Freeing up resources: DB Cargo UK experiments with jumbo trains

2022/03/17 at 5:38 PM

DB Cargo UK, the largest rail freight operator in Great Britain, has successfully conducted an experiment with jumbo trains. The company coupled two wagon sets for different customers into one train. Such a combination allows the operator to reduce its costs and redirect the freed resources for other tasks.

Looking for new solutions to reduce its costs, DB Cargo UK has decided to combine wagon sets for different customers into one train. Earlier in March, such a combined jumbo train made a successful journey from Belmont Yard in Doncaster to Barking, East London. It moved two sets of empty open wagons, including 21 units for Ward Recycling and 18 units for FCC Environment. Besides the wagons, an isolated dead-in-train was attached in the middle of the train. “We had to obtain special permission to run the service with a locomotive in the middle dead-in-train but this reduced the need for complicated shunting at both ends of the journey,” said Roger Neary, Chief Sales Officer at DB Cargo UK.

Combined jumbo train of DB Cargo UK, source: DB Cargo UK

Before joining into one train, the wagons of Ward Recycling were unloaded at Immingham in North Lincolnshire and the wagons of FCC Environment at the company’s waste transfer facility at Tinsley in South Yorkshire. Afterwards, both sets of wagons were moved to DB Cargo UK’s Belmont Yard depot in Doncaster where the jumbo train was assembled. The combined train was hauled from Belmont Yard to Barking, East London.

Main advantages

By coupling two wagon sets into one train, DB Cargo UK reduces its operational costs. “Combining two customers’ services into one train allowed us to reduce the required number of train crew, freeing up resources to use on other services. It also enabled us to significantly reduce our fuel consumption, making the train not only leaner, but greener too,” added Roger Neary.

Moreover, the combined jumbo trains open up more opportunities for intensifying rail freight traffic on Britain’s mainlines. According to DB Cargo UK, the initiative would drive greater reliability on a rail corridor between the ports of Felixstowe and London Gateway as well as from the company’s terminal in London to two new facilities at Tinsley and Peterborough.

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