Direct Rail Services becomes Nuclear Transport Solutions

Direct Rail Services loco alongside ship (Source Direct Rail Services)

Direct Rail Services (DRS), the Carlisle-based freight operator, is about to become part of Nuclear Transport Solutions. In an administrative shake up at its parent company, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, DRS will join a relaunched and rebranded transport family in April of this year. DRS was established in 1995 as a lynch pin supplier of transport and associated services to the UK nuclear industry.

DRS is joining forces with its fellow NDA transport subsidiaries to create Nuclear Transport Solutions, launching in April 2021. The owner of DRS, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, is bringing together its transport expertise and capabilities into a single nuclear transport division. The new organisation will be called Nuclear Transport Solutions (NTS) and will fully launch in April 2021.

Nuclear transport multimodal offer

In a statement issued from Direct Rail Services HQ in Carlisle, in the north west of England, the company say that NTS will be a centre of excellence that brings together the operational, commercial, engineering, legal, and regulatory expertise that underpin nuclear transport and logistics operations. “It will operate Direct Rail Services (DRS) and Pacific Nuclear Transport Ltd (PNTL), who will continue to deliver rail and shipping services for customers, building on decades of experience of providing safe, secure and reliable transport solutions”, they say.

DRS was formed specifically to handle the specialist logistics of nuclear flask collection and has since grown into a full-service rail freight operator (Direct Rail Services)

Nuclear Transport Solutions will have the primary objective to support the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to clean up the UK’s earliest civil nuclear sites. The familiar sight of nuclear flasks behind a pair of DRS locomotives will continue to be spotted around the network. In a statement of intent, the company says it will continue to look for expansion opportunities and pursue its decarbonisation agenda. “It will also use its world-leading expertise to provide commercial activities in the UK and overseas, as well as providing transport services for customers outside of the nuclear sector”, they say.

Rail business as usual

Direct Rail Services will continue to be a familiar sight, they say, They intend to continue to offer a range of intermodal, specialist, infrastructure, network support and consultancy services, according to Seth Kybird, the chief executive of NTS. “We are creating NTS to become the leading global provider of safe, secure and reliable nuclear transport solutions, building on the experience and capabilities of DRS, INS and PNTL, and deliver great value for our customers in the UK and overseas”, he said. “This is an exciting opportunity for us to build a vibrant and profitable organisation with an exciting and challenging mission of national and global importance.”

Direct Rail Services will continue to act across all parts of the rail industry (Source Direct Rail Services)

It’s business as usual at the Carlisle head quarters of DRS, where the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority also has an administrative presence, serving nearby former nuclear power stations and the repository at Sellafield. Chris Connelly, NTS Deputy CEO and rail director for the group, said that the consolidation of NTS brings together a wide variety of knowledge, skills and talent into one organisation. “It’s a fantastic opportunity and being part of it will make DRS stronger, more competitive and able to offer a broader range of services to our customers”, he said.

Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is RailFreight's UK correspondent.

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