DB Schenker Rail (UK)
- EWS redirects here. For other uses, see EWS (disambiguation)
Rail Express Systems
|Area served||United Kingdom|
|Key people||Edward Burkhardt (Chairman & CEO 1995-1999)
Keith Heller (CEO / Co-chairman) 2004-2010
Alain Thauvette CEO
|Services||Bulk freight and intermodal logistics|
|Subsidiaries||Euro Cargo Rail
DB Schenker Rail (UK), before 2009 known as English, Welsh & Scottish Railway (EWS), is a British rail freight company headquartered in Doncaster, England.
The company was founded in 1995 as North and South Railways by a consortium led by Wisconsin Central Transportation Corporation, and backed by private equity firms, and was renamed EWS the following year. It acquired of five of the six freight companies sold during the privatisation of British Rail,[note 1] becoming the UK market leader in rail freight transportation.
In November 2007, EWS was sold to Deutsche Bahn, and in January 2009 rebranded as DB Schenker.
In 1988, British Rail's freight operations were split into two divisions Railfreight Distribution (RfD) and Trainload Freight (TLF). RfD was formed from British Rail's Speedlink and Freightliner services and general wagonload and trainload services, excluding bulk coal, petroleum, aggregates and metals. BR's bulk trainload services were handled by the Trainload Freight division. In 1991 the Rail Express Systems brand was created, which handled mail and postal services.
After the passing of the Railways Act 1993 five rail freight companies were created from RfD and TLF. On 1 April 1994 TLF was split into three separate geographical businesses: Trainload North East, Trainload West and Trainload South East, with each initially given existing contracts based on the geographic origin of the trainflow, plus some contract trainload services previously handled by RfD. which were later renamed Loadhaul, Mainline Freight and Transrail Freight. The remainder of RfD was split into two companies: Freightliner (container operations between ports), with the residual RfD company operating freight trains through the Channel Tunnel. The Mail and Parcels business were sold as Rail Express Systems and Red Star Parcels.
These companies were subsequently put up for sale by competitive tender.
English, Welsh & Scottish Railway
To bid for the ex-BR businesses being offered for sale North and South Railways Limited was formed. It was owned by a consortium headed by Wisconsin Central, with additional financing provided by the financial sector including Berkshire Partners, Goldman Sachs and Fay Richwhite.
The company's first acquisition was that of Rail Express Systems on 9 December 1995, for £24.2 million. With this came the contract for the Royal Mail train service, including the Travelling Post Office trains; the contract was one of the most profitable obtained by the company. Then, on 24 February 1996, British Rail's three trainload freight companies - Loadhaul, Mainline Freight and Transrail Freight - were acquired for a total of £225 million.
All four companies were subsequently merged into North and South Railways, nullifying the government effort to create multiple competitive rail freight firms through the privatisation; the decision to allow the creation of a rail freight company with a dominant market position was justified through the additional competition faced from other transport modes. Initially, the four companies continued to trade under their existing names. On 25 April 1996, the EWS brand was unveiled. On 10 July 1996 the holding company's name was changed to English, Welsh & Scottish Railway Holdings Limited. In October 1996, Loadhaul and Mainline Freight were merged with Transrail Freight, and employees tranferred to Transrail Freight, which was then renamed to English Welsh & Scottish Railway Limited.
One of the first actions of the enlarged company was to seek volunteers for redundancy, as it sought to reduce staff numbers by around 3,000, from 7,600.
On 22 November 1997 EWS took over the loss-making Railfreight Distribution, for which it received grants and subsidies estimated to amount to £242 million over eight years, including subsidies for the use of the Channel Tunnel. Railfreight Distribution's businesses included international containerised freight, movement of cars and automotive components by rail, and freight services for the Ministry of Defence. At the time of the takeover, it had 150 locomotives including the specialised Class 92 locomotives for the Channel Tunnel, and was making a yearly loss of around £65 million. The sale was concluded on 12 March 1997. Railfreight Distribution was renamed English, Welsh & Scottish Railway International Ltd on 1 December 1998.
The new company had over 900 locomotives and 19,000 freight wagons, and 7,000 employees. Track access charges were renegotiated and after 1800 job redundancies the workers involved in profit sharing and other incentivised working plans; as a result shipping rates were reduced by over 30%. Many locomotives inherited on foundation were considered unreliable, and expensive to maintain; the company invested heavily in modernisation of its rolling stock; by 2002 £750 million had been invested, including 280 new locomotives and over 2,000 new wagons.[note 2]
EWS's services included mail, locomotive hire, wagonload traffic (branded 'Enterprise', founded by Transrail Freight), cross channel trains via the Channel Tunnel, trainload freight including oil, aggregates, cement and traffic related to the coal, electricity generation and steel industries, and infrastructure trains for Railtrack. Additionally, in the decade following privatisation EWS began to compete for container traffic contracts,[note 3] and its competitor Freightliner Group also entered into competition for trainload freight, as did DRS (a subsidiary of British Nuclear Fuels) which was initially set up to move radioactive materials by rail. EWS's turnover in 1999 was £533.7 million (an 80% market share by value) with a profit of £32.8 million.
In January 2001, the Canadian National Railway announced it had agreed to purchase Wisconsin Central. The deal, which included Wisconsin Central's 42.5% stake in EWS, was concluded in October 2001.
The contract with Royal Mail was lost in 2003 (switching to road transport), due to cost. EWS acquired the assets of wagon bogie company, Probotec Ltd. in 2005,[note 4] forming it into a new subsidiary, "Axiom Rail".
