GB Railfreight has used a Class 319 train during a successful trial of former commuter trains for express parcel delivery services.
A service was run into London Euston earlier this month using the 100mph Class 319 EMUs, which were used by London Midland / LNWR to provide passenger services.
The trial showed the trains could successfully be loaded and offloaded with standard roll cages at most mainline stations across the UK. Additionally, the test showed that, with the seats removed, the carriages could carry a significant volume of parcels.
This is the first time that a successful trial of using a converted commuter train has been undertaken in the UK.
GBRf is now in discussion with the government over how this service could help hospitals during the current pandemic crisis.
The railway network used to be extensively used for parcel deliveries between stations, however, apart from Royal Mail trains using specially designed Class 325 EMUs, parcel trains disappeared decades ago.
What did the officials say?
John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:
“We are committed to continuing to help the UK get through this period by ensuring that vital supplies are delivered. Rail freight has the advantage in being able to efficiently move very large volumes of goods in a safe and reliable way.
“This successful trial shows how the railways can play their role in helping the speedy delivery of vital supplies and we are keen to be able to do our bit to help the NHS meet the logistical challenge of keeping our hospitals supplied during this period of huge demand.
“Post-crisis these services could play a role in reducing air pollution and carbon emissions associated with parcel deliveries. With deliveries being brought into the heart of cities by train overnight and last mile deliveries then undertaken by electric powered vehicles.”
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