On Tuesday 18th September, GB Railfreight Class 66 locomotive no. 66752, ‘The Hoosier State’ had the privilege of being the first freight train to arrive at the newly-opened iPort Rail inland port in Rossington, Doncaster.
The fully loaded service began its journey on Tuesday morning, departing from Solent Stevedores at 05:07, before arriving at iPort Rail at 14.33 on Tuesday afternoon, where its intermodal cargo was unloaded. New containers were loaded on, and the train departed at 18:04 back to Southampton, a service that will now run five days a week.
Made up of 36 platforms, the arrival marked a milestone as the first commercial service to arrive at the £14m, 30-acre iPort Rail terminal. This new facility provides a state-of-the-art rail freight hub able to accommodate the UK’s longest trains up to six times a day, six days a week. It currently has storage for 1,500 TEU storage containers, plus room for expansion, with each of the reach stackers on site able to lift up to 115 tonnes. Connected via the South Yorkshire Joint Freight Line direct to the East Coast Main Line and the UK national rail network, it has been designed to meet Channel Tunnel (SACTFF) approved secure facility standards for international movements.
John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:
"GB Railfreight is absolutely thrilled to be the first commercial service to arrive at the newly-opened iPort Rail facility in Doncaster. Its opening marks a great development for the UK freight industry. The fact the loco went from Solent Stevedores to iPort also shows the excellent relationship we have with the team in Southampton. We look forward to seeing these partnerships flourish even more going forward.
More broadly, this new intermodal flow demonstrates that rail freight has a key role to play in delivering goods around the country and is primed to expand should the opportunity arise. Doing so takes lorries off our roads, reduces congestion and lowers air pollution which is a factor in tens of thousands of premature deaths. GBRf will continue to press government on this, and with the new service to and from iPort Rail, we have an outstanding example."
Steve Freeman, Managing Director of iPort Rail, said
"This is a very important milestone for iPort Rail, opening up a new logistics route into and out of South Yorkshire and reinforcing our strong working relationship with GBRf. iPort is the perfect logistics location – very close to the M18 and Doncaster Sheffield Airport and within two hours of Hull and Immingham as well as being around seven hours from the UK’s other major ports. 87% of the UK mainland population is within a four-hour drive time. We’re really proud of the standard of facilities here and our team has been focussing most of all on efficient operations that will give everyone a short turnaround time.
From here we are continuing to build up services to the facility and are looking forward to working closely with GBRf going forward to link iPort Rail with other sea ports and logistics hubs around the country."
Fiona Robson, Managing Director at Solent Stevedores comments,
"Over the last 12 months we have developed an excellent working partnership with GBRf. We are absolutely thrilled to see them grow their services from our terminal, which is the result of a huge amount of hard work from both teams and testament to the excellent facility we operate – now one of the most efficient of its kind in the UK. We are excited to build on this success with GBRf moving forward."