GBRf unveils new Intermodal Service in partnership with MSC

GB Railfreight are delighted to announce the start of an additional intermodal service, which began on 18 November.

The service, which operates to the Port of Liverpool from the East Midlands is in partnership with Mediterranean Shipping Company (UK) Ltd and will run five times a week.

Despite the economic turmoil brought about by COVID-19, GBRf have successfully continued making inroads into the Intermodal market with this being GBRf’s 21st Intermodal service to date. It also shows the resilience and flexibility of the GBRf business model which is built on robust relationships even in times of uncertainty.

In addition, with climate change front and centre of the political agenda, this announcement is further proof of GBRf’s commitment to moving more and more goods in a sustainable way. This is because GBRf are committed to increasing the amount of goods and materials transported via rail freight, reducing emissions and delivering a more sustainable logistics solution.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“We are delighted to have begun services between the East Midlands and the Port of Liverpool.  Despite the economic challenges we all face, GB Railfreight continues to grow as a business, and we are showing ourselves to be leaders in the field of innovation and a customer delivery. I couldn’t be prouder to unveil our newest intermodal service – proof we are the industry’s most trusted intermodal carrier.

“I cannot thank MSC enough for allowing us to establish and launch a new service for them. We look forward to developing this partnership even further in the months and years ahead.

“GBRf prides itself on being supportive and committed to long standing and inspiring partnerships. We like to be challenged.  We are delighted to be working with our customer MSC, Peel Ports and Maritime Transport in delivering a new intermodal service into the Port of Liverpool- one which will see 20,000 lorry journeys off our roads.”

Jonathan Burke, Operations Director at MSC UK said:

“We are very pleased to announce that, together with our partners, we have launched the first daily intermodal rail connection between the Port of Liverpool and the East Midlands. This new service enhances our nationwide port and intermodal network, further strengthening the breadth of our offering to clients whilst helping to reduce carbon emissions.”

GB Railfreight partner with Wascosa to supply innovative modular wagons for UK Rail Infrastructure services

GB Railfreight (GBRf) and Wascosa are today unveiling a new partnership to supply innovative modular wagons for UK Rail Infrastructure services. GBRf, one of the UK’s fastest growing transport companies, is joining forces with the Lucerne-based company Wascosa.

Through this partnership, GB Railfreight and Wascosa will undertake a wagon leasing contract with UK railway network owner and infrastructure manager, Network Rail, who will lease these wagons for 10 years, in a move that will modernise their existing systems. Wascosa will own and provide a total of 570 wagons, commissioned to be built by Greenbrier Europe, a high-end freight railcar manufacturer. The role of GB Railfreight will be to maintain the condition of the new wagons, while also owning and building the modules to be positioned on the newly developed structures.

Of the 570-strong fleet, there will be: 260 ‘Falcon’ box wagons, used for possession site work; 50 ‘Big Box’ wagons for bulk ballast transportation; and 260 ‘Flat Wagons’, a modular wagon developed by Wascosa for the carriage of track panels, sleepers, switches, rails and loose materials. The first of these wagons and superstructures will be in operation in late 2021.

The partnership was made possible by GB Railfreight’s provision of a range of innovative superstructures, which will be mounted on the fleet of 260 container flats. This ground-breaking solution for Network Rail embodies GB Railfreight’s fundamental commitment to creating innovation as the new standard, and this recent collaboration positions both companies perfectly for future resilience and growth in the UK.

Mark Wyborn who concluded the deal for GB Railfreight said:

“For GB Railfreight, being able to collaborate with the industry to offer a flexible wagon solution to Network Rail is crucial to be able to deal with supply chain demands for the future, especially during uncertain times. Equally as important is modernisation of infrastructure assets that will last for many years.

“GB Railfreight are delighted to have partnered with Wascosa to lead the way and now in a position to offer innovative wagon solution to Network Rail that achieves both modernisation and future wagon supply chain demands.”

Commenting on the successful outcome Mick Tinsley, Wascosa’s representative in the UK, said:

“This is an exciting development for Wascosa. We have worked closely with Network Rail and our partners to jointly develop a modern, flexible wagon solution that will support the UK rail infrastructure maintenance and renewals programmes for many years to come. This provides us with a sound platform from which to grow further in the UK.”

GB Railfreight mark next phase of construction of new office by burying ‘time capsule’ at Peterborough site

GB Railfreight and Lindum took part in a joint event on 30 July to bury a ‘time capsule’ at the site of the new office to mark the next phase of construction.

