Direct Rail Services
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2009)|
|Headquarters||Carlisle, United Kingdom|
|Area served||United Kingdom|
2005 onwards: NDA
Direct Rail Services (DRS) is a freight operating company created by British Nuclear Fuels Limited. The company started rail operations in 1995 using five heavily refurbished Class 20/3 diesel locomotives. Since then it has expanded greatly, and has acquired many more locomotives, most bought second-hand and subsequently refurbished. Ownership of DRS was transferred from BNFL to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority when the NDA was created on 1 April 2005, under the terms of the Energy Act 2004. DRS is the only remaining publicly owned rail freight company in the United Kingdom.
Nuclear flask trains
DRS operates all nuclear flask trains in Britain which, until the late 1990s, were previously operated by EWS (and British Rail before it). Destinations served include the UK nuclear power stations at Heysham, Valley (for Wylfa), Bridgwater (for Hinkley Point), Berkeley (for Oldbury), Hunterston, Torness, Seaton Carew, Dungeness and Sizewell.
There are also occasional trains from Ramsden Dock at Barrow-in-Furness to the processing plant at Sellafield, carrying nuclear waste from nuclear power stations in Japan and the Netherlands for treatment. DRS also have a contract to supply the Royal Navy's Devonport Dockyard with fuel for Britain's nuclear submarine fleet. These trains only run as required. There is also a train from Hull to Sellafield which reprocesses Russian spent fuel.
Intermodal freight trains
The company commenced running intermodal trains from Grangemouth to the Daventry International Railfreight Terminal in 2002, now using Class 66 locomotives, for The Malcolm Group logistics company, carrying containers for both The Malcolm Group and Asda. There is also a daily operation running from Grangemouth to Elderslie. Elderslie previously saw DRS trains from the gypsum works at Kirkby Thore, Cumbria, though this traffic no longer runs.
In 2006 DRS commenced a new service, the "Tesco Express", on behalf of Eddie Stobart in partnership with Tesco, the UK's largest food retailer, to move containers from Daventry north to Mossend and Inverness using a new dedicated low-emission Class 66 locomotive in Eddie Stobart livery, 66411 "Eddie the Engine". A daily service from Grangemouth to Inverness followed in 2009, with another Class 66 in a promotional livery - this time 66414 "James the Engine". The Daventry - Scotland "Stobart" contract transferred to DB Schenker in January 2010, along with the onward daily service to Inverness, though this reverted to DRS operation in summer 2011.
DRS also operates several intermodal trains on behalf of JG Russell, another logistics company, between Daventry and their marshalling yard at Coatbridge. There is a "sugarliner" train running from Purfleet to Daventry, also run by DRS for Russells. There was a short-lived intermodal trial service which ran between Coatbridge and Inverness, though the recession saw this draw to a close in early 2010.
Three further daily Stobart/Tesco trains have since commenced operations over the winter of 2011/12 - Daventry to Tilbury (which has, on occasion, combined with the Russell "sugarliner" train), Daventry to Cardiff Wentloog and Teesport to Ditton. It has been reported in RAIL magazine that is possible that further trains will be added to the Stobart roster.
Passenger services in Cumbria
From 30 November 2009 until 28 May 2010 DRS ran a service between Maryport and Workington following a bridge being damaged by floods. The trains were made up of Class 37s, Class 47s and Class 57s top and tailing DRS Mark 3 carriages.
On 9 January 2012 a trial service was introduced for six weeks by the NDA for its workers with DRS supplying a Class 37 to haul four Mark 2 carriages between Carlisle and Sellafield. The trial was deemed a success with the service to be introduced on a permanent basis in December 2012.
For the first half of 2008 DRS also operated the Stobart Pullman railtour trains, using Class 47 locomotives. DRS has also won traffic from other railfreight operators, taking over the Russell container trains previously run by EWS and also the right to operate some Network Rail sandite trains during the autumn leaf-fall season, currently in the vicinity of Stowmarket and Carlisle. Several locomotives are supplied to DB Schenker Infrastructure Monitoring, based at Derby's Railway Technical Centre, which are then employed to work track monitoring trains for Network Rail.
DRS won the prestigious Northern Belle contract in early 2011, hauling dining trains and excursions for one of the British arms of Venice-Simplon Orient Express. In addition to this, a contract for running trains between Glasgow and Edinburgh and the ocean liner terminals of Southampton, on behalf of Cruise Saver Travel, began in 2011. This is similar to the short-lived Ocean Liner Express trains, which ran in 2008.
