FM Rail

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FM Rail
Predecessor Fragonset
Merlin Rail
Founded September 1997
Founder Mark Sargent
Defunct December 2006
Headquarters Derby
Area served
United Kingdom
Services Freight Operating Company

FM Rail was a railway charter company based in Derby, England. The company was formed when spot hire company Fragonset Railways and charter operator Merlin Rail merged. It went into administration in 2006.

History[edit]

31128 Charybdis at Bristol Temple Meads in July 2004
47715 at the National Railway Museum, York in October 2005
47145 in Barrow Hill in July 2006
31106 at Bristol Temple Meads in March 2009

Fragonset Railways[edit]

Fragonset Railways was formed in 1997 as a spot hire company when four Class 47/7 locomotives were purchased from Pete Waterman with the operation initially based at the Tyseley Locomotive Works.[1] In November 1997, Fragonset commenced its first contract providing locomotives for Virgin CrossCountry.[2] A further Class 47/7 owned by the Lear family was also managed. A permanent base was established at the Railway Technical Centre, Derby. The locomotives were repainted into a new livery of black with a broad maroon mid-bodyside stripe.[3]

In 1998, Fragonset purchased several redundant Class 31 locomotives from EWS. The first of these, 31452, was quickly repaired at the company's base at Tyseley Locomotive Works. A further four Class 31s quickly followed. They were initially employed on Silverlink services on the Marston Vale Line, operating in top and tail mode with two carriages.[4] The use of the Class 31s continued until 1999, when Class 150/1 diesel multiple units replaced them.[5] Following this, the Class 31 fleet was employed on a variety of duties, including hire to WAGN to haul electrical multiple units between depots for maintenance.

Fragonset would go on to purchase many redundant locomotives from EWS, mainly of classes 31, 33, 47 and 73. By 2002 it had purchased 75.[6]

First Great Western, Midland Mainline and Virgin CrossCountry all hired Class 47s.[7][8] Wessex Trains hired Class 31s to haul passenger services from Bristol-Weymouth and Bristol-Brighton with 31601 repainted into Wessex Trains pink livery.[9] First North Western hired Class 31s to work Blackpool-Manchester-Chester services.[10]

Railtrack hired 31190 and 31601 to haul test trains. Both locomotives were repainted into Railtrack's blue and lime green livery. Network Rail (Railtrack's successor) purchased its own fleet of 31s, so no longer requires the Fragonset locomotives. First GBRf hires Class 73s to supplement their own fleet.

South West Trains hired Class 33s and 73s to act as Thunderbird rescue locomotives West Coast Railway Company hired 31190. It was repainted into Royal Scotsman maroon livery.

Some locomotives, notably 47355 and 73107, were repainted into a freight livery of all-over black with large Fragonset lettering.

Merlin Rail[edit]

Merlin received its train operating licence in July 2002.[11][12][13] It was originally very decentralised, considering itself to be a "virtual company" operating over the internet with no central office, although the control office was initially in Maidstone, Kent. As the business grew the need for a central location became apparent and offices at Wyvern House, by Derby station, were rented from mid-2003.

Merlin saw itself as an operator of specialist, individually planned trains, and felt that such trains were not the core activity for conventional train operating companies and therefore did not always enjoy the best of operational and organisational arrangements. Merlin passionately believed that a dedicated specialist train operator in this niche market could provide a high quality total service for all potential clients requiring individually planned trains.

Merlin was the first train operator to receive approval through the stringent Railway (Safety Case) Regulations, 2000. Merlin held one of the widest railway safety cases, allowing full geographic coverage of the network with all classes and types of conventional locomotives, passenger rolling stock and loaded and unloaded freight vehicles. Merlin was specifically authorised to operate new, unusual and novel vehicles.

FM Rail[edit]

In January 2005, Fragonset and Merlin merged to form FM Rail.[14][15][16] In August 2005, the business of Hertfordshire Rail Tours was purchased.[17][18][19]

FM Rail launched its new livery in September 2005, when 47832 was repainted for the Crewe Works open day.[20]

In January 2006, the Blue Pullman was launched, and two Class 47 locomotives were repainted into a nanking blue livery to match the coaching stock.[21][22][23] In 2006, FM Rail purchased the assets of Pathfinder Tours, another railtour operator, in conjunction with Riviera Trains.

In February 2006, FM Rail operated its first freight service on behalf of Fastline between Doncaster and York.[24]

In 2006, FM Rail concluded a deal to lease the former depot site at Coalville in Leicestershire. It was planned to move most of its withdrawn stock there to reduce costs. Other locomotives were disposed of once they had yielded spare parts.

