Operator GBRf aims for eighty intermodal services a day by 2025
Ambitions to grow its operations are behind GB Railfreight’s development in Peterborough. The location is where GBRf has opened a new maintenance hub that the company describes as state-of-the-art. Located alongside the East Coast Main Line, the 5.75 million pound (6.7 million euros) facility represents one of the most substantial investments in the rail freight sector this year, according to GBRf.
Mark Harper MP, the UK Secretary of State for Transport, wants the private sector to play a leading role in modernising the rail freight industry and helping grow the national economy. The sector has certainly answered that call, and the GB Railfreight facility at Peterborough is the latest tangible evidence to be commissioned. The maintenance hub will support the growing fleet of intermodal rolling stock that GBRf intends to deploy on their growing list of services.
Totally dry inspection facility
The key to growing successful rail freight operations isn’t necessarily all about developing a larger fleet; it’s primarily about getting the most out of what you have. That means squeezing maximum availability from the motive power and the rolling stock – and the best way to do that is to keep it in tip-top condition. That is why GBRf has invested in a highly visible and advanced maintenance hub directly adjacent to their operations centre at Peterborough – about one hour north of London.
The hub is larger than six Olympic swimming pools but is designed to be a totally dry inspection facility. So no actual swimming pool. The building was completed in ten months and sited on a brownfield site within the GBRf estate. The fully electrically powered building has been designed to support electric shunters and forklifts to reduce carbon emissions. The company says the facility will be key to unlocking their growth plans and support their ambition to run around eighty intermodal services a day by 2025 – about ten per cent of all revenue-earning freight movements at current levels.
Clean, safe and secure freight
The hub has the capacity to analyse four wagons per shift, and according to GBRf, it will be a step-change in maintenance for the rail freight industry. That suggests that GBRf intend to make the facility available to third parties and other operators. They say it will deliver significant safety and reliability improvements, encouraging customers to move an even wider range of goods by rail. GBRf intend to use the hub as a technological testbed. “The role of the private sector cannot be understated as a tool to help Britain drive jobs and growth”, said John Smith, the company’s CEO. “We are excited for the role we play [to] meet the demands of customers looking to decarbonise their supply chains.”
“This impressive new maintenance hub demonstrates the important role private sector investment plays in modernising the rail freight industry and helping grow the economy”, said Mark Harper MP, the Secretary of State for Transport. “Rail is one of the most environmentally friendly ways of moving goods across the country – this new facility will help deliver clean, safe and secure freight journeys while creating jobs in Peterborough and boosting the city’s economy.”