50 New JNA-X box wagons increase UK’s rail freight capacity

50 New JNA-X box wagons increase UK’s rail freight capacity

19.3.2024 | Rail


Porterbrook and GB Railfreight have entered into an agreement for the production and purchase of 50 new box wagons to be manufactured by Greenbrier.

The deal marks continued investment into the rail freight sector, adding to the existing 100 intermodal twin wagons and 50 box wagons delivered to the UK rail network since 2022.

The new wagons, arriving in the UK in Q3 2024, will replace ageing assets and enable an increase in the nation’s rail freight capacity.

GB Railfreight will operate these wagons to transport bulk construction materials such as ballast and stone to support the expected growth in freight for the construction sector.

Liam Day, Commercial Director of GB Railfreight, said: “Working in partnership with Porterbrook, we’re modernising our fleet by investing in 50 brand new box wagons. These will drive further growth of the business and allow us to deliver more materials to key construction projects across the country.

“Each of these new box wagons can move up to 77 tonnes of bulk material, which means that one of our trains can take up to 129 HGVs off our congested roads, pushing Britain closer to net zero.”

Mark Wyborn, Head of Freight and Route Services at Porterbrook said: “We are delighted to continue our journey with GB Railfreight and the rail freight sector.

This deal highlights our ongoing commitment to investing in rail freight for the long term and to providing affordable, innovative, and sustainable freight rolling stock to the UK’s railway.

John Brown, Sales Director at Greenbrier, said: “We are thrilled to receive a new order for JNA box wagons from two of our valued customers, showcasing their confidence in our industry-leading solutions. This order highlights Greenbrier’s dedication to the UK Rail industry, providing reliable and efficient rolling stock to meet the evolving needs of our clients”

Data from The Office of Road and Rail (ORR) shows freight volumes in construction increased by 16%, reaching 1.44 billion net tonne kilometres from 1 July to 30 September 2023, the highest value since the time series began in April 1998. This data, combined with the Government’s ambitious 2050 target to grow rail freight by at least 75%, means there is an excellent growth scenario for the industry

Maritime Transport secures major contract to manage Tesco’s rail operations

Maritime Transport secures major contract to manage Tesco’s rail operations

28.11.2023 | Rail


A new, three-year contract with long-standing partner Tesco PLC is announced, effective 29th October 2023. 

Tesco has appointed Maritime to manage, plan, and execute all rail operations at Tesco’s central distribution hubs within Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT). The new agreement builds on Maritime’s 13-year history with the UK’s largest retailer of groceries and general merchandise, providing distribution services by road to Tesco sites nationwide, and strengthens Maritime’s position in the market as a leading provider of integrated road and rail freight logistics.

Under the new contract, Maritime will oversee the planning of seven daily rail services linking DIRFT with terminals in Mossend, Tilbury, Wentloog, Teesport, and Inverness whilst completing final-mile road flow operations to distribution centres and Tesco stores in Yorkshire, Middlesbrough, the Midlands, and London.

Employees of Eddie Stobart Ltd., previously affiliated with Tesco’s rail operation at DIRFT, transferred across to Maritime under TUPE regulations after a consultation process.

John Bailey, Managing Director – Intermodal, Maritime Transport:

‘This contract win with Tesco represents another step in our intermodal growth as we continue to reposition our business and focus on a more environmentally-conscious, carbon-cutting economy. DIRFT is a great fit for Maritime, and our dedicated central management team now operating on-site are doing a fantastic job leading day-to-day operations alongside our new colleagues, who we are delighted to welcome to the Company. We look forward to further significant growth opportunities as a strategic partner of Tesco, and continuing to implement our strategy to own and operate the cleanest, most sustainable full-load supply chain in the country.’

Nick Potter, Transport Director, Tesco PLC:  

‘We are pleased to strengthen our collaboration with Maritime, using their extensive terminal network and expertise to support our commitment to efficient, low-carbon logistics. Rail freight is one of the many ways we’re reducing our emissions, and the network will play an important role in achieving net zero across our operations by 2035.’

Freightliner announces 25 additional weekly services

Freightliner announces 25 additional weekly services

4.10.2023 | Rail


Including two new key routes which push the boundaries for rail freight. 

