On Tuesday 28th November GB Railfreight (GBRf) took delivery of the first of its brand new, purpose-built IIA hoppers, which will be used to transport sand on behalf of Sibelco from Middleton Towers in East Anglia to Barnby Dun, Monk Bretton and Goole in Yorkshire. Arriving at Whitemoor Yard in Cambridgeshire, pulled by loco 66746, the hoppers had an arduous journey across Europe, having been constructed by Greenbriar in Poland. They will be entering service in the coming weeks.
GBRf purpose-built IIA hoppers.(GBRf Image)
Commenting on their arrival, GBRf Managing Director John Smith said:
“These new hoppers represent GBRf’s continued commitment to excellent customer service, to increased investment in our business and to our continued support for UK plc. We will be able to run shorter, faster trains ensuring timely delivery and demonstrating again the vital role that rail freight plays in keeping the UK economy going.
“The sand we are delivering will all be used in the manufacturing of glass products. Keeping this off our roads and on the railways decreases congestion, helps tackle air quality issues and improves economic productivity. That is why GBRf is continuing to invest and grow as a business and pushing to have rail freight’s role in delivering the UK economy recognised and expanded.”
Andrew Smith, Sibelco’s Network Logistics Manager for SW Europe, said:
“We are delighted to see our new wagons arrive in UK. The rail service provided by GB Railfreight is an integral element in our supply of high purity Silica sand to the glass industry. The new wagons will enable us to continue providing our customers with a reliable, sustainable, environmentally-friendly service and avoid the need for many hundreds of lorry movements.”
The new fleet of 41 hoppers, which replaces the old 71 single-axle PAA wagons inherited at the start of the contract, can hold up to 70 tonnes each, meaning services can run shorter 14-wagon services and still deliver the same tonnage. Additionally, the wagons can travel at up to 75 mph when empty, meaning the Southbound 6L31 and 6L987 paths can be re-timed as class 4s.
The hoppers’ doors are also powered by air from the locomotive rather than from an external air supply via a lance, while the bogies are the track-friendlier T-25 varieties and will reduce track access costs.