Four Class 321 units are being converted into a new express freight train.
Eversholt Rail and Gemini Rail Services (Gemini) are to convert four Class 321 units into carriers for Swift Express Freight. Conversion work will this month with the delivery of the first unit expected in February 2022.
With the HGV driver shortage and other logistics issues affecting supply chains across the UK, Eversholt Rail is negotiating with train operators who wish to capitalise on the HGV and supply chain problems.
Negotiations are at an advanced stage and a lease for the four units is expected by the end of this year.
RailAdvent were at the unveiling of the Swift Express back in July and you can read our in-depth report here.
Swift Express Freight is a cost-effective way to transport goods by rail into city centres or rail-linked warehouse facilities. By shifting from road to rail, Express Rail Freight will remove HGVs from towns and cities, thereby reducing congestion whilst supporting the drive to net-zero emissions by 2050.
The Class 321 units are an evolution of the Swift First-in-Class launched in July 2021. The original version saw seats removed, and new flooring and a retention system fitted. In the latest units, Gemini will remove the toilets and relocate the GSM-R and OTM-R equipment to provide extra capacity.
Paul Sutherland, Client Services Director at Eversholt Rail said: “We’re pleased to agree this Swift conversion programme with Gemini. The logistics industry is facing delivery and environmental challenges that Swift Express Freight can alleviate. The agreement to convert four Swift units will build on the current momentum and enable an operator to showcase the full spectrum of benefits on offer – we look forward to seeing the units in service and supporting the growth of the concept in 2022.”
Austin Wallace, Chief Executive Officer at Gemini Rail Services said: “We’re delighted to be working with Eversholt Rail on this innovative project that will provide the UK logistics industry with a cost effective and lower carbon transport solution. We look forward to completing the conversion and supporting the delivery of the trains into service next year.”