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Railways News 11-2017

“Jumbo train” takes the burden off the roads

DB Cargo UK operates the first extra-long ‘jumbo’ train from South Wales to London for CEMEX UK

At the end of September, the heaviest train ever to leave South Wales travelled from Cardiff to London.

The 660-metre-long train had 34 wagons and transported 2,300 tonnes of construction products to Acton in West London. The train was pulled by two locomotives so that it could overcome the gradient when passing through the tunnel under the Severn River. The service was operated by DB Cargo UK, Britain’s leading rail freight transport company.

The train conveyed limestone from CEMEX UK quarries at Wenvoe and Taff’s Well, on the outskirts of Cardiff. It is required for the production of asphalt and concrete - building materials that are used on construction sites in London and the south-east of England. The CEMEX UK trains normally consist of 21 wagons. With the new “jumbo train”, transport capacity has been increased by 60 per cent, which means that one rail transport operation replaces 80 HGV loads on our roads.

“DB Cargo UK and CEMEX UK have made history,” said David Fletcher, Head of Major Projects at DB Cargo UK.

“Using longer trains makes rail an even more efficient and competitive mode of transport. DB Cargo UK is pleased to have worked with Network Rail to deliver this new service for CEMEX UK.” The deployment of extra-long trains also frees up capacity for other freight services. Tim Leighton, Head of Operations Delivery at Network Rail, explains: “The run of the first jumbo freight train from South Wales is a great step forward that will save valuable train paths on our congested network and allow for more efficient freight movements.”

According to Mark Grimshaw Smith, CEMEX UK’s Rail and Sea Manager, CEMEX UK hopes to use this kind of jumbo train on other parts of the rail network in future: “We hope that we can use this type of jumbo train where we have rail heads in quarries and materials are coming into conurbations such as London where the roads are most congested.  We look forward to working with Network Rail and DB Cargo UK to make this possible.”(mh)