Freight partners ensure Phoenix rises again

A UK-France intermodal rail collaboration has seen a luxury British Pullman carriage – which was a favourite of the Queen Mother – through the Channel Tunnel and onto a new life in France. Also used by General de Gaulle and various heads of state, the 26-seater ‘Phoenix’ parlour car dates back to 1927.

The first section of the journey operated by DB Cargo UK was from London to Dollands Moor in Kent, and then through the tunnel to Calais Frethun Yard, before taken by sister company European Cargo Rail (ECR) to Clermont-Ferrand in the south of France.

Final section

The coach was moved there to undergo an internal restoration and external overhaul at a specialist workshop. The final section of the journey to the workshop was completed by the French operator Fret SNCF.

Richard Corser, Account Manager for Charters, Special Trains and Resource Hires at DB Cargo UK, said: “An historic coach like Phoenix has never been taken through the Channel Tunnel before and at first it seemed that it might be virtually impossible to take a parlour car dating back to 1927 through such modern infrastructure, so we knew we had a great challenge ahead of us.”

Intermodal service

DB Cargo arranged for the coach to be transported on a regular intermodal service which moves bottled water between England and France, knowing that this would be a safe solution. The train carrying Phoenix also transported empty containers on what was a return journey to France, ensuring it was cost-effective, efficient and environmentally-friendly.

“We have an ongoing haulage contract with Belmond and we were delighted to support them further with this additional service. Thanks also goes to our sister company ECR and Fret SNCF”, said Corser.

“This achievement demonstrates the value of DB Cargo UK’s connections across the European rail network and showcases the full logistics solutions we can offer to our customers.”

Author: Simon Weedy

Simon is a journalist for - a dedicated online platform for all the news about the rail freight sector

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