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Porterbrook is supplying the Rail Operations Group (ROG) with bi-mode FLEX trains to support the company’s expansion into the rail postal industry. Increasing congestion on the road network, a shortage of HGV drivers and the rapid growth in on-line shopping has led many shipping firms to explore rail as a key part of their logistics chain. A lack of suitable trains has thus far delayed the move.
Working with ROG, Porterbrook will renovate two of its innovative FLEX trains for light logistics traffic. The FLEX 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 Class 319 Flex concept is designed to create a bi-mode train by fitting two diesel powered alternators, one under each of the driving trailer cars. The diesel alternators provide power to the existing traction and auxiliary equipment to allow the EMU to operate without an overhead or 3rd rail supply. The systems will provide power through the train’s DC bus, avoiding any significant changes to the existing equipment and creating a unit capable of operating from a number of different power sources whilst maintaining its full capabilities on electrified routes.
The operational flexibility of the bi-mode FLEX train complements the flexibility of ROG’s offering to light logistics shippers. 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. Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook said: "We are excited be breaking new ground with ROG as we both move into light parcel logistics for the first time. The UK’s light logistics sector is experiencing huge changes and we’re delighted that we can support the sustainable solution on the rail network. Porterbrook is particularly pleased that ROG have recognised the potential for non-passenger use of our innovative FLEX trains and over coming months we will be exploring further opportunities to support the successful UK railfreight sector."
Karl Watts, CEO of Rail Operations Group, said: "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.”
Maggie Simpson, Director General of the Rail Freight Group (RFG), said: "RFG welcomes ROG’s move into the express parcels market, this is traffic that is highly suited to the rail network. I am also very pleased to see Porterbrook’s renewed appetite for railfreight investment. The creation of dedicated FLEX trains for light logistics work is a significant vote of confidence in our sector." The new FLEX parcels trains will be delivered to ROG in early 2020.
This article first appeared on www.focustransport.org
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