of exciting challenges ahead. None bigger than helping to deliver the game changing infrastructure project that is HS2. It is an exciting time to be involved in the rail freight industry and there is no business better placed to step up to the challenge.  “I am focused on making GB Railfreight greener and leaner and building on our legacy as a people focused business that goes the extra mile for our customers.”

GB Railfreight delighted as HS2 receives green light

GB Railfreight has expressed its delight and relief that the high-speed line from London to Birmingham received the go-ahead this morning following the publication of the Oakervee Review.

HS2, which was green-lighted in a statement to the House of Commons by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, following a meeting of the Cabinet, will begin construction in the coming weeks, over a decade after it was originally proposed.

GB Railfreight, one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector, has been preparing to support construction logistics, including removing spoil and waste, and delivering inbound materials.

The Prime Minister’s announcement was followed by the publication of the Government-commissioned Oakervee Review into HS2, which concluded that “on balance Ministers should proceed” with the project as the “original rationale for HS2 still holds”.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, who submitted a response to the Oakervee Review, said:

“I am delighted and relieved the Government has given the green light to the project. HS2 will be the first new railway constructed north of London for over a century, creating much needed capacity and connections across the North and Midlands. There is no other viable alternative to the project, as both the Oakervee Review and the Prime Minister have acknowledged.

 “By signing off on the scheme, the Government has committed to expanding capacity beyond just passenger services. The decision will free up extra capacity on the West Coast Mainline which will help the growth of rail freight, supporting economic growth across the UK and helping the delivery of the Government’s targets to decarbonise the economy by supporting the shift of freight from road to more sustainable rail services.

 “Delivering HS2 will, in the long term, support the UK’s regional cities and towns to prosper and connect to other surrounding areas. I applaud the Prime Minister for making the right decision rather than delay any further.”

GB Railfreight resumes services between Cricklewood and Calvert

GB Railfreight are thrilled to confirm that in December 2019 it resumed services from Cricklewood to Calvert.

The rail freight operator is operating services five times a week between S Walsh and Sons waste transfer station, off Brent Terrace at Cricklewood, to FCC Environment’s landfill site in Buckinghamshire, transporting building and construction waste.

The trains carry around 1,500 tonnes of soil and rubble from major projects such as the Brent Cross redevelopment and preliminary works being undertaken for the construction of HS2. Since Cricklewood opened in 2015, more than 1 million metric tonnes of building and construction waste has been moved out of London by rail from what was previously known as the North London Soils Hub.

The contract will also ensure fewer journeys are made on roads as construction waste will be easily removed by GBRf trains. This will contribute to reducing carbon emissions, especially with the Government’s stated aim of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

GBRf are committed to increasing the amount of goods and materials transported via rail freight, reducing emissions and delivering a more sustainable logistics solution. An average freight train removes 80 HGV journeys from roads every day. They already move 40 per cent of all construction material into London, and there is the potential for this to grow, reducing lorry miles on the capital’s roads.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“We are delighted to have recommenced services from Cricklewood. We look forward to working with S Walsh and Sons in the future to build a successful partnership.

 “This contract is also an important step towards reducing traffic in London and, by extension, improving air quality in the capital. These services provide a vital alternative to road transport and each one removes circa 60 lorries from London’s roads. This is even more important in the context of reducing carbon emissions if we are to reach the Government’s ambitious net zero target by 2050, and we at GBRf are delighted to be able to play our part.”