By 2006 EWS's turnover was approaching £1 billion, while profit was £14 million. In 2006 the Office of Rail Regulation fined the company £4.1million for anti-competitive practices in the coal haulage business, in which it had held a near monopoly, following complaints by Enron and Freightliner Heavy Haul in 2001 and 2002.[note 5]
In 2006 EWS acquired wagon maintenance business Marcroft (Stoke on Trent), as a result of the potential of the acquisition to reduce competition in the UK wagon repair market the acquisition was referred to the Competition Commission by the Office of Fair Trading, who required it to sell all or part of the business excluding Marcroft's works at Stoke.
DB Schenker Rail (UK)
On 28 June 2007, it was announced at a press conference held by Deutsche Bahn (DB), EWS and Spanish rail forwarder Transfesa that DB was to acquire all the shares in EWS as soon as contracts were signed. The value of the deal was estimated at £300 million; at the time EWS had a market share of around 70% in the United Kingdom and around 5,000 employees. After the transaction was approved by the European Commissioner for Competition, the sale was completed on 13 November 2007.
At the time of the sale, it was announced that EWS would not be rebranded, but on 1 January 2009, EWS along with Deutsche Bahn's existing freight organisation Railion and freight logistics arm DB Schenker were all re-branded DB Schenker.
As part of a formal launch of the new brand,[note 6] British Rail Class 59 No.59206 was unveiled in full DB Schenker branding at a ceremony at the National Railway Museum in York on 21 January 2009.
In 2009 DB Schenker Rail began work to enable Class 92 hauled trains to operate freight services on the High Speed 1 by installing in cab TVM signalling. The project received funding from the European Commission and it was originally anticipated services would begin in early 2010. On 25 March 2011 for the first time a modified class 92 locomotive travelled from Dollands Moor to Singlewell using the TVM430 signalling system. The first of five planned test trains ran as a loaded container train from Hams Hall, West Midlands to Novara, Italy on 27 May 2011. DB planned to upgrade an additional five Class 92 locomotives to allow them to run on High Speed 1, making a fleet of six.
In July 2011 a trial run of wagons carrying curtain walled swap bodies built to a larger European loading gauge was run from Dollands Moor, Folkestone to east London. From 11 November 2011 a weekly service using European sized swap bodies has run between Barking, London and Wroclaw, Poland using High Speed 1.
Services and rolling stock
In May 1996, an order for 250 Class 66s and 30 Class 67s was placed. These replaced all of the 20, 31, 33, 37, 47, 56, 58 and 86 class locomotives. Through improved utilisation, they also replaced many of the newer 60 and 90 class locomotives.
Several of these redundant locomotives saw further use on infrastructure trains in Europe with Class 37s operated in France (40), Italy (2) and Spain (14), Class 56s in France (30), and Class 58s in France (19), Holland (3) and Spain (8).
As well as an extensive fleet of freight wagons, DB Schenker Rail operate a small fleet of Mark 2 and Mark 3 carriages. Some of the former are on lease to First ScotRail for use on Fife Circle services, while the latter form the DB Schenker Company Train.
DB Schenker's primary maintenance depot is Toton TMD. The electric fleet is maintained at Crewe Electric TMD. With a modern fleet requiring less maintenance, many of the depots EWS inherited have closed. Some of its other facilities including Bristol, Cambridge, Eastleigh and Newcastle have been transferred to fellow Deutsche Bahn subsidiary LNWR.
Locomotive haulage for Passenger services
Since its inception, EWS has provided locomotives for the Caledonian Sleeper. Class 90s haul the services between Euston station and Edinburgh Waverley/Glasgow Central, where Class 67s takeover, having replaced Class 37 and Class 47s in the early 2000s. This work will cease on 31 March 2015.
EWs have previously hauled passenger trains for Arriva Trains Northern, First Great Western First North Western, National Express East Anglia, Valley Lines, Virgin CrossCountry Virgin West Coast and Wrexham & Shropshire.
In April 1996, EWS adopted a maroon and yellow livery. Initial repaints carried EW&S lettering, however this was simplified to EWS in January 1997. In January 2009, the DB Schenker corporate red livery was adopted. A few locomotives have been repainted in other liveries including Class 90s in GNER, First ScotRail and Direct Rail Services liveries, and Class 67s in Royal Train, Wrexham & Shropshire and unbranded Arriva Trains Wales liveries.
- DB Schenker Company Train
- History of rail transport in Great Britain
- List of companies operating trains in the United Kingdom
- Rail freight transport in Great Britain
- The sixth rail freight company created during privatisation, Freightliner, was privatised through a management buyout.
- The main orders were: 250 EMD Series 66 locomotives from GM-EMD built in USA/Canada, 30 JT 42HW-HS from Alstom / Electro Motive Diesel (Spain/USA), and around 2500 wagons from Thrall Car Manufacturing Company, built at the Thrall Europa, York works.
- After 2002 began intermodal services from the ports of Felixstowe, Southhampton, and Tilbury.
- Probotec was formed 2004 from Powell Duffryn Rail. Powell Duffryn Rail originated as the Cambrian Wagon Company, registered 1905, numerous amalgamations and changes of shareholding, became part of Powell Duffryn in 1935; also acquired the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company in 1986.
- Complaints made in 2003 alleging predatory pricing in the passenger charter sector were not upheld.
- Previously two EWS locomotives had received DB Schenker branding — including a light blue British Rail Class 60 No.60074 named "Teenage Cancer Trust"
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"Freight trains set to use High Speed 1". DB Schenker Rail. 16 April 2009.
- "European sized rail freight to arrive in the UK soon, following successful locomotive trial" (Press release). DB Schenker Rail (UK). 25 March 2011.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to English, Welsh and Scottish Railway.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to DB Schenker Rail (UK).|
- Official website
- "EWS company website", www.ews-railway.co.uk, archived from the original on 11 November 1998 – 12 February 2009