Award Winning Class 88 Locomotive
DRS Win ‘Rail Freight Project of the Year’
This year’s RFG dinner in September was the biggest ever and made even more special as it was the tenth annual Awards Dinner. More than 200 of the RFG’s members and their guests attended and commemorative silver plates were handed out to all those companies who had been members for ten years or longer.
Sponsors and presenters on the night John Smith, MD of GB Railfreight (GBRf), and Simon Coppen of Burges Salmon announced Direct Rail Services’ Class 88 locomotive as ‘Railfreight Project of the Year’. The Class 88 (UK Dual) locomotive is a 4.0MW electric locomotive fitted with a 700kW diesel engine. The Class 88 locomotive reduces energy costs and increases average train speed, significantly improving rail freight’s competitive advantages in the market place.
Developed by Direct Rail Services and Stadler Rail Vehicles the Class 88 locomotive raises the bar of locomotive performance for rail freight services. Designed to haul, in electric mode, the heaviest intermodal freight trains at increased average speeds on all electrified trunk routes in the UK, it is also able to move the same train limited distances using it’s diesel engine. This allows freight trains to bridge gaps in the UK electrified network or operate in non-electrified for yards, sidings and customers terminals, allowing more freight to be hauled electrically, further improving rail freight’s green credentials.
Iconic record producer and railway fanatic Pete Waterman OBE, who was the first ever guest speaker, returned to provide a passionate reminder of the importance of the freight sector to the UK economy and urged companies to have an even greater voice at national level. He spoke about his work with the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership and efforts to free up capacity at Crewe and Birmingham. He also spoke in detail about his work to ensure freight could be carried on HS2 in the future and urged freight companies to ensure they had a greater voice at national level.
On the night more than £1700 was raised for the Railway Benefit Fund (RBF), the chosen charity of the RFG Award, through a raffle.
RFG Chairman Tony Berkeley said: “It was an amazing night for the RFG and the rail freight sector as a whole. We all work in a dynamic and innovative community that can compete successfully while still coming together to celebrate the best successes and overcome critical challenges. A huge thank you to everyone who attended and we’ll do our best to top it next year.”
National Rail Awards
DRS’ Class 88 locomotive also came runners up for ‘Train of the Year’ at the National Rail Awards held in September.