The gleaming, long-distance passenger trains normally seen at London King’s Cross station have been replaced by freight trains as GB Railfreight (GBRf), one of the largest rail freight operators in the UK, has been working with Network Rail on a project to renew the signalling system and overhead line equipment in the station area and to install a new simplified track design.
Part of the East Coast Upgrade programme, a £1.2 billion investment into significant improvements to the East Coast main line, GBRf will run a total of over 100 trains from Doncaster and Whitemoor Local Distribution Centres between February and May 2021, making this the largest possession site that the freight operator has contributed to at any one time.
Work began on 26 February, with several very intense weeks for GBRf’s engineering trains. This is to be followed by extended support until the end of May 2021. At the work’s peak, on Monday 1 March, more than 25 GBRf locos were on site.
GB Railfreight managing director John Smith said: “This is another example of GB Railfreight stepping up to support a huge bespoke project. It required a tailored solution, which we will be able to deliver thanks to the effective collaboration that is consistently shown across our team.
“We are proud to have demonstrated to Network Rail, and the wider rail industry, that GBRf can rise to a challenge and deliver a solution to support major infrastructure projects. This puts us in a strong position to accept similar campaigns in the future.”
Ed Akers, Network Rail’s principal programme sponsor, added: “We’re extremely grateful to all of our contractors, who are together making the King’s Cross improvements possible. GBRf are playing a key role this work which, when complete in June, will see a new simplified track layout, two additional new tracks and the replacement of overhead line equipment and new signalling.
“For the next few months, we will be fully focused on the successful delivery of the work and bring improved reliability and punctuality while also ensuring we have the capacity to transport more passengers in the future.”