Network Rail has partnered with Colas Rail in a pilot project to run a timber freight train for the first time in 18 years.
A sawmill in Abergavenny has received the first rail-transported timber since 2004 which was transported 92 miles from Hackney Yard near Newton Abbot.
The pilot project could see ‘log trains’ become a more regular sight on the railways along the South Devon coastline.
The timber was delivered to the Pontrilas Timber site in Abergavenny who are keen to explore the practicalities of moving timber by rail.
The Colas Rail train carried a total of 320 tonnes of timber in eight wagons.
It is hoped that this capacity can be doubled in the future to 720 tonnes across 18 wagons.
Network Rail commented on the pilot freight project and the positive effects it can have on the environment.
Jess Lippett, Network Rail Senior Route Freight Manager said: “Rail freight is a vital part of our infrastructure, providing a fast, green, safe and efficient way of transporting goods.
“This trial run shows how we can work together to have a positive impact on the environment and the economy.”
Transporting timber by rail removes a total of 76 lorries from the road which helps reduce both traffic congestion and carbon emissions.
It is estimated thart over 0.45 tonnes of carbon dioxide is saved when making this journey by rail.
This equates to the same amount of carbon emissions per passenger taking a one-way flight from Paris to New York.
Simon Ball, Colas Rail UK Freight Director spoke on the opportunities presented by the pilot project.
Mr Ball said: “This is a great opportunity to expand our freight business especially as we lead the field in the transportation of timber by rail.
“We provide a sustainable alternative by operating on rail.
“Reducing the number of HGVs on the road, especially during the shortage of drivers.
“Working with the client and Network Rail, I’m convinced that we can move forward and build on the success of the trial.”
This trial was made possible following the strengthening work undertaken by Network Rail on one of the bridges at Hackney Yard.
This has increased the total weight limit of vehicles entering Hackney Yard by a total of 44 tonnes.
Featured image - Alan Peters, Colas Rail