|Services||Bulk freight and intermodal logistics|
DB Cargo UK, formerly DB Schenker Rail UK and English, Welsh & Scottish Railway (EWS), is a British rail freight company headquartered in Doncaster, England.
The company was founded in 1995 as North & South Railways, acquiring five of the six freight companies sold during the privatisation of British Rail,[note 1] In November 2007, EWS was sold to Deutsche Bahn, and in January 2009 rebranded as DB Schenker. In March 2016 it was rebranded as DB Cargo UK.
In 1988, British Rail's (BR) freight operations were split into two divisions Railfreight Distribution (RfD) and Trainload Freight (TLF). RfD took over BR's Freightliner and Speedlink services and general wagonload and trainload services, excluding coal, petroleum, aggregates and metals. BR's bulk trainload services were handled by the Trainload Freight division. In 1991 the Rail Express Systems brand was created, to handle mail and postal services.
After the passing of the Railways Act 1993, five rail freight companies were formed from RfD and TLF. On 1 April 1994, TLF was split into three separate geographical businesses: Trainload Freight North East, Trainload Freight West and Trainload Freight South East, with each initially given existing contracts, based on the geographic origin of the traffic flow or in the case of power station coal the split was determined by the location of the power stations concerned. There were also some trainload services previously operated by the contract services business of RfD. The three new businesses were to be re-branded as Loadhaul, Mainline Freight and Transrail Freight for the short duration of their existence.
The remainder of RfD was split into two companies: Freightliner (container operations between ports), with the residual RfD company operating freight trains through the Channel Tunnel. The Mail and Parcels business were sold as Rail Express Systems and Red Star Parcels.
The companies were subsequently put up for sale by competitive tender.
English, Welsh & Scottish Railway
To bid for the ex-BR businesses being offered for sale, North and South Railways Limited was formed. It was owned by a consortium headed by Wisconsin Central, with financing provided by Berkshire Partners, Goldman Sachs and Fay Richwhite.
On 9 December 1995, North and South Railways purchased Rail Express Systems for £24 million. With this came the contract for the Royal Mail train service, including the Travelling Post Office trains, and the contract to haul the Royal Train. A fleet of 164 locomotives and 677 postal vans were included along with depots at Bristol Barton Hill, Cambridge, Crewe and London Euston.
Then on 24 February 1996, British Rail's three trainload freight companies, Loadhaul, Mainline Freight and Transrail Freight were acquired for £225 million. The sale included 914 locomotives and 19,310 wagons.
All four companies were subsequently merged into North and South Railways, nullifying the government's effort to create multiple competitive rail freight firms through the privatisation; the decision to allow the creation of a rail freight company with a dominant market position was justified by the additional competition faced from other transport modes. At the time rail had a 6% share of the freight market.
On 10 July 1996 the holding company's name was changed to English, Welsh & Scottish Railway Holdings Limited. In October 1996, Loadhaul and Mainline Freight were merged with Transrail Freight, and employees transferred to Transrail Freight, which was then renamed to English, Welsh & Scottish Railway Limited.
One of the first actions of the enlarged company was to seek volunteers for redundancy, as it sought to reduce staff numbers by around 3,000, from 7,600.
On 24 December 1996, EWS was announced as the preferred bidder for the loss-making Railfreight Distribution, for which it received grants and subsidies estimated to amount to £242 million over eight years . including subsidies for the use of the Channel Tunnel. Railfreight Distribution's businesses included international containerised freight, movement of cars and automotive components by rail, and freight services for the Ministry of Defence. The sale included 157 locomotives. It was concluded on 12 March 1997. At this point, EWS controlled 90% of the rail freight market. Railfreight Distribution was renamed English Welsh & Scottish Railway International on 1 December 1998.
