Direct Rail Services

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Direct Rail Services
Founded 1995
Headquarters Carlisle, England
Area served
United Kingdom
Services Freight Operating Company
Parent Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
Website www.directrailservices.com

Direct Rail Services (DRS) is a freight operating company created by British Nuclear Fuels Limited in 1994 and in 2005 transferred to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. It has since diversified into other freight operations and providing haulage for passenger services. DRS is one of only two remaining publicly owned railway companies in the United Kingdom (the other being NI Railways, the passenger transport operator in Northern Ireland).

History[edit]

66412 in Compass livery at Castleton
37038 at Crewe Works in June 2003
Stobart Pullman liveried rake of coaches, headed by a DRS liveried 47712 Pride of Carlisle
37607 and Rail Head Treatment Train at Dereham, Mid-Norfolk Railway (2008)

Until 1994, the haulage of nuclear flask traffic had been handled by British Rail. In 1994, British Nuclear Fuels Limited decided to bring this operation in house.[1] A fleet of five Class 20/3s were overhauled at Brush Traction, Loughborough.[2]

In 1997, DRS diversified when it commenced operating milk traffic from Penrith to Cricklewood.[3][4] In 1997, six Class 37/6s were purchased from Eurostar.[5][6] DRS would later build up an extensive fleet of Class 37 and 47s.

In 1998, DRS moved its base from Sellafield into the disused Carlisle Kingmoor depot.[7][8]

Up until 1998, it only moved nuclear fuel rods from overseas for processing at Sellafield. It now took over the movement of rods from UK nuclear power stations at Heysham, Valley (for Wylfa), Bridgwater (for Hinkley Point), Berkeley (for Oldbury), Hunterston, Torness, Seaton Carew, Dungeness and Sizewell.[9]

In 2001, DRS purchased some Class 33s.[10] In 2002, it commenced running intermodal trains from Grangemouth to the Daventry International Railfreight Terminal using Class 66/4s. It carries containers for both The Malcolm Group and Asda.

In 2004, three Class 87s were trialed but returned to their leasing company after six months.[11][12]

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.

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.[13][14]

In March 2007, a second depot was opened at Crewe Gresty Bridge on the site of disused wagon works.[15][16]

In 2007, seven refurbished former Virgin Trains Mark 3 carriages were refurbished at Oxley depot.[17][18][19] In 2008, the Mark 3 set was used to operate charter services under the Stobart Rail banner.[20][21] The Stobart Rail operation ceased in July 2008.[22]

From 2008, DRS began to acquire Class 57s. It now operates nine former Freightliner 57/0s and 12 former Virgin Trains 57/3s.[23][24]

In June 2009, DRS commenced operating rescue locomotive duties on the Great Eastern Main Line for National Express East Anglia as well as hauling Class 90 electric locomotives from Norwich to Great Yarmouth on summer Saturdays.[25] This included Summer Saturday Wherry Lines services. DRS have periodically operated services on the Wherry Lines during periods of diesel multiple unit shortage. In October 2014, it commenced operating a two-year contract to operate services on the Wherry Lines under contract to Abellio Greater Anglia.[26] It was operated by top and tailed Class 47s hauling Mark 2s, top and tail Class 37s were introduced in mid-2015.

From 30 November 2009 until 28 May 2010 DRS ran a service on the Cumbrian Coast Line between Maryport and Workington following a road bridge being destroyed by floods.[27] The trains were made up of Class 37s, Class 47s and Class 57s top and tailing DRS' Mark 3 carriages.

In April 2011, DRS commenced a five year contract to provide motive power for the Northern Belle.[28]

On 9 January 2012 a trial service was introduced for six weeks by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority for its workers with DRS supplying a Class 37 to haul four Mark 2 carriages between Carlisle and Sellafield.[29][30][31] Although the trial was reported to have been a success plans to introduce regular services from December 2012 did not materialize until May 2015. To operate these services, DRS purchased a fleet of Mark 2s and had these overhauled at Eastleigh Works.[32][33][34]

In February 2014, DRS took delivery of the first of 15 Class 68s.[35] In October 2014, a further ten were ordered followed by another seven in July 2015.[36][37] From December 2014, six commenced operating services for Chiltern Railways.[38] In April 2015, two Class 68s commenced operating Fife Circle Line services for Abellio ScotRail.

In May 2015, DRS commenced operating services on the Cumbrian Coast Line under contract to Northern Rail using top and tail Class 37s hauling Mark 2s.[39] On 27 July 2015, one of the Class 37s was replaced by a DBSO.[40]

On 12 September 2013, it was announced that DRS would be the launch customer for the new Vossloh Euro Dual dual-mode freight locomotive by Vossloh España.[41]

On 8 January 2016, it was announced that DRS would sell 12 locomotives, 1 Class 20 locomotive 20312, 6 Class 37 locomotives 37503/510/521/608/611/670 and 5 Class 47 locomotives 47810/13/18/28/53 as well as 2 Mark 2 coaches.[42]

On 5 April 2016, a further batch of 6 Class 68 locomotives 68020-25 have been delivered by Vossloh.[43]

Fleet details[edit]

Current fleet[edit]

Direct Rail Services currently operate a total of 107 locomotives.[44]

Class Image Top speed Number Loco numbers
mph km/h
20 Hugh llewelyn 20 308 (5555975722).jpg 75 121 8 20301-305, 308–309, 312
37 37423 & Caroline Danesmoor.jpg 80 130 33 37038, 059, 069, 194, 218, 259, 401–3, 405, 407, 409, 413, 419, 422–25
37601–7, 609–10, 612, 667, 682, 688, 703, 716
47 Direct Rail Services 47810 Peter Bath MBE 1927-2006 at Colchester (1).jpg 75 121 1 47813
57 57012 Castleton East Junction (1).jpg 75/95 121/153 21 57002–4, 007–12, 301–12
66 66422 Slittingmill Crossing.jpg 75 121 19 66301–5, 421–34
68 Class68 68013.jpg 100 160 25 68001–25

Future fleet[edit]

Direct Rail Services is due to receive a further 17 locomotives. 88001-10 will be delivered from the second half of 2016, followed by 68026-32.

