Wagons roll for Freightliner UK

Finished FFA- G Wagon 2

UK operator Freightliner has taken delivery of the first batch of new FFA-G wagons for UK operations. The forty wagons have arrived in the UK from Poland, adding to the intermodal fleet of the operator. The entire order, for 230 wagons will be delivered by the end of November 2021.

According to Freightliner, the new FFA-G designated wagons represent the next generation of energy efficient, 40ft (2TEU) intermodal wagons. The new rolling stock is the culmination of two-and-a-half years of work with partners Greenbrier Europe and Wabtec Axiom Rail.

Weight savings

The UK operator, part of the Genesee and Wyoming group, say that the wagons represent the latest contribution to Freightliner’s energy-saving strategy. “Designed with fuel efficiency in mind, the FFA-G wagon is more than two tonnes lighter per platform than its nearest competitor, driving significantly less weight per train whilst maintaining industry safety standards”, says the company. “The modern low track force bogies ensure significantly reduced noise levels and minimise track damage.”

How low can you go? Freightliner’s new lower, lighter intermodal wagons

Operationally, the wagons will offer a wide opportunity for customers to adopt Railfreight as an option for their intermodal needs. With a working deck height of 980mm, the wagon has achieved route acceptance for the entire W10 network with a 40ft, 9’6” ISO container, meaning that the FFA-G has wider W10 network gauge clearance than other 40ft wagons. “The combination of weight saving and closely coupled 40ft wagons will save an additional 7% of carbon emissions over other rail services – increasing overall rail benefits to 78% for Freightliner-operated services”, says the company.

Pandemic challenges

There have been challenges in bringing the new wagons to the rails. “Designing, testing, building and authorising a new design of wagon across four different countries during the Covid-19 pandemic provided additional challenges partly overcome using technology, but mainly by the knowledge, dedication and hard work of all those involved in the project”, claim Freightliner in a company statement.

Manufacturer Greenbrier has extensive facilities in Poland

“As the first Freight Operating Company to develop standard-height 40ft platform wagons, and the first to introduce the Shortliner (Ecofret) wagon, Freightliner has a proud history of setting the standards for innovative and sustainable wagon solutions in the UK,” said Freightliner’s Managing Director of UK Rail Tim Shakerley.

“As the largest intermodal rail freight operator with the largest offering of electrically hauled freight services in the UK, Freightliner is committed to driving decarbonisation, which is at the heart of our strategic focus and aligns us directly with customer expectations. “The FFA-G wagon further enhances the environmental benefits of rail and makes an even greater contribution to bringing all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.”

Freightliner already claims to be the UK’s largest rail maritime intermodal operator and second-largest rail freight provider, moving 770,000 maritime containers over its rail and associated road logistics operations.

Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is RailFreight's UK correspondent.

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