Rolling stock

08.01.19

Porterbrook signs supply deal for new rail parcel service

Porterbrook has signed a deal to supply specialist train operator the Rail Operations Group (ROG) with bi-mode FLEX trains to help the group enter the rail postal industry.

The derby-based company is the largest owner of passenger trains in the UK and has agreed to renovate two of its FLEX trains for light logistics traffic, converting them from passenger trains into parcel services.

The trains are able to operate on both electrified and non-electrified routes and will “meet shippers needs for rapid movement of goods and just-in-time delivery.”

With congestion on roads increasing, many shipping firms are now exploring rail as a key part of their logistics chains to keep up with the rapid growth in online shopping.

A lack of suitable trains delayed progress up until this point, but the ROG identified Porterbrook’s trains which will now be converted and tested before they are made available to single users or multi-users depending on the shippers day-to-day requirements.

Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook said: “We are excited be breaking new ground with ROG as we both move into light parcel logistics for the first time.

“The UK’s light logistics sector is experiencing huge changes and we’re delighted that we can support the sustainable solution on the rail network.

“Porterbrook is particularly pleased that ROG have recognised the potential for non-passenger use of our innovative FLEX trains and over coming months we will be exploring further opportunities to support the successful UK rail freight sector."

The new FLEX parcel trains will be delivered to ROG in early 2020.

Karl Watts, CEO of Rail Operations Group, said: “The time is right for a modal shift from road to rail for logistics and express parcels services.

“ROG are leading the industry in delivering this shift and the FLEX trains are the perfect rail-borne solution to make this happen.

“There is huge opportunity to re-establish a comprehensive network of express parcels trains and help reduce the number of commercial vehicles on UK roads which will, in turn, help to drive improvements in the UK economy.”

The director general of the Rail Freight Group, Maggie Simpson, welcomed the announcement, saying ROG “is highly suited to the rail network” and that is she “very pleased to see Porterbrook’s renewed appetite for rail freight investment.”

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