Freightliner, a subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W), has announced the launch of 25 additional rail services, which includes two new key routes covering Felixstowe to Daventry and Southampton to Cardiff.

Starting 2nd October, Freightliner will introduce a new route from Felixstowe to Daventry, which traditionally is a competitive short-haul route for freight logistics.  This first rail freight service connecting the port of Felixstowe with Daventry pushes the boundaries of rail freight, offering significant carbon savings to the traditional road haulage solution.

We are constantly looking at new innovative ways to offer our customers more carbon-efficient services,” says Mr. Chris Lawrenson, Freightliner’s managing director, intermodal logistics. “For every intermodal train introduced, up to 52 HGVs are removed from our congested roads and up to 76% carbon emissions are saved. This new service to rail freight will not only support the modal shift but help to reduce the congestion we all experience along the main A14 road link between Felixstowe and Daventry.”

A new route from Southampton to Cardiff will also be introduced on 2nd October, enabling customers to take advantage of DP World’s new modal shift programme.

Other services launching on 2nd October include; Grangemouth to Daventry, Southampton to Leeds, Felixstowe to Manchester, Manchester to Birmingham, Birmingham to London Gateway and Birmingham to Felixstowe.

“We have added these new services with both service delivery and efficiency in mind,” says Freightliner’s CEO, Mr Tim Shoveller. “We are committed to pushing the boundaries of rail freight by offering simplified and streamlined solutions for our customers which support that all-important modal shift to rail.”


Freightliner opens its first Operational Training Academy

Freightliner opens its first Operational Training Academy

16.5.2023 | Rail

Freightliner opens its first Operational Training Academy

The subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming Inc. officially opened its first Operational Training Academy based in Ipswich, Suffolk.

The Operational Training Academy will be used to prepare Freightliner’s freight train drivers for the in-cab digital signalling that is to be introduced on the East Coast Main Line.

Digital signalling, based on the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), uses state-of-the-art technology to provide continuous signalling information through a screen in the driver’s cab. This improves reliability, makes rail even safer, reduces emissions, and delivers more flexibility in rail operations. 

ERTMS is expected to deliver the ability to run longer, heavier, and faster freight trains on the UK network – encouraging the movement of freight on rail and lowering emissions.  Train drivers will be given continuous live information regarding speed and braking requirements, with the safeguard of automatic train protection (ATP).

Blake Jones, Freightliner Managing Director – Rail Services, said, “Freightliner is delighted to be part of this programme, and we recognise the important role ERTMS plays in making our railways safer for both railway workers and the general public.”

The East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP)

The Academy is being funded as part of the East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP) – a £1 billion transformation that will deliver digital signalling on the southern part of the East Coast Main Line from London King’s Cross to Stoke Tunnels (near Grantham) by the end of the decade.

Ed Akers, Principal Programme Sponsor, ECDP, said: “Freightliner is an integral ECDP partner and is working collaboratively to ensure the programme’s benefits are delivered in full. The Academy opening is an important part of delivering the change required and will help us provide a legacy of new capability within the rail industry.”

The Academy

Freightliner’s vision is for the Academy to endure beyond ECDP. The new site, which contains three classrooms, learning spaces and new learning resources, is already hosting train drivers starting their ERTMS training. A dedicated team of Operational Trainers has been created to support the learning. Later in May 2023, the site’s activity gains momentum, with the first cohort of Ipswich-based trainee train drivers joining the business.

Louise Ward, Freightliner’s Safety and Sustainability Director, said: “Freightliner continues to invest in the training of its people. The use of simulators allows drivers to apply their classroom knowledge in a practical and safe environment supporting a more comprehensive learning experience.”

The ultra-light simulators will be exclusively used for training from Autumn 2023, when Freightliner’s first Class 66V locomotive goes in for the fitment of ERTMS technology.

Maritime Transport introduces rail service between TILBURY2 and Manchester

Maritime Transport introduces rail service between TILBURY2 and Manchester

20.7.2022 | Rail


The new intermodal Monday to Friday service further supports the company’s commitment to tackling climate change. 

