GB Railfreight, the UK’s third-largest rail freight operator, has announced it has signed 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.

The news comes after GBRf recently announced the leasing of 32 Ecofret2® triple wagon sets, from VTG, which will enter service in 2020 and 2021. The deal highlights GB Railfreight’s commitment to investment in the future of the Intermodal rail freight sector.

Increasing the proportion of goods carried by rail has an important role to play in helping the UK to deliver on its decarbonisation agenda and rail freight will therefore play an important role in supporting a green recovery.

Ecofret wagons allow for more containers to be carried per train, leading to greater load efficiency, and reducing transport delays.  The wagons also help to improve the spacing of containers reducing turbulence when trains are traveling at speed and reducing fuel consumption.

All the new wagons will be manufactured in the UK, with operations and maintenance being managed by VTG’s teams in Birmingham and Peterborough.

GBRf has been working with VTG for more than 10 years, and this announcement highlights the company’s commitment to excellent customer service, ongoing investment in the market and continued support for UK plc.

The share of goods transported via rail freight has increased in recent years due to savings in harmful emissions from moving goods via rail rather than road.

The investment in these state of the art, British built wagons to be supplied by VTG, will help GBRf meet growing customer needs – employing the latest technology and further improving safety performance and reliability. The continued partnership will allow GBRf to focus on the growth of the Intermodal market, which blossomed in 2019 following the opening of new services from Solent Stevedores, Southampton, to Maritimes Terminal in Trafford, Manchester.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“I am delighted to announce that we are continuing our relationship with VTG. Over the years, time and again we have been very pleased with their wagons and the improved levels of performance and capacity we can therefore offer our customers.

 “VTG is leading the way in containerised transport and adding even more Ecofrets to our fleet is part of our continued growth plan. As a business, our goal is to offer the best possible service to our customers and we are investing heavily in the wagons which will enable us to expand our operations, whilst also providing the extra freight capacity the industry really needs.

 “Today’s announcement is also further evidence of the role GBRf and the rail freight industry as a whole will play to get the British economy back on its feet following the COVID-19 crisis. We will continue to do our bit to keep the economy on track.”

Rob Brook, Head of Rail UK for the VTG Group, added:

“VTG is thrilled to have been selected as the supplier of the next generation of container wagons for GB Railfreight and looks forward to providing them with the highest levels of service, efficiency and reliability. Our longstanding relationship with GBRf has seen the introduction of numerous new wagons, each helping to support their expansion for more than a decade. We appreciate the trust they have placed in VTG by choosing us as their partner for this new chapter in their ongoing success story.  

“As a leader in innovation, VTG has made further significant investments in the Ecofret design ensuring that the new Ecofret2® wagon will bring even greater in-service benefits than its ground-breaking predecessor. With its improved loading flexibility and brand new, track friendly bogie design, this new wagon builds on the efficiency benefits provided by the original Ecofret since its introduction seven years ago, and will help GBRf continue to meet the growing demands of the Intermodal market. As with all new VTG wagons, Ecofret2® will be fitted with our ‘Connect’ telematics system, part of the traigo platform, which allows users to subscribe to a range of GPS-based tracking and monitoring services”

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