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Railfreight is Starting to Move Away from Diesel with Freightliner Looking for Greener Efficiency

September 5, 2020 2:01 PM

Freightliner Electric Locomotive (Genesee and Wyoming)Freightliner, a railfreight company that specialises in regular scheduled trains of a standard length between dedicated freight terminals, is now owned by Genesee & Wyoming Inc, an American rail holding company operating on 116 owned or leased rail lines in the US and Canada and national rail networks in Europe and the UK. Freightliner UK has recently acquired 13 Class 90 locomotives from Porterbrook Leasing to complement its existing 10 locomotives and 90014 is the second such locomotive to be repainted in the G&W livery.

Some of these will replace their ageing fleet of Class 86 electric locomotives which date from the 1960s. They will be retired from service until they can be overhauled and re-introduced as Freightliner continues expands its electrically hauled services.

They operate using the 25kV overhead line supply, reducing the dependency on diesel traction, increasing efficiency and cutting costs and CO2 emissions. Rail freight is already produces 76% less carbon per gross tonne mile than road freight, and moving from diesel to electric traction will improve on that reduction even more.

Freightliner is the already the largest user in the UK of electric locomotives to haul freight. In terms of kilometres moved, Freightliner and Freightliner Heavy Haul are the second largest railfreight operator in the UK , just after market leader, Deutsche Bahn.

Some of their diesel locomotives to be used for a new arrival on the railfreight scene, the Japanese company, Ocean Network Express, who signed a contract with Freightliner in 2018. The switch from road to rail under this 3-year arrangement will see 118,320 roadfreight miles removed from UK roads with an extimated 67% in this case in greenhouse gas emissions.

Other new business includes a twice-daily 90 mile service in partnership with Peel Ports to take IKEA goods from Teesport to Doncaster, removing 120 lorry journeys per day off the roads.

Meanwile Eddie Stobart and Direct Rail Services have joinrd up to jointly provide a new weekend service of 36 containers between Tilbury and Grangemouth, near Edinburgh.