Administration[edit]

In December 2006, Begbies Traynor were appointed as administrator of FM Rail.[25][26][27]

The administrators sold the Fragonset Railways Maintenance business to Rail Vehicle Engineering Limited (RVEL), a business run by Andy Lynch, the former FM Rail Managing Director. The Merlin Rail train operating licence and railtour operator Hertfordshire Rail Tours was sold to Victa Westlink Rail.

The business affairs were not resolved until June 2013, when unsecured creditors received payments of 1.88p in the £.[28]

Fleet details[edit]

Key: Not in Use Preserved Sold for further use Scrapped


Number Class Name Livery Year
Acquired
Previous Operator Status
31105 31 - Trans-Rail 1999 ex-EWS Sold to Network Rail in 2003
31106 31 Spalding Town BR blue 1999 ex-EWS Never owned by Fragonset - property of Howard Johnston
31107 31 - Black 1999 ex-EWS Scrapped Rotherham in 2009
31128 31 Charybdis Fragonset Black 1999 ex-EWS Always privately owned
31154 31 - Civil Engineers 2001 ex-EWS Scrapped at Rotherham in 2006
31190 31 - BR Green 1999 ex-EWS Privately owned
31233 31 - Civil Engineers 2000 ex-EWS Sold to Network Rail in 2003
31285 31 - Civil Engineers 1999 ex-EWS Sold to Network Rail in 2003
31289 31 - BR Blue 1999 ex-EWS Sold to Northampton & Lamport Railway
31301 31 - Railfreight Grey/Red Stripe 1999 ex-EWS Withdrawn
31407 31 - Mainline Freight Blue 1999 ex-EWS Scrapped at Rotherham in 2006
31411 31 - Departmental Grey 1999 ex-EWS Scrapped at Rotherham in 2005
31412 31 - Civil Engineers 1999 ex-EWS Scrapped at Rotherham in 2006
31415 31 - BR Blue 1999 ex-EWS Withdrawn
31417 31 - Departmental Grey 1999 ex-EWS Scrapped at Rotherham in 2005
31422 31 - InterCity Mainline 1999 ex-EWS Stored serviceably - used as static generator.
31423 31 - InterCity Mainline 1999 ex-EWS Withdrawn
31426 31 - Civil Engineers 1999 ex-EWS Scrapped at Rotherham in 2006
31433 31 - Civil Engineers 1999 ex-EWS Scrapped at Rotherham in 2006
31437 31 - Civil Engineers 1999 ex-EWS Withdrawn
31439 31 - Regional Railways 1999 ex-EWS Withdrawn
31452 31 Minotaur DCR Green 1998 ex-EWS Sold to Mainline Rail
31454 31 The Heart of Wessex InterCity Swallow 1999 ex-EWS Sold to Mainline Rail
31459 31 Cerberus FM Rail Black 1998 ex-EWS Sold to Network Rail in 2006
31460 31 - BR Blue 1999 ex-EWS Scrapped at Stockton-on-Tees in 2006
31461 31 - Civil Engineers 1999 ex-EWS Sold to Cotswold Rail in 2007
31462 31 - Departmental Grey 1999 ex-EWS Scrapped at Rotherham in 2006
31468 31 Hydra Fragonset Black 1998 ex-EWS Sold to Mainline Rail
31524 31 - Civil Engineers 1999 ex-EWS Scrapped at Rotherham in 2006
31549 31 - Civil Engineers 1998 ex-EWS Scrapped at Rotherham in 2005
31558 31 - Civil Engineers 1998 ex-EWS Scrapped at Rotherham in 2005
31601 31 DCR Green 1998 ex-EWS Sold to Mainline Rail
31602 31 - unbranaded Network Rail Yellow 1998 ex-EWS Sold to Hanson Traction
33019 33 Griffon Civil Engineers 2003 ex-HNRC Privately owned
33021 33 Eastleigh Fragonset Black 1999 ex-EWS Privately owned
33103 33 Swordfish BR Blue 2002 ex-EWS Privately owned
33108 33 Vampire Fragonset Black 1999 ex-EWS Preserved on Swanage Railway in 2005
33202 33 Fragonset Black 2002 ex-EWS Sold to Cotswold Rail
37255 37 - Civil Engineers 2002 ex-EWS Privately owned
47053 47 - Railfreight Distribution (Revised) 2000 ex-EWS Sold for scrap in 2007
47186 47 - Railfreight Distribution (Revised) 2000 ex-EWS Sold for scrap in 2007
47201 47 - Railfreight Distribution (Revised) 2000 ex-EWS Sold for scrap in 2007
47211 47 - Railfreight Distribution 2001 ex-EWS Scrapped at Eastleigh in 2004
47219 47 - Railfreight Distribution 2000 ex-EWS Sold for scrap in 2007
47226 47 - Railfreight Distribution 2000 ex-EWS Sold for scrap in 2007
47228 47 - Railfreight Distribution (Revised) 2000 ex-EWS Sold for scrap in 2007
47229 47 - Railfreight Distribution 2000 ex-EWS Scrapped at Stockton-on-Tees in 2006
47236 47 - Railfreight Distribution (Revised) 1999 ex-EWS Withdrawn
47280 47 - Railfreight Distribution 2000 ex-EWS Sold for scrap in 2007
47285 47 - Railfreight Distribution (Revised) 2000 ex-EWS Scrapped at Rotherham in 2005
