EXCLUSIVE: A Q&A with Varamis Rail’s Managing Director ahead of new green parcel rail service

Varamis Rail
Credit: Varamis Rail

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Varamis Rail is aiming to begin operating a new electrified rail service to deliver parcels around the UK – and we thought we would have a chat with the Managing Director to find out their plans.

Varamis Rail is a brand new freight operating company which are aiming to deliver a new concept in parcel delivery and provide huge environmental benefits to the country.

With the new operator saying the new service should begin later in 2020, we have been in touch with the Managing Director of Varamis Rail, Philip Read.

If you have any questions for the MD, get in touch with us, and we will pass them on!

Here is our Q&A with Philip Read:

Are they any known routes which you will operate trains on?

Our HQ is currently being set-up in Doncaster. The initial concept will see us run between London, Doncaster & Newcastle, with quick expansion to Edinburgh/Glasgow.

How often would services operate, to begin with?

As our concept evolves, we’d like to create a service that sees us operate the following paths in any 24hr period, 6 days a week (Sun to Fri):-

Doncaster – London – Newcastle – London – Doncaster

Will you be using existing depots, or will new ones be created for Varamis?

We have to be realistic, and the concept needs to remain simple. Whilst being as cost-effective as possible, we also have sustainability targets that we want to deliver. That means using all available rail terminals or stations, this, in turn, reduces our impact on the environment by ‘re-using’ existing rail facilities that we feel are under-utilised.

In our opinion, we already have the 3 most important resources available for us to fulfil our ambitions: the electrified infrastructure, the trains and the terminals.

Do you know yet what rolling stock you might be using? Locomotive-hauled or multiple units? Full electric or bi-mode?

We intend to use fully-electric 25Kv EMUs that are currently in storage around the UK. Which type we use is still under consideration, but we have a good idea the direction we’d like to progress with.

If the type of train is known, will these be specially built for Varamis or be leased from existing companies?

Varamis Rail has discussed the potential leasing of trains from two ROSCOs, and we hope to acquire trains that will be easy to modify to carry & move parcels and light goods. 

Will trains be operated by Varamis Rail, or will you use existing companies, for example, DB Cargo or Direct Rail Services, to operate the services?

We will operate train services under our own brand and with our own staff. We are currently in discussions with the regulator (ORR) in obtaining our Train Operating License.

Do you know yet how many jobs Varamis will create as a result of this new service?

We’re looking to recruit 20 staff members from Heads of Departments to Train Drivers to Logistics Operatives to start our operation. We would like to grow our business as quickly as possible over the next 5 years, and we hope this will reflect in the employment opportunities

Are there any partners or companies signed up with Varamis Rail yet that you will be carrying parcels for?

We have held discussions with two major brands; one a supermarket and one a parcel delivery company.

Here is a video showcasing what Varamis Rail is all about.

What do you think of this new operator? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. Good luck Varamis. Fantastic concept that’s required now in order to move vital supplies around the country in response to Covid-19.

  2. Well done Varamis Rail on your new venture to try and save the planet with this new green train service. Good promo and advertising should be aimed at embarrasing the polluting road distribution network and gain you customers who wish to use your eco friendly services. Good Luck John.
    PS. My new book from Pen & Sword, ‘Freight Trains in the North of England’, is out on March 30.

  3. Just what’s needed , and long overdue It deserves to succeed and Railfuture Yorkshire hope and trust it does.

  4. Varamis Rail will have competition with Royal Mail competing for high speed parcel services. As Royal Mail Class 325s are mostly used on the West Coast Main Line.


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