Class Image Top speed Number Loco numbers
mph km/h
Class 68 Class68 68013.jpg 100 160 7 68026–32 (under construction)
Class 88 100 160 10 88001–10 (under construction)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "RFS 20s in main line deal" Rail issue 238 26 October 1994 page 9
  2. ^ "Nuclear power" Rail issue 263 11 October 1995 page 6
  3. ^ "Britain's first piggback mik train starts running" Rail issue 308 2 July 1997 page 7
  4. ^ "DRS wins milk traffic haulage contract" Railway Express issue 15 August 1997 page 6
  5. ^ "Direct Rail Services buys Eurostar locomotives and doubles its fleet" Rail issue 308 2 July 1997 page 6
  6. ^ "Direct Rail Services traction fleet expands to 23 locos" The Railway Magazine issue 1157 September 1997 page 63
  7. ^ "Direct Rail Services to lease Carlisle Kingmoor diesel depot" Railway Express issue 21 February 1998 page 6
  8. ^ "DRS moves to Carlisle Depot" Rail issue 360 30 June 1999 page 12
  9. ^ "DRS take over nuclear traffic" Railway Express issue 29 October 1998 page 6
  10. ^ "DRS treatment for a Crompton" Railway Express issue 62 July 2001 page 9
  11. ^ "DRS to use Class 87s on freight" The Railway Magazine issue 1244 December 2004 page 65
  12. ^ "DRS hands back Class 87s" The Railway Magazine issue 1252 August 2005 page 74
  13. ^ "Blow for DRS as DBS wins Stobart contract" The Railway Magazine issue 1302 October 2009 page 8
  14. ^ "DRS wins back Tesco train" The Railway Magazine issue 1341 January 2013 page 86
  15. ^ "DRS opens Crewe Gresty Bridge loco depot" Railway Express issue 132 May 2007 page 5
  16. ^ "Thornaby to close - but new DRS depot opens" The Railway Magazine issue 1274 June 2007 page 8
  17. ^ "Direct Rail Services buys passenger coach rake for possible charter use" Railway Express issue 127 December 2006 page 4
  18. ^ "DRS unveils refurbished Mark 3s" Today's Railways issue 69 September 2007 page 65
  19. ^ "DRS launches luxury charter set" The Railway Magazine issue 1277 September 2007 page 71
  20. ^ "DRS/Stobart launch new Pullam train" Today's Railways issue 76 April 2008 page 74
  21. ^ "Stobart launches new charter operation" The Railway Magazine issue 1284 April 2008 page 67
  22. ^ "Stobart pulls plug on charter operation" Today's Railways issue 81 September 2008 page 74
  23. ^ "Two more Class 57s for DRS" The Railway Magazine issue 1289 September 2008 page 82
  24. ^ "Remaining Class 57/3s snapped up by DRS and West Coast Co" The Railway Magazine issue 1343 March 2013 page 80
  25. ^ "DRS launches Thunderbird contract" The Railway Magazine issue 1300 August 2009 page 75
  26. ^ "DRS coaches in use on GA loco-hauled" Today's Railways issue 154 October 2014 page 63
  27. ^ Free Cumbria Floods Train Service to Finish Next Week News and Star (Carlisle) 21 May 2010
  28. ^ "Direct Rail Services to operate Northern Belle" The Railway Magazine issue 1323 July 2011 page 73
  29. ^ Loco-hauled Cumbrian Coast Commuter Service Rail.co.uk January 2012
  30. ^ "DRS begins its own service to ferry workers to Sellafield and return" Railway Express issue 189 February 2012 page 7
  31. ^ "Sellafield workers train launched" The Railway Magazine issue 1331 March 2012 page 11
  32. ^ "Overhauled DRS Mk2s emerge from Eastleigh" Railway Express issue 204 May 2013 page 51
  33. ^ "Further DRS coaches emerge from Eastleigh" Railway Express issue 207 August 2013 page 53
  34. ^ "DRS launches refurbished Mark 2s" Today's Railways issue 142 October 2013 page 68
  35. ^ "First Direct Rail Services 68 delivered to UK" Rail issue 741 5 February 2014 page 17
  36. ^ "10 More 68s for DRS" Modern Railways issue 793 October 2014 page 18
  37. ^ "DRS orders seven more Class 68s" The Railway Magazine issue 1373 August 2015 page 6
  38. ^ "Chiltern signs deal for Class 68s" Today's Railways issue 150 June 2014 page 60
  39. ^ "Loco-hauled Services to Return to the Cumbrian Coast". Railway Herald. 8 January 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2015. 
  40. ^ "Cumbrian top and tail 37s phased out" Rail issue 780 5 August 2015 page 22
  41. ^ DRS orders 10 electro-diesel locomotives from Vossloh Railway Gazette International 12 September 2013
  42. ^ http://www.directrailservices.com/news-articles/2016/01/08/sale-of-surplus-assets/
  43. ^ http://www.mainlinediesels.net/index.php?nav=1000178&lang=en&id=8745&action=shownews#.VwajtyaVvQo
  44. ^ http://www.railfaneurope.net/list/uk/uk_drs.html

External links[edit]