The time capsule contains a message from GBRf Managing Director John Smith, while Lindum included a photo of the project team and the architect plans for the site. In addition, the team at GBRf put into the capsule copies of a selection of Thursday’s newspapers; a GBRf tie and hi-viz vest; photos of all the GBRf staff involved in the project; the latest NOW CD, a compilation of tracks from 2020;  a ‘price list’ of a selection of items at this time in 2020; a copy of the GBRf 20th anniversary photo book – the anniversary of which fell last year; the latest copy of GBRf News, the company’s internal magazine; and other GBRf merchandise.

GBRf announced the investment of £3m for a new office and training centre in Peterborough in January having been granted planning permission in December 2019, with Lindum appointed to undertake the construction of the three-storey office building.

Although the opening of the office has slightly been delayed to April 2021, both Lindum and GBRf identified the issues brought by COVID-19 in a timely manner and have safely continued with the development of the site, throughout the pandemic.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight said:

“At the start of the year we announced that, to meet increasing demand for our services, GBRf was expanding operations by investing in new offices and training facilities. Today we take another step towards seeing that turn into reality.

“Today’s ceremony marks a significant moment, and what a year it’s been. When we look back in years to come, we will be able to reflect on what a seismic year 2020 was. Hopefully it will also be the year GBRf truly kicked on and continued to be one of the fastest growing companies in the transport sector, despite the difficulties the UK economy faces at this time.”

General Manager of Lindum Peterborough Darren King said work on the project was going well. He said:


“It’s great to be here today to celebrate how this building is progressing. As a Peterborough-based business, it’s very reassuring to see a power-house company like GBRf recommitting to the city with this kind of investment.


“We are also delighted to be involved in the burial of the time capsule and are grateful to GBRf for inviting us to contribute. One day in the future, it will offer a fascinating insight into life in 2020, which has certainly been a year like no other.

“We have produced a memory stick to be included in the capsule. It includes some information about Lindum, profiles of the project team and an explanation about how this project was affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. It should make for interesting reading one day!”

GBRf Announce New Southampton to East Midlands Intermodal Service

As the country emerges from one of its greatest challenges, GB Railfreight are thrilled to announce some positive news. A new Intermodal service from the rail terminal operated by Solent Stevedores at the Port of Southampton, to East Midlands Gateway, Derby has commenced. This will be its fourth daily service from one of the UK’s leading deep-sea container ports. and will offer the market an additional rail destination.

This new service marks GBRf’s continued expansion in the intermodal market and underlines the vital role rail freight plays in delivering goods around the country. The new Southampton to East Midlands service will run 5 days a week and represents GBRf’s 20th intermodal service to date.

SEGRO Logistics Park East Midlands Gateway (SLPEMG) is a 700-acre development with planning consent for up to 6,000,000 square ft of logistics accommodation. The 50-acre intermodal terminal, managed by Maritime Transport, operates 24/7 and is able to accommodate up to sixteen 775m freight trains per day. It also provides storage capacity for over 5,000 TEU – which is equal to approximately 45,000 pallets of cargo.

GBRf are able to offer both loaded and empty storage and final-mile delivery, in order to provide a seamless ‘door to door’ opportunity with a combination of rail and road resources. This new service offers the market an additional rail destination and cost-effective transport solution.

Today’s news follows GBRf’s recent announcement that the company 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. 

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 a minimum of 70 HGV journeys from the roads while reducing carbon emissions by about 75% compared to transport by road.

When combined with rail’s advantageous performance in terms of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter emissions, rail freight demonstrates a clear contribution to the challenge of meeting the UK’s net zero carbon targets.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“I am thrilled to see the beginning of this new service. Our growth in intermodal shows GBRf’s dedication to innovation, offering flexible door-to-door solutions that meet our customers’ needs, as well as a consistently reliable service. We are very proud of the hard work that has been put in to be the industry’s trusted intermodal carrier.

“Today’s announcement also reconfirms GBRf as the rail freight company leading the way to grow the sector at a time of unprecedented economic challenge. In light of the COVID-19 crisis we are redoubling our efforts to put the UK back on track, while also doing our bit to decarbonise our economy.”

Stuart Cullen, Executive Chairman of Solent Stevedores, said:

“Our rail terminal at the Port of Southampton was significantly upgraded last year increasing our capacity and efficiency and we are delighted to welcome an additional service from GBRf. Now with eight daily intermodal services from the Port of Southampton, this news further strengthens our position as a UK leading rail terminal operator.

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

“We are thrilled to be kicking off the next chapter of our intermodal journey; extending our offering at EMG to provide UK businesses with even more ways of moving their goods from A to B at a time when the country begins its return to a new normal. We are incredibly proud of what our drivers and staff have achieved in such a short space of time; meeting our customers’ needs and unique requirements is at the very heart of what we do, and we look forward to providing additional services in the near future.”

GB Railfreight Announce lease of VTG Rail UK Ltd Wagons

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”