Hundreds of containers carried weekly

A new rail freight service is being starting from the Midlands, to the Port of Felixstowe, five days

A new rail freight service is being starting from the Midlands, to the Port of Felixstowe, five days a week initially by GB Railfreight. Picture: DANIEL WILLIAMS - Credit: Archant

A new rail freight service connecting the Port of Felixstowe with the Birch Coppice terminal in the Midlands has been launched by GB Railfreight.

It is the latest initiative in removing shipping containers from the road and on to rail services and will carry goods to and from the Suffolk port.

Hundreds of shipping containers (boxes) can be moved every week on the new direct service.

The first locomotive on the service left Birch Coppice at 14:14 on January 23, 2019 and arrived at Felixstowe at 20:14, having passed through Hams Hall, Leicester, Peterborough and Ipswich along the way.

Made up of 33 platforms, the service transports a mixture of intermodal containers, and will initially run five days a week.

Clemence Cheng, chief executive officer at the Port of Felixstowe and executive director of Hutchison Ports, said: “We are delighted to welcome this latest service offering from GB Railfreight. The Port of Felixstowe already offers a wide array of rail services through our three intermodal terminals and this latest service supports the range of sustainable transport options available to port users.”

John Smith, managing director of GB Railfreight added: “We’re thrilled to be putting on this new service, which will be running on a daily basis. It is demonstrative of the wider sea change we are seeing in the rail freight industry, as the UK moves from its industrial roots to become a service and consumer- led economy. This is reflected in the fact that intermodal traffic now accounts for approximately 36% of rail freight industry wide.

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“The route is also practical, with this new Midlands service meaning Birch Coppice can accommodate business that was going to Hams Hall, allowing our client Wincanton additional space for its logistics operation that is centred around the facility.”

Regular rail services are also run from Felixstowe to Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Teesport, Birmingham, Doncaster, Selby, Hams Hall, Wakefield, Ditton (Widnes), Rotherham and Cardiff.

Felixstowe, as the UK’s first purpose-built container-handling facility, it is also the largest and busiest container port in the country.

With three rail terminals, it also has the busiest and biggest intermodal rail freight facility in the UK.