Advenza Freight

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Advenza Freight
Industry Rail freight
Fate Wound up
Founded 8 February 2001
Founder Tony Hagon
Defunct 7 October 2009
Parent Cotswold Rail

Advenza Freight[1] was an English rail freight company based in Gloucester. It was part of the Cotswold Rail group. The company was wound up in October 2009.


57005 in Chesterfield in January 2009

Advenza Freight was founded in 2001. It obtained a safety case in 2002[2] and a licence to operate from the Rail Regulator on 16 November 2003.[3][note 1]

The company initially sought guarantees from Network Rail on timing and regularity of train paths,[5] but was only able to obtain permission to "spot bid" for free train paths,[5] and so was unable reliably to secure paths for its trains to be able to commence commercially viable operations. Both types of right have restrictive flex provisions for Network Rail and stipulate a maximum turn round time. It then sought guarantees from Network Rail through the Office of Rail Regulation regarding the provision of paths for its trains, in January 2004, it reached agreement with Network Rail, and was to start running containerised palletised freight from London (Barking) to Glasgow.[6]

Advenza was scheduled to commence operating between Barking, Essex (Roadways Limited's sidings) and Deanside Glasgow (John G Russell) in April 2004, using trains of containers which would be trans-shipped from rail to the respective operator depots to tranship pallet load freight. This was using three cycles a week, north bound Monday-Wednesday-Friday, and southbound Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday. However, due to uncertainties with the provision of locomotives and the fact that the supporting systems were not yet in place even though all the drivers had been route-trained, the launch was postponed.

Following negotiations with other train operators to provide rolling stock and traction, refinancing of the company introducing new investors, completion of the IT systems, further training of the drivers, and being able to obtain fixed paths from Network Rail, the "FreightBus" service commenced operations now between Willesden, London and Mossend, Glasgow on 25 October 2004.[7] This was a nightly service in both directions, operating as the UK's only Class 1 freight service at the time, hauled by EWS Class 90 electric locomotives operating up to 110 mph. The north and south bound services were timed to meet at Preston where the train crews would change over. For the three weeks that the service was in operation, only one train was late on arrival.

However the turn up and go pallet service fully backed by an on-line booking system failed to attract sufficient customers and so was closed, and the company put up for sale.

In 2005 Cotswold Rail acquired Advenza primarily for its safety case.[8] In 2006 Advenza gained permission to operate passenger trains on the UK network.[9][note 1]

As well as operating locomotives for Cotswold Rail's passenger charters, the company undertook transport of rolling stock, as well as operating several scrap metal trains including workings from Stockton on Tees to Cardiff,[10] and Shipley,[11] and from Hitchin to Sheerness;[12] the company having begun leasing 102t GLW box wagons from VTG in 2008.[13] A fly ash train from West Burton Power Station to Tilbury was operated briefly, starting on 2 June 2009.[14]

The company was wound up on 7 October 2009 after an application by HM Revenue & Customs over unpaid taxes.[15][16][17]


Advenza operated two Class 47s (47237 and 47375),[18] two Class 57s (57005 and 57006),[19] and four Class 66s (66841 - 66844).[20] The Class 66 locomotives were acquired in the summer of 2009, shortly before the company ceased business, and 66843 is thought to have not have been used in revenue service.[21][22]

The company also leased other locomotive types including Class 20s,[23] and operated trains for Cotswold Rail using its passenger train operating licence.[24]


  1. ^ a b Licences to operate trains were extended by supplemental agreements for both passenger and freight work until the company became defunct.[4]


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 4156372 Advenza Freight Limited
  2. ^ Executive Summary Advenza Freight 15 June 2003
  3. ^ "First Supplemental Agreement between Network Rail Infrastructure Limited and Advenza Freight Limited relating to the amendment of a track access agreement" (PDF),, Office of Rail Regulation, 15 March 2004, The parties entered into a Track Access Agreement (NonPassenger Services) dated 16 October 2003 in a form approved by the Regulator 
  4. ^ Track access decisions library, Office of Rail Regulation , see decisions for "Advenza Freight" 2004-2009
  5. ^ a b "Application from Advenza Freight Limited under Section 17 of the Railways Act 1993" (PDF),, Reasons for the application under section 17 of the Act, 2 October 2003, Advenza is seeking a level 1, firm freight track access right for a train service each weekday between these two points, to underpin prospective commercial contracts currently being negotiated. Additionally, Advenza is seeking a spot bid right for an additional flow each weekday between Hams Hall and Deanside. To date, Network Rail had only been able to offer spot bid rights, and not firm rights (level 1 or level 2), for the proposed services. 
  6. ^ "Advenza almost ready to go", Rail Business Intelligence, via, 8 January 2004 
  7. ^ "FreightBus is up and running" The Railway Magazine issue 1244 December 2004 page 10
  8. ^ "Cotswold takes over Advenza",, 6 May 2006 
  9. ^ "Approval of a Track Access Agreement between Network Rail Infrastructure Limited and Advenza Freight Limited" (PDF),, Office of Rail Regulation, 19 April 2006 
  10. ^ "News Desk" (PDF), Railway Herald (126): 7, 11 April 2008 
  11. ^ "Notable Workings" (PDF), Railway Herald (206): 11, 21 December 2009 
  12. ^ Hitchin Branch, Railway Correspondence and Travel Society, Freight Traffic, retrieved 7 January 2012, during the Summer of 2009 locomotives of the short lived 'Advenza Freight' company .. worked several stone trains ... 'Advenza Freight' briefly moved scrap metal trains from Hitchin to Sheerness during 2009 
  13. ^ "VTG help new entrant enter the UK rail freight market",, VTG, 7 July 2008 
  14. ^ "Advenza Freight gains new containerised flow" (PDF), Railway Herald (180): 3, 8 June 2009 
  15. ^ "Gone for scrap: Advenza Freight calls in the receivers" Rail issue 629 21 October 2009 page 6
  16. ^ "The taxman calls time on Advenza Freight" Rail Express issue 162 November 2009 page 6
  17. ^ "Advenza goes out of business" The Railway Magazine issue 1304 December 2009 page 9
  18. ^ "Liveries 0- Advenza Freight", 
  19. ^ "On the scrap trail!" (PDF), Railway Herald (123): 5, 7 March 2008 
  20. ^ "BR Diesel & Electric Locomotive Numbering Data: 60001-70006",, 66001-66957 / Class 66, see entry for "66406" to "66409", The 66/8 sub series was later created to cater for the short lived Advenza Freight use of the type when four ex DRS Class 66s were renumbered into the 66841 to 66844 number range. 66841 to 66844 have since been taken over by other operators 
  21. ^ "Advenza Class 66s stored" The Railway Magazine issue 1304 December 2009 page 79
  22. ^ Sources:
    • "Notable workings" (PDF), Railway Herald (198): 13, 19 October 2009, Class 66/8 No.66843, the fourth member of the class that never actually worked for Advenza 
    • "Advenza Freight gains its Class 66/8" (PDF), Railway Herald (179), 1 June 2009 
    • "Notable Woirkings" (PDF), Railway Herald (190): 9, 17 August 2009, ..on 11th August .. . Advenza Freight received its fourth Class 66/8 on the same day.. 
  23. ^ "Notable Workings" (PDF), Railway Herald: 11–12 
  24. ^ "Return of Gloucester Horton Road" (PDF), Railway Herald (35): 8, 31 March 2006 

External links[edit]

Media related to Advenza Freight at Wikimedia Commons