New loco launched to celebrate the value of rail freight to Britain’s economy

DB Cargo UK has launched a newly-liveried Class 90 locomotive.

The striking black Class 90 locomotive (90039) bears the message “I am the backbone of the economy” and celebrates the findings of a new national report commissioned by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) highlighting both the economic and environmental value of rail freight. The new locomotive will be operating on key routes across the rail network over the coming months, reinforcing the role that rail freight plays in keeping Britain’s economy moving.

Moving goods by rail also reduces congestion, emissions and noise

Rail freight makes a major contribution to the economy, providing safe, sustainable and innovative logistics solutions for the movement of around £30 billion of essential products around Britain each year, as well as to and from mainland Europe. The new research launched today shows that rail freight contributes around £2.5bn to Britain’s economy each year, with benefits dispersed from the South of England through the industrial Heartland of the Midlands, Wales and Northern England, up into the central belt of Scotland and beyond. Moving goods by rail also reduces congestion, emissions and noise on Britain’s already crowded road network, removing an estimated 7 million HGV movements from the roads each year.

NewLoco_The new locomotive will be operating on key routes across the rail network over the coming months.jpg
The new locomotive will be operating on key routes across the rail network over the coming months. Copyright: DB Cargo UK

Rail freight employees as key workers

DB Cargo UK’s CEO Andrea Rossi said: “Rail freight’s role has become even more pivotal during the COVID-19 pandemic. I was proud when the Government designated rail freight employees as key workers as we have played a vital role in ensuring supermarket shelves have been kept stocked and things like fuel have continued to be readily available throughout the crisis. Going forward, the role that the industry plays could be enhanced further by us continuing to support the economic recovery from COVID-19 and assisting in levelling up the UK economy.”

Rail freight is offering a very high level of alongside environmental benefits

“At DB Cargo UK we’re committed to making rail freight even greener. Back in December 2020, we successfully trialled the use of 100% renewable Hydro-treated Vegetable Oil (HVO) to power our diesel locomotives. This new and innovative fossil-free fuel can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90%. This makes rail freight a key player in helping the Government to achieve its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050,” he added. David Turner, Rail Director at Malcolm Logistics, one of DB Cargo UK’s key intermodal customers, said rail freight was the most reliable and punctual method of transporting goods across the country. “Freight is actually more than this term freight. It’s what we consume, it’s what we buy, it’s what we drink, it’s what we eat. Freight is essential to the delivery of our normal day-to-day life,” he said.

“The logistics world in which we operate is all about performance. Rail freight is offering a very high level of punctuality, alongside environmental benefits. It’s delivering something that’s difficult to replicate across other modes of transport. The UK without rail freight today would put millions of vehicle journeys back on the road,” he added.

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