Converted passenger trains used to deliver parcels to UK city centres

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Network rail has announced that converted passenger trains will soon deliver goods directly into city-centre stations in the UK. One carriage will be able to hold approximately the same amount of goods as one articulated lorry. The fully re-fitted carriages can accommodate roll cages, pallets and other customer identified vessels or containers.

Last week, Network Rail and distribution firm Orion showed how the concept works at Euston station.

The plan involves old passenger trains being converted to transport goods straight into busy urban areas. As well as online retail, the flexible freight operation could transport other light goods needed in super-fast time by businesses. After arriving at the station, the parcels are then picked up by bicycle or van couriers for the last mile.

The trains can travel up to 100mph – twice the average speed as road traffic. As well as faster delivery times, the converted trains are cleaner than air and road haulage; can access city centres unlike larger scale rail freight or air; can operate on an electrified and non-electrified rail and are easy to load and unload onto modes of transport for first and the last mile of the journey, explains Network Rail.

The repurposing works for the project have been carried out by Orion, whose CEO Karl Watts said:

“The shift from road to rail transportation delivers economic, environmental and social benefits. Each 8-car train removes 24 diesel powered vans from our roads thereby reducing congestion, lowering carbon emissions and improving inner city air quality”

The first train will start running later this year between the Midlands and Scotland. More routes could be added in 2022 dependent on customer demand and available train routes.

Photo credit @ Network Rail