47293 47 - Railfreight Distribution 2000 ex-EWS Sold for scrap in 2007
47307 47 - Railfreight Distribution (Revised) 2000 ex-EWS Sold for scrap in 2007
47313 47 - Railfreight Distribution 2000 ex-EWS Sold for scrap in 2007
47314 47 - Railfreight Distribution 2000 ex-EWS Sold for scrap in 2007
47335 47 - Railfreight Distribution 2000 ex-EWS Sold for scrap in 2007
47348 47 - Railfreight Distribution (Revised) 2001 ex-EWS Scrapped at Rotherham in 2006
47355 47 Avocet FM Rail Freight Black 2000 ex-EWS Reactivated by WCRC 2010
47360 47 - Railfreight Distribution (Revised) 2000 ex-EWS Sold for scrap in 2007
47363 47 - Railfreight Distribution 2000 ex-EWS Withdrawn
47368 47 - Trainload Grey 2000 ex-EWS Withdrawn
47375 47 - Rail Blue 2000 ex-EWS Nemesis Rail,
47471 47 - InterCity Executive 2002 ex-EWS Scrapped at Rotherham in 2005
47488 47 - BR Two Tone Green 1997 ex-EWS Nemesis Rail
47489 47 - Parcels Red 1999 ex-EWS Withdrawn
47525 47 - Railfreight Distribution (Revised) 1999 ex-EWS Withdrawn
47526 47 - BR Blue Large Logo 1999 ex-EWS Withdrawn
47547 47 - Network SouthEast 2002 ex-EWS Scrapped at Rotherham in 2005
47550 47 - InterCity Mainline 2000 ex-EWS Withdrawn
47574 47 - BR Parcels Red 2002 ex-EWS Scrapped at Rotherham in 2005
47628 47 - Rail Express Systems 2000 ex-EWS Scrapped at Rotherham in 2006
47640 47 - BR Blue 2003 ex-EWS Privately owned
47701 47 Waverley BR Two-tone Green (with silver roof)soon to be repainted into Network Southeast livery 1997 ex-Rail Charter Services (RCS) Purchased direct from RCS by The Lear Family, based (2011) at Dartmoor Railway
47703 47 Hermes Fragonset Black 1997 ex-EWS Sold to Cotswold Rail in 2007
47704 47 - Rail Express Systems 2000 ex-EWS Scrapped at Rotherham in 2006
47707 47 - Rail Express Systems 2000 ex-EWS Withdrawn
47710 47 - Fragonset Black 1997 ex-EWS Sold for scrap in 2007
47709 47 Dionysos Blue Pullman 1997 ex-EWS Sold to Direct Rail Services, 2007
47712 47 Artemis Blue Pullman 1997 ex-EWS Sold to Direct Rail Services, 2007
47715 47 Poseidon Fragonset Black 2000 ex-EWS Sold to Cotswold Rail, 2007
47716 47 - Rail Express Systems 2000 ex-EWS On loan to Dartmoor Railway
47717 47 - BR Parcels Red 2000 ex-EWS Sold for scrap in 2007
47744 47 - EWS 2005 ex-EWS Stored
47767 47 - EWS 2005 ex-EWS Stored
47780 47 - Rail Express Systems 2004 ex-EWS Stored
47803 47 - Infrastructure 2000 ex-EWS Withdrawn
47832 47 Driver Tom Clark OBE Victa Westlink Rail Black & White 2004 ex-FGW Sold to Victa Westlink Rail
47972 47 - Central Services 2000 ex-EWS Withdrawn
56011 56 - EWS 2005 ex-EWS Stored at Coalville
56021 56 - Trainload Freight 2005 ex-EWS Stored at Coalville
56022 56 - Trans-Rail 2003 ex-EWS Scrapped at EMR Kingsbury in 2012
56061 56 - Trainload Metals 2005 ex-EWS Scrapped at Stockton-on-Tees in 2006
56066 56 - Trans-Rail 2004 ex-EWS Scrapped at Rotherham in 2005
56125 56 - Fastline 2003 ex-EWS Sold to Fastline
73103 73 - InterCity Executive 2002 ex-EWS Withdrawn
73104 73 - InterCity Executive 2002 ex-EWS Stored
73105 73 - Civil Engineers 2002 ex-EWS On loan to Battlefield Line Railway
73107 73 Spitfire Fragonset Black (Freight) 2002 ex-EWS Sold to RT Rail, 2007
73114 73 - BR Blue Large Logo 2002 ex-EWS On loan to Battlefield Line Railway
73117 73 - InterCity Executive 2002 ex-EWS On loan to Dartmoor Railway
73132 73 - InterCity Executive 2004 ex-EWS Scrapped at Rotherham in 2006
73134 73 - InterCity Executive 2002 ex-EWS On loan to Dartmoor Railway
73139 73 - InterCity Executive 2002 ex-EWS Stored
86212 86 - Virgin Red/Black 2004 ex-Virgin Trains Stored serviceably
86217 86 - Anglia Railways 2004 ex-'one' Stored serviceably
86223 86 - Anglia Railways 2004 ex-'one' Stored serviceably
86229 86 - Virgin Red/Black 2004 ex-Virgin Trains Stored serviceably
86231 86 - Virgin Red/Black 2004 ex-Virgin Trains Stored serviceably
86233 86 - BR Electric Blue 2004 ex-Virgin Trains Stored serviceably
86235 86 - Anglia Railways 2006 ex-'one' Stored serviceably
86250 86 - Anglia Railways 2004 ex-'one' Stored serviceably
86251 86 - Virgin Red/Black 2004 ex-Virgin Trains Stored serviceably

