InterCity RailFreight wins Rail Industry Award

PRESS RELEASE 10th February 2017:



Express delivery experts InterCity Railfreight (ICRF) scooped the Service Innovation Award at last night’s prestigious Rail Industry Awards event in London. Celebrating the achievement of ICRF since 2011 in being first to develop a premium, 125mph logistics service across a network of scheduled high-speed train services, the independent judging panel voted ICRF the winner against stiff competition from 5 other entries, including Network Rail, London Underground and the West Midlands Combined Authorities.

On winning this national award, Jeff Screeton, Managing Director for ICRF said:

“Back in 2011 we took a bold step to develop the fastest and cleanest delivery service in the UK, using trains to move deliveries at high-speed between city centres, linked with electric vans and cargo bikes at either end for a seamless and sustainable solution.” 

Having faced a complete lack of interest from the freight train operating companies at the time, we faced similar struggles to engage with passenger train companies, reticent about carrying deliveries. After months of work developing safety cases and method statements, we were delighted to secure support from East Midlands Trains and latterly Great Western Railway. 

Working alongside our colleagues at EMT and GWR (with more networks due to come on stream this year), we can move deliveries quite legally at speeds of up to 125mph (typically averaging 80mph), with at least 2 services per hour in each direction. We can sustain these speeds to within a couple of miles of the centre of London, from where our more nimble and cleaner delivery vehicles can reach parts that juggernauts (and even white vans) may struggle to reach – avoiding congestion, reducing emissions, and without a single speeding ticket!”

Since 2011, ICRF has carried a growing range of high-value, time-sensitive deliveries,  including: freshly-landed live seafood (which was still that way on arrival); craft beer and wine; speciality high-end cakes; legal documents; urgent medical lab tests and supplies for hospital patients – the list of products and customers continuing to grow.

ICRF has also worked with mainstream companies such as Eddie Stobart, TNT and Sainsburys to trial bigger dedicated trains running at night – just like the railways used to do 20 years ago. DEFRA emissions figures show that a trainload of freight will produce just a quarter of the emissions of the same traffic moved in a fleet of even the most fuel-efficient articulated lorries (28 as opposed to 88 grams of CO2e per tonne-km), and with rail we increasingly have the option of using electric trains, taking further emissions out of the delivery chain.

Using these services, ICRF not only replaces the larger articulated and rigid trucks coming to and from London, it also replaces the diesel vans as well, making the process of deliveries leaner, cleaner and more cost-effective – before you consider the indirect benefits from reduced traffic flow, congestion, accidents and emissions.

Even the Department for Transport has said this is something they’d like to encourage, the Rail Minister saying:

“One of the greatest challenges of our age is the emission of particulate matter from vehicles. This is not just a problem for future generations or far-away places. Particulates are here now, on our streets, already shortening lives. And one of the key contributors is road freight and the need to bring goods from out-of-town distribution centres into city centres. Yet our rail lines already reach into stations located in the heart of the city. Imagine if we could run electric freight trains into stations outside peak hours. Or run passenger trains that can be partly converted to carry freight. Goods could be offloaded onto electric vehicles, for distribution across the city. Let’s set ourselves the challenge of investing in new freight technology and joined-up logistics.”

 ICRF has responded to the challenge, and now has over 5 years of 125 mph service experience with over 99% of deliveries arriving on time. As a measure of this success, ICRF is delighted to note that some of the freight train operating companies, having publicly dismissed movement of parcels by rail in recent years, are now jumping on the bandwagon – the market opportunity is huge, and we welcome this growing interest in doing what rail does best – high-speed, low-emission logistics.

Notes to editors:

Press enquires: 0845 125 9659

MD Jeff  Screeton direct line is + 44 (0) 7799 410 050



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