Decals applied to freight locomotives during the sectorisation of British Rail.
Trainload Freight (TLF) was created in 1988 as the sector of British Rail responsible for operating unit trains; the division was subdivided into four sub-sectors based on cargo carried: Coal, Construction, Metals, and Petroleum. Other wagonload freight activities and also containerised freight were organised in the Railfreight Distribution (RfD) division at the same time. The trainload business represented approximately 80% of British Rail's total revenue from freight, and 90% of freight traffic by mass. Trainload Freight was the only consistently profitable freight sector within British Rail.
In 1988, the company was authorised to acquire 100 Class 60 locomotives, at a cost of approximately £124 million.
Class 37 hauled tanker train with petroleum sector decals near Immingham (1993)
In 1992 the company had revenue of around £500 million and made a profit of £67.5 million, exceeding government targets of a £50 million profit. Returns on capital assets were typically over 8% in the late 1980s prior to the early 1990s recession. British Rail was able to charge a 45% margin on basic costs in 1989 for coal transport prior to the privatisation of the electricity industry, after which less profitable contracts were negotiated; from 1990 to 1994, the sector undertook further exercises to increase profitability; discriminatory pricing was employed. Approximately 10 million tonnes of unprofitable freight had been identified, of which 70% was retained under new working conditions and pricing arrangements; the remaining 3 million tonnes was lost, much of it being freight transport for the cement industry. Cost-cutting measures included 20% reduction in employees, 50% reduction in locomotives, and 40% reduction in wagons, resulting in rail freight transport being reduced to under 100 million tonnes per annum in the lead-up to privatisation, a modal share of under 5%. Approximately 250,000 tonnes of coal was being transported per day by the company by 1993.