The freight market could be “cracked wide open” if off-lease High Speed Trains are used to carry express freight, claims Intermodality UK Managing Director Nick Gallop.
Speaking exclusively to RAIL, Gallop said a plan to use ex-passenger HSTs and Mk 3 coaches to carry parcels could “wipe the floor” with the road competition.
RAIL first revealed that GB Railfreight was interested in using redundant HSTs to meet customers’ same-day delivery demand last year (RAIL 820).
These plans had to be postponed owing to late-running electrification works, meaning that the stock couldn’t become available as soon as was originally hoped. However, Gallop, who also works as IntercityFreight’s Development Director, said that in the past year he has been lobbying to ensure spare HSTs won’t all be going for scrap without warning.
“We were hopeful we would have seen something by now, but rail projects sometimes take way too long to bring on-stream for all sorts of reasons,” he told RAIL.
“At the moment, the leasing companies and train operating companies are working out how many of the HST sets they want to keep in passenger use. What we’re looking to do with things like HSTs is to be there as the goalkeeper of last resort - if we see any signs that they’re going to be scrapped, we will try and gain interest from the industry and say ‘would you be interested in a 125mph high-speed diesel delivery vehicle? If you’re interested, apply to that person before they get turned into razor blades’.”
Gallop added there is also potential for the HSTs to continue to carry passengers, albeit at a cut price to a traditional overnight service. This could help the railways appeal to a new demographic, using the Adaptable Carriage technology (RAIL 847).
- For the full EXCLUSIVE story, read RAIL 849, out now.