GB Railfreight

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GB Railfreight
Industry Rail
Predecessor(s) First GBRf (2003-2010)
GB Railfreight (1999-2003)
Founded 1999
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Number of locations 12
Key people Managing Director: John Smith
Services Freight train operator
Owner(s) Eurotunnel Group
Parent Europorte
Class 66 in First GBRf livery
First GBRf logo

GB Railfreight[1] is a freight train operating company in the United Kingdom. It is owned by Europorte, a subsidiary of Eurotunnel.


GB Railfreight was founded in 1999 by GB Railways.[2] Unlike competitors DB Schenker and Freightliner, the company was not formed from parts of the privatised British Railways freight sectors.

In August 2003 GB Railways was purchased by FirstGroup and GB Railfreight was rebranded First GBRf.[3]

In November 2004 First GBRf began operating Royal Mail services using Class 325s.[4] This was later extended until 2010.[5][6]

In May 2010 FirstGroup put the business up for sale. Eurotunnel, Freightliner and SNCF were reported as being interested in the company.[7] The company was acquired by Europorte a subsidiary of the Eurotunnel on 1 June 2010 for £26.3 million.[8] Following the acquisition by Europorte, the company reverted to its original name and a revised version of the original livery.


The Class 08 shunters are used for shunting work in the GB Railfreight depots.

The Class 66 fleet is used on the main freight flows and the five Metronet liveried Class 66s are also employed on London Underground maintenance. GB Railfreight Class 66s were also hired to Fastline Freight to operate their coal flows until their own Class 66s had been delivered. In October 2012 three unused Class 66s stabled in the Netherlands were purchased, and later in 2013 a further two Class 66s that were previously in service in Europe were also obtained.[9][10] GBRf's 66734 has also been written-off after it was involved in a serious derailment at Loch Treig while operating a train of alcan tanks from North Blyth to Fort William on Thursday 28 June 2012.

GB Railfreight use their Class 73 fleet in the south on engineering trains and other work such as empty coaching stock moves for passenger operators.

GB Railfreight has a number of Class 92 locomotives acquired by Europorte before the purchase of GB Railfreight.

GB Railfreight has several Class 20s for use on London Underground S Stock deliveries. It currently hires nine from various owners including Harry Needle Railroad Company with possibly a further three joining the fleet.[citation needed] Two have been repainted in GBRf livery.

GB Railfreight also has a pair of refurbished Vanguard 0-6-0DH locos (re-numbered DH50-1 and DH50-2) for use at Tremorfa/Cardiff Tidal works[11]


GB Railfreight has 12 locations along the eastern side of England. The Headquarters is at 15-25 Artillery Lane, London. The other eleven locations which GB Railfreight own or serve are:[12]

SSI Redcar, Teesside

In February 2011, GB Railfreight also took over the workings of Cardiff Tidal/Tremorfa/Celsa in South-East Wales.[13]


The company operates several different types of freight traffic.

Fleet details[edit]

Class Image Type Introduced Fleet Size Wheel Arr Numbers
Class 08 British Rail Class 08 Shunter - 08911 - National Railway Museum - York - 2005-10-15.jpg Shunter 1953 2 0-6-0 08925, 08934[16]
Class 09 Shunter 1959 2 0-6-0 09002, 09009[16]
Class 20 20030 and 20064 Shirebrook Depot.jpg Diesel locomotive 1957-1968 9 Bo-Bo 20096, 107, 142, 189, 227
311, 314, 901, 905[16]
Class 66 66713 'Forest City' at Crewe Works.jpg Diesel locomotive 2002 50 Co-Co 66701-733, 735-751[16]
Class 73 73205 and 73204 at Eastleigh.jpg Electro-diesel locomotive 1966 10 Bo-Bo 73119, 141, 204-209, 212-213[16]
Class 92 Railfest 2012 MMB 88 92032.jpg Electric locomotive 1993 7 Co-Co 92020, 021, 032, 040, 044-046[16]
Vanguard 0-6-0DH Diesel locomotive 2011 2 DH50-1, DH50-2[16]


  1. ^ "GB Railfreight Limited 03707899" (extract). Register of Companies (Companies House). Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  2. ^ Schabas, Michael (October 2003). "Memorandum by GB Railfreight". Hansard. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  3. ^ "GB Rail Offer Unconditional". Corporate News (Press release). FirstGroup plc. 14 August 2003. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  4. ^ "Mail to move by rail again". GB Railfreight News (Press release). 18 October 2004. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  5. ^ "GB Railfreight wins Royal Mail contract". GB Railfreight News (Press release). 20 May 2005. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  6. ^ "FirstGBRf wins new contact (sic) with Royal Mail". GB Railfreight News (Press release). 15 June 2007. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  7. ^ Barnard, Bruce (3 May 2010). "European Rivals Bid for GB Railfreight". The Journal of Commerce. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  8. ^ "Eurotunnel buys GB Railfreight from FirstGroup". Railway Gazette. 1 June 2010. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  9. ^ Dutch 66s for GBRf 23 October 2012[dead link]
  10. ^ " - 2013-12-25 - [GB] Beacon Rail / GBRf 66751 released from Longport; images of 66750". Retrieved 1 January 2014. "… one of two Beacon Rail Class 66 locomotives that were previously in service on the European mainland …" 
  11. ^ Trotter, Phil. "Industrial Diesel & Electric Locomotives" (photo gallery annotation). Retrieved 18 October 2012. "GBRf's DH50-1 … to replace ageing class 08s here with reconditioned industrial locomotives; … as rebuild no. 9376 of 2011." 
  12. ^ "GB Railfreight: Locations". GB Railfreight. Retrieved 8 August 2010. 
  13. ^ a b Bray, Martin (14 December 2011). "Cardiff Tidal Sidings". Tidal, Margam & Canton. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  14. ^ Webmaster (10 April 2011). "GB Railfreight hires 55022". Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  15. ^ "GB Railfreight secures Greenergy deal". 20 December 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g GBRf Fleet Allocation 16/10/12 16 October 2012[dead link]

External links[edit]