Since June 2009 DRS has supplied Class 47 locomotives to National Express East Anglia and Greater Anglia at Norwich Crown Point Depot for Thunderbird duties on the Great Eastern Main Line, as well as for hauling Class 90 electric locomotives from Norwich to Great Yarmouth on summer Saturdays and additional trains for the annual Lowestoft air show. This work was previously undertaken by Cotswold Rail. To cover for a lack of servicable DMUs, on several occasions, the locomotives have been used on Norwich - Great Yarmouth service trains, in top and tail formation with Mark 3 carriages.
DRS has a number of train crew depots, located at Carlisle Kingmoor TMD, Sellafield, Crewe Gresty Bridge TMD, York, Grangemouth, Inverness, Stowmarket and London. A new train crew depot was opened at Daventry in January 2012.
- Carlisle, Kingmoor
Its locomotive fleet is based at Kingmoor depot in Carlisle, which reopened during 2000. Most repairs to the fleet are conducted here, and it has been the site of successful open days on a bi-annual basis since 2003.
Prior to the reopening of Kingmoor depot in 2000, DRS used facilities on-site at Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria from 1995, owned by parent company BNFL, however these are now no longer used. Several sidings inside the Sellafield Ltd compound, at the southern end of the transfer sidings complex, are used as a stabling point for locomotives on nuclear duties.
- Crewe, Gresty Bridge
A new depot at Crewe Gresty Bridge was opened by Gwyneth Dunwoody, MP for Crewe and Nantwich on 23 March 2007. This, like Kingmoor, can handle all but the heaviest maintenance and overhaul work. Prior to the opening of Gresty Bridge, Pete Waterman's LNWR, Crewe facility was utilised by the company. This facility is still used for locos needing wheel turning. DRS also makes use of the compound in Crewe Coal Sidings, for stabling nuclear trains overnight.
Facilities for loco servicing in East Anglia are concentrated at Stowmarket, with a small stabling point at Marsh Lane. This is mainly used during the Autumn leaf-cleaning Sandite season, although locomotives can sometimes be found there at other times of the year, such as when working stoneblowers and other maintenance vehicles between Ashford and the Mid-Norfolk Railway at Dereham or moving vehicles for Greater Anglia to and from Wolverton Works or Crewe IEMD for maintenance and overhaul.
Throughout the year, locomotives or multi-purpose vehicles may be stabled in the Parcels Sidings at York railway station.
Reference: Railfaneurope.net 
|Class 20||8||20301-305, 308-309, 312||20301-304, 308-9, 312 in traffic. (7) 20305 under repair.|
|Class 37||30||37038, 059, 069, 194, 218, 259, 261
37401-2, 405, 409, 419, 422-23, 425
37667, 682, 688
|37038, 194, 218, 259, 402, 405, 409, 419, 423, 425, 601-12, 667, 682, 688 in traffic. (25)
37422 under overhaul.
37059, 069, 401 stored.
|Class 47||11||47501, 790, 802, 805, 810, 813, 818, 828, 832, 841, 853
||47501, 790, 802, 805, 810, 813, 818, 828, 832, 841, 853 in traffic. (11)
|Class 57||15||57002-4, 007-12
57302, 304, 307-309, 311
|57003-4, 007-010, 302, 304, 307, 308, 309, 311 in traffic. (12)
57002, 011, 012 under overhaul.
|66301-5, 421-34 in traffic. (19)|
|Class 68||Vossloh Eurolight||15||68001-15||To be delivered from Autumn 2013.|
On 15 January 2012 DRS announced an order for 15 Vossloh EuroLight UK locos to be delivered in 2013, with options for more. Geared at 160 kilometres per hour (99 mph) for intermodal and passenger work with a Caterpillar 3,750 horsepower (2,800 kW) C175-16 engine, they will be designed to fit the smaller UK loading gauge, and manufactured at Vossloh España's plant in Valencia, Spain. A class number has yet to be announced but Class 68 has been suggested.
- Free Cumbria Floods Train Service to Finish Next Week News and Star (Carlisle) 21 May 2010
- Loco-hauled Cumbrian Coast Commuter Service Rail.co.uk January 2012
- "Direct Rail Services orders 15 Vossloh EuroLight UK locomotives". Railway Gazette International. 5 January 2012.
- "Direct Rail Services confirms Vossloh EuroLight order", www.railjournal.com (International Railway Journal), 5 January 2012
- Railways Illustrated, February 2012, page 13, ISSN 1479-2230
- "DRS orders 10 electro-diesel locomotives from Vossloh". Railway Gazette International. 12 September 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Direct Rail Services.|