GB Railfreight and UK Aggregate Industries

Portbury train ready for departure to Acton (GBRf)

UK freight operator GB Railfreight (GBRf) has inaugurated a new flow, delivering construction aggregates from the West of England to the west of London. A new contract has been signed between Aggregates Industries and GBRf to move at least 60 train loads of building materials, from the bulk terminal near Bristol to the depot at Action in the west of London. The movements will support construction projects around the capital.

A short notice contract has been agreed between Aggregate Industries, a UK manufacturer and supplier of heavy building materials, and full-service operator GB Railfreight, to move around 90,000 tonnes of mixed supplies. The duration of the contract hasn’t been specified, but it will amount to a minimum of 60 train loads, with options for further movements. The 125-mile route (200km) closely follows the busy M4 motorway corridor, and the environmental benefits have been plain to see, taking around 1800 return truck movements off the road network.

Rail freight avoiding lines

The short notice nature of the contract has brought a measure of excitement to GBRf. The operator, one of the largest in the UK, was required to immediately start site and route familiarisation. Portbury lies at the end of a branch line, connecting with the West of England main line, a short distance to the west of Bristol Temple Meads passenger station. Movements however should be able to avoid that busy bottleneck, by using avoiding lines running through the south of the city centre.

GB Railfreight has plenty experience with bulk handling and has worked with Aggregate Industries before (GBRf)

The flow began at the end of January, and will move 90,000 tonnes of aggregate. According to GBRf, that approximates to 60 train loads, with options for further shipments. “The agile establishment of this service is further proof of the excellent service GBRf provides and builds on existing supply routes and flows of aggregates the transport company already run for AI”, said a GBRf statement.

Sustainable delivery and supply

GBRf has most recently worked with Aggregate Industries, supporting HS2 high speed rail construction. The companies recently collaborated on specialist rolling stock from UK manufacturer WH Davis. “We were absolutely delighted to be approached by AI to run this service”, said John Smith, the managing director of GB Railfreight. “We have a longstanding relationship with them and they are a valued partner for us. I would also like to congratulate the GBRf team for the smooth running of this service last month. I couldn’t be prouder of the team we have here at GBRf.”

GBRf and AI helping to build London and the South East (Aggregate Industries)

Simon Blake, Smith’s counterpart and general manager for rail at Aggregate Industries, expressed his delight too. “To have been able to work so quickly with support from GBRf to convert a window of opportunity, to a practical and commercially sound reality”, he said. “This new source of material will further support the Aggregate Industries offer for both sustainable delivery and surety of supply for construction materials to the South East market.”

Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is RailFreight's UK correspondent.

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