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News from the UK Rail Industry 6th June 2019

Posted by: Warren Drobac
Industry News

Swedish Class 66 trains arrive in UK 

The first of three Class 66s from Sweden has arrived in the UK for use by GB Railfreight.

On June 3, 66790 was moved from Immingham Docks to Longport, where Electro-Motive Diesel will convert it to UK standards before the ‘66’ enters traffic.

Leased from Beacon Rail Leasing, the ‘66’ was previously T66403, and will be joined by classmates T66404/405, which will be renumbered 66791/792 respectively. They date from November 2002, and were bought by Beacon Rail in 2009 from HSBC Rail.

This will take the number of former European Class 66s in the GBRf fleet to eight, joining 66747-749 which arrived from Holland and 66750/751 which moved from Germany.
They are to be fitted with standard UK safety equipment and will be repainted into GBRf livery. It takes the number of ‘66s’ in the GBRf fleet to 91.

GBRf Managing Director John Smith said: “These locomotives are incredibly reliable and will assist us in delivering the best possible service now and into the future.” Full story.

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Network Rail’s ‘Site of the Future’ drops diesel in favour of solar 

An innovative project led by the Network Rail has used solar lighting and power generation to prove the viability of a sustainable ‘Site of the Future’, achieving 97% diesel-free operation in support of a major rail renewal project.

The initiative used solar and battery technologies instead of diesel generators to save 6,000 litres of fuel, and more than 15 tonnes of CO2 during a 14-day project centred around a 72-hour possession over the May bank holiday weekend.

The results are being viewed as a significant achievement that marks an environmental milestone towards clean, carbon-free off-grid working, in support of Network Rail’s target to reduce non-traction energy consumption by almost 20% and carbon emissions by 25% by 2024.  

Nick Matthews, Network Rail programme engineering manager, said: “In business improvement, generally a one or two percent gain is considered significant, so to achieve 97% at the first attempt is simply staggering. Saving close to 6,000 litres of diesel is the same as driving a family car at 40 mpg twice around the circumference of the world.”

Solar lighting and power generation technologies were used across the site covering more than 21-acres. This included access roads, the welfare cabin area, car parking and the track working area. The project spanned a period of 14 days leading up to and following 72-hour possession, with more than 70 rail staff employed on site. 

Using diesel generators to support rail renewal work has been the only option for reliable off-grid power. Now viable solar technologies are being seen as a vital contribution to non-traction carbon targets, as well as to reduce the noise, smell and air pollution from diesel exhausts, especially next to residential areas. Full story.

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