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Class 47 owner Fragonset to use BRM as temporary base" The Railway Magazine issue 1156 August 1997 page 11
  2. ^ "Fragonset 47s enter service for Virgin" The Railway Magazine issue 1161 January 1998 page 9
  3. ^ "First loco emerges from Fragonset Derby plant" The Railway Magazine issue 1187 March 2000 page 9
  4. ^ "Bedford-Bletchley trial is shop window for Fragonset Railways" Rail’issue 342 21 October 1998 page 9
  5. ^ "Martston Vale 31s to end" Rail’issue 365 8 September 1999 page 52
  6. ^ "Fragonset increases its loco fleet to 75" The Railway Magazine issue 1212 April 2002 page 8
  7. ^ "Loco-hauled trains return to St Pancras schedules" The Railway Magazine issue 1211 March 2002 page 30
  8. ^ "Locomotives return to London St Pancras" Rail issue 430 6 March 2002 page 12
  9. ^ "Locomotive Haulage…there's more than you think!" Rail issue 458 2 April 2003 page 49
  10. ^ "Loco fade-out at Blackpool" The Railway Magazine issue 1246 February 2005 page 11
  11. ^ "Merlin Rail and Wessex enter charter market" The Railway Magazine issue 1211 March 2002 page 102
  12. ^ "Merlin's One Stop Shop" The Railway Magazine issue 1222 February 2003 page 73
  13. ^ "Merlin takes off at last" The Railway Magazine issue 1222 February 2003 page 75
  14. ^ "Fragonset Railways joins with Merlin Rail and FM Rail is born" Rail Express issue 105 February 2005 page 6
  15. ^ "Fragonset and Merlin merge to form FM Rail" The Railway Magazine issue 1246 February 2005 page 11
  16. ^ "FM Rail is born as Fragonset and Merlin merge" Entrain issue 39 March 2005 page 20
  17. ^ "FM Rail buys Hertfordshire Railtours" Rail Express issue 112 September 2005 page 11
  18. ^ "FM Rail to take over Hertfordshire Railtours" Entrain issue 46 October 2005 page 9
  19. ^ "FM Rail to buy Herfordshire Rail Tours" The Railway Magazine issue 1254 October 2005 page 8
  20. ^ "New look for FM Rail" The Railway Magazine issue 1255 November 2005 page 67
  21. ^ "Blue Pullman makes a comeback" Rail Express issue 113 October 2005 page 5
  22. ^ "FM Rail unveils first Blue Pullman coach" Today's Railways issue 49 January 2006 page 61
  23. ^ "FM turns VT Mk2s into Blue Pullmans - Class 47s next" The Railway Magazine issue 1257 January 2006 page 78
  24. ^ "FM Rail's first freight train" The Railway Magazine issue 1260 1 April 2006 page 7
  25. ^ "FM Rail in administration as finances collapse" Rail Express issue 128 January 2007 page 5
  26. ^ "FM Rail in administration" Today's Railways issue 62 February 2007 page 14
  27. ^ "Administrators start dismantling FM Rail empire" The Railway Magazine issue 1271 March 2007 page 10
  28. ^ "FM Rail creditors lose out" The Railway Magazine issue 1349 September 2013 page 10