Porterbrook is supplying the Rail Operations Group (ROG) with bi-mode Flex trains to support the company’s expansion into the rail postal industry. Porterbrook will renovate two of its innovative Flex trains for light logistics traffic. The trains are capable of operating on both electrified and non-electrified routes will help meet shippers needs for rapid movement of goods and just-in-time delivery.
“The time is right for a modal shift from road to rail for logistics and express parcels services. ROG are leading the industry in delivering this shift and the Flex trains are the perfect rail-borne solution to make this happen. There is huge opportunity to re-establish a comprehensive network of express parcels trains and help reduce the number of commercial vehicles on UK roads which will, in turn, help to drive improvements in the UK economy,” Karl Watts, CEO of Rail Operations Group, said.
The trains can be made available to single users (one customer secures all space within the train) or to multi-users depending on the shippers’ day-to-day requirements or need to meet deadlines.
Rail Operations has started the campaign to drive a modal shift from road to rail for logistics type goods. Brought about by the demise of heavy industry and an upsurge in ecommerce, the transport of light goods on UK roads has increased dramatically over recent years. Light goods are typically conveyed in pallets or roll-cages. Such commodities lend themselves to being transported by a passenger type rail vehicle as opposed to freight trains.
Rail Operations ordered the first two class 769 4-car bi-mode units (BMU) to pioneer the modal shift. The intention of the first two trains was simply to showcase the potential of using a very versatile, 100mph, express logistics train. However, such is the interest in the new proposal, it is very likely that further class 769 BMUs will be ordered.
Rail Operations (UK) Limited are creating a new train operating company named Orion to undertake the logistics services. The first services are expected to start in early 2020.