Conway loads up Tilbury aggregates trains

Loaded train at Tilbury (Forth Ports)

Aggregates movers FM Conway are to run a second weekly flow from Forth Ports Tilbury to their operations base at Theale near Reading. The trains will cut out a convoy of road trucks making a one hundred mile journey (160km) around the congested London motorway network.

Rail freight will be taking the strain off the road network for at least the next five years, thanks to a renewed and expanded contract between the Port of Tilbury and FM Conway. The port and the aggregate handler have extended their agreement for a further five years to load aggregates for FM Conway’s Theale facility. The new agreement will also see a doubling of rail freight demand for FM Conway’s rail service provider Freightliner. Two diagrams to Theale will be leaving Tilbury each week with immediate effect. The expansion further cements FM Conway as the largest independent supplier of asphalt in the south east. The company has benefitted from the construction boom in the region.

Tilbury aggregates expansion vindicated

The trains will leave Tilbury in Essex, on the north bank of the Thames, each week on a Tuesday and a Friday, taking over 3000 tonnes of aggregate by rail to Theale in Berkshire. The materials will be deployed in the UK’s highway network and other construction projects. It was just under a year ago that Tilbury announced a significant modernisation and expansion project, with just this sort of traffic in mind. Their investment has proved to be well founded. Already thousands of tonnes of material arrives at the quayside, principally from Norway – some of it perhaps even liberated from the new Ulriken tunnel. It’s then distributed by rail and road across the south east England to keep pace with demand.

Popular TV presenter Tony Robinson filmed along the Thames and at Tilbury. He obviously has a cunning plan for the aggregates mover (Channel 5 – Conway – LinkedIn)

“This is great news to start the year”, said Mark Faraway, the senior commercial manager for Tilbury, commenting on the increased service and agreement. “Our bulks business at Tilbury is thriving as we have the key ingredients to ensure an efficient and greener supply chain for our customers. We have a good relationship with the team at FM Conway and we are pleased that we can continue this for the next five years.”

Keeping it legal and green

FM Conway works in transportation, the built environment and public realm. They have been at pains to promote their rail-collaborations. In partnership with network operators, local authorities and private clients. “We look forward to our continued successful working relationship with Tilbury”, said Tim Metcalf, their business development director. “Working together with the Port of Tilbury and other supply chain partners such as Stema-Mibau [aggregates processor] and Freightliner allows us to significantly reduce carbon emissions and road traffic in the south east.”

Rain doesn’t stop play, as aggregates are moved in all weathers by rail (Conway)

Construction is seen as a vital part of the UK economic recovery programme. The government’s intention to green the economy is written into UK law. With the often quoted statistic claiming a bulk train takes 76 trucks off the roads, the continued collaboration between Tilbury, FM Conway and their rail freight partners can only help achieve those goals.

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Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is RailFreight's UK correspondent.

1 comment op “Conway loads up Tilbury aggregates trains”

Iain Scotchman|22.01.21|19:57

This new traffic does not use the proposed CMAT terminal in Tilbury2 which is not completed and construction appears to have been halted/paused. The accompanying photos show the aggregates being loaded on to the train at the former Freightliner Container site within the main Tilbury Docks, not in the new terminal.

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