GB Railfreight revamps coal hoppers for Tarmac

GB Railfreight (GBRf) has converted dozens of traditional ‘coal hopper’ rail freight cars to move construction aggregate from quarries operated by Tarmac in the UK. Also known as Vulcan wagons, they have had the middle removed to make them a suitable length and size.

A total of 49 wagons – all of which crucially retain their 102-tonnage maximum gross laden weight – have been converted, 24 of which are already working trains from Tarmac’s Arcow quarry in Yorkshire to nearby Leeds, as well as to Bredbury and Agecroft in Greater Manchester.


The remaining 25 wagons have also just been converted, ready for operational use on further services from the Arcow and Swinden (also Yorkshire) quarries. The newly-fitted wagons will carry a range of different size aggregate materials as part of GBR’s ongoing five year contract with Tarmac, now a year old.

John Smith, Managing Director of GBRf, said: “GB Railfreight is delighted to work with Tarmac, hauling aggregates from its quarries, and the refurbishments we have been able to do as part of this service. We are very pleased to have been able to refurbish and upgrade 49 new wagons, and continue to find innovative ways to support our customers. By being able to take such innovative measures and have positive relationships with our customers like Tarmac, we are able to proudly call ourselves one of the leaders of our industry.”


Tarmac said the arrival of these new wagon sets highlighted the ongoing success of its rail operations as the leading construction solutions business, and how it was responding to increasing customer demand for delivery of high quality construction materials.

Chris Swan, Head of Rail at Tarmac, added: “Increasing rail freight capability supports our underlying commitment to sustainability, enabling us not only to lower the whole life carbon footprint of customers projects but also reduce our transport CO2 levels.  Efficient wagons have a key role to play in delivering these ambitions and so it’s good to see the repurposing of materials and equipment with the arrival of this latest wagon set from GB Railfreight.”

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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