19 January 2023
Class 321 EMUs converted to carry freight, promising a 'zero-carbon' solution to logistics companies.
Varamis Rail, the UK’s newest train operator, has worked with Network Rail and to launch a 'zero-carbon' freight service. Launched last week, and running between Scotland and the Midlands, Monday to Friday, it aims to target express parcels and third-party delivery companies, and will primarily deal with next day delivery of consumer goods.
Industry partners, Eversholt Rail, converted a number of four-car Class 321 EMUs, formerly used in passenger service to enable them to carry freight while Network Rail provides the necessary operating licenses, contracts, and train paths for the service to operate. This followed trial operations of the service, which commenced in October 2022, to test the robustness and practicality of the service, and enabled logistics companies to test the service.
Georgie Newby, Network Rail’s Senior Commercial and Customer Relationship Manager, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to support the launch of this innovative new service from the latest Freight Operating Company to join the network. It is the result of hard work and dedication across multiple organisations, all working closely together to deliver a great, zero carbon service for logistics companies to use. We look forward to delivering other innovations to keep growing the amount of parcel logistics transported by rail.”
Varamis Rail Managing Director, Phil Read, added: “As the UK's newest Train Operator, Varamis Rail is keen to promote the sustainable benefits that the railway has to offer to the UK economy along with Network Rail. The increase in online shopping and home deliveries over recent years has accelerated the demand to find a more environmentally friendly solution to moving our parcels, products, or light goods around the UK; one solution is the electrified rail network.
“Varamis Rail is incredibly appreciative of the support it has received from Network Rail to enable a start-up of its operations and we look forward to building on this relationship as the rail industry looks to play its part in decarbonising’ the UK.”
Network Rail has said that the service, which launched on January 9, supports the rail industry as an environmentally-friendly alternative to road haulage, and gives access to urban rail stations in city centres and is expected to benefit the rail industry in the future as an example of best practice.
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