Maritime Transport Ltd is pleased to announce the launch of a new intermodal service in partnership with P&O Ferries, connecting TILBURY2 with the newly refurbished Trafford Park Euroterminal in Manchester. Maritime’s latest addition to its intermodal offering commenced on Monday 4th July and provides carbon-reducing routes to and from the Northwest for the European short-sea and UK domestic markets, and further supports Maritime’s commitment to tackling climate change.

This latest service launched shortly after Maritime officially commenced operations at Hams Hall rail freight terminal, having signed a long-term lease with Associated British Ports (ABP) to operate the facility.

The Tilbury to Manchester service runs five days per week from Monday to Friday, capable of moving 45′ pallet-wide, 40′, and 20′ deep-sea containers, with a total transport capacity of 80 TEU in each direction.

This new service continues to build on the long-standing relationship and commitments that Maritime has with both DB Cargo UK and Forth Ports.

Additionally, the commencement of a new daily connection will result in a considerable reduction in CO2 emissions, removing over 20,000 lorries from UK roads per year.

John Bailey, Managing Director – Intermodal and Terminals, Maritime Transport:

‘We are very proud to be working with Forth Ports & P&O Ferries and to see the beginning of our Tilbury – Trafford Park service, demonstrating our drive to engineer even more rail freight solutions for the market and our hands-on approach to reducing not just our own carbon footprint, but that of our customers. Rail is the key to decarbonisation, and we will continue to support modal shift by increasing the proportion of freight transported by rail.’

Maritime recently completed a two-year redevelopment scheme at Trafford Park Euroterminal, transforming it into a state-of-the-art, strategic intermodal (rail/road) interchange. The £13.5m regeneration project involved substantive remediation of the 20-acre terminal, including repaving the container park, upgrading buildings, security, and new container handling equipment (six heavy-duty reach stackers for loaded container lifting and four empty container handlers). To support increased train throughput, the container park can now store up to 4,000 TEU.

The completed project was unveiled by Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, on 26th May.

Thorsten Runge, Managing Director – Freight Services, P&O Ferries:

‘We are delighted to be hosting a direct rail link from TILBURY2 which will further increase options for importers and exporters. We are determined to make P&O Ferries the best ferry company in Europe – the best ships, the best routes, and the best value for freight customers – and providing vitally important trade routes for UK exporters and trading partners is central to our aim of making trade flow.’


New year sees launch of new rail connection

New year sees launch of new rail connection

11.1.2022 | Rail

New year sees launch of new rail connection

Felixstowe is at the heart of the intermodal revolution.

The 38th daily rail service has been introduced at Hutchison Ports Port of Felixstowe. Operated by GB Railfreight for Maritime Transport, the service connects the port with Birch Coppice in the Midlands.

The new service is the fifteenth, operated by GB Railfreight and impressively, the twelfth daily rail connection from the port to destinations in the Midlands.

Commenting on the latest addition to the port’s roster of rail services, Robert Ashton, operations director at the Port of Felixstowe, said:

“Increasing the proportion of traffic moving by rail is an important part of our strategy to offer the widest possible range of sustainable transport options through the Port of Felixstowe. We are investing in new plant and equipment as part of our own drive towards net-zero and are working with partners, including GB Railfreight and Maritime Transport, to help others remove carbon from their supply chains.

“With three dedicated rail terminals at the port, we offer more rail services to more inland destinations with greater frequency than any other UK port.”

Julie Garn, Intermodal’s general manager, said:

“Working closely with Maritime Transport and the Port of Felixstowe, this new service will play an important part in alleviating some of the pressure facing the UK supply chain. Increasing the number of services from Felixstowe is an efficient and environmentally friendly way to meet growing consumer demand, with an average freight train removing up to 76 HGVs from the road.”

John Bailey, Managing Director – Intermodal and Terminals, Maritime Transport, added:

“We are thrilled to launch this new service with GB Railfreight. Our investment in new routes, new equipment, and our terminals enables us to provide the most advanced logistics solutions and reflects our drive to deliver increased resources at a time when the industry is facing huge challenges. We have achieved unrivalled success in the intermodal sector in a very short period of time, but we are only at the start of a journey that will continue to see us challenge the industry norms and accelerate modal shift.”