The new company had over 900 locomotives, 19,000 freight wagons, and 7,000 employees. Track access charges were renegotiated and after 1,800 job redundancies the workers involved in profit sharing and other incentivised working plans; as a result shipping rates were reduced by over 30%. Many locomotives inherited on foundation were considered unreliable, and expensive to maintain; the company invested heavily in modernisation of its rolling stock; by 2002 £750 million had been invested, including 280 new locomotives and over 2,000 new wagons.[note 2]
The railway featured a logo that was colloquially known as the "Beasties", consisting of three heads: the lion of England, the dragon of Wales and the stag of Scotland. A larger version of the logo was called the "Big Beasties".
Services included mail, locomotive hire, wagonload traffic (branded 'Enterprise', founded by Transrail Freight), cross channel trains via the Channel Tunnel, trainload freight including oil, aggregates, cement and traffic related to the coal, electricity generation and steel industries, and infrastructure trains for Railtrack. Following privatisation EWS began to compete for Intermodal contracts,[note 3] while it faced competition from Freightliner in its core markets. Turnover in 1999 was £533.7 million, an 80% market share by value.
In January 2001, the Canadian National Railway announced it had agreed to purchase Wisconsin Central. The deal, which included Wisconsin Central's 42.5% stake in EWS, was concluded in October 2001.
The contract with Royal Mail was lost in 2003 to road transport. EWS acquired the assets of wagon bogie company, Probotec Limited in 2005,[note 4] It was formed into a new subsidiary, Axiom Rail that also took over responsibility for some of the depots and leasing surplus locomotives overseas.
In November 2005, EWS acquired wagon maintenance business Marcroft. As a result of the potential of the acquisition to reduce competition in the UK wagon repair market the acquisition was referred to the Competition Commission by the Office of Fair Trading, who required EWS to sell all or part of the business excluding Marcroft's works at Stoke on Trent. That was incorporated into the Axiom business.
By 2006, turnover was approaching £1 billion. In 2006 the Office of Rail Regulation fined the company £4.1million for anti-competitive practices in the coal haulage business, in which it had held a near monopoly, following complaints by Enron and Freightliner Heavy Haul in 2001 and 2002.[note 5]
DB Cargo UK
On 28 June 2007, Deutsche Bahn announced it had agreed to purchase EWS, subject to receiving regulatory approval. for £309 million At the time EWS had a market share of around 70% in the United Kingdom and around 5,000 employees. After the transaction was approved by the European Commissioner for Competition, the sale was completed on 13 November 2007.
At the time of the sale, it was announced that EWS would not be rebranded, but on 1 January 2009, EWS was rebranded as DB Schenker along with Deutsche Bahn's Railion and DB Schenker divisions.
The first locomotive painted in DB Schenker livery was Class 59 59206 at Toton Depot in January 2009, being formally unveiled at the National Railway Museum, York on 21 January 2009. [note 6]
In 2009, DB Schenker Rail began work to enable Class 92 hauled trains to operate freight services on the High Speed 1 by installing in cab TVM signalling. The project received funding from the European Commission and it was originally anticipated services would begin in early 2010. On 25 March 2011, for the first time a modified class 92 locomotive travelled from Dollands Moor to Singlewell using the TVM430 signalling system. The first of five planned test trains ran as a loaded container train from Hams Hall, West Midlands to Novara, Italy on 27 May 2011. DB planned to upgrade an additional five Class 92 locomotives to allow them to run on High Speed 1, making a fleet of six.
In July 2011, a trial run of wagons carrying curtain walled swap bodies built to a larger European loading gauge was run from Dollands Moor, Folkestone to east London. From 11 November 2011 a weekly service using European sized swap bodies has run between Barking, London and Wroclaw, Poland using High Speed 1.
On 2 March 2016, DB Schenker was rebranded as DB Cargo UK. On 17 October 2016, new DB Cargo UK CEO Hans-Georg Werner announced plans to cut 893 jobs in a bid to counter 'unprecedented' market changes. This was due to a combination of:
- Changes in Government energy policy had resulted in the early closure of coal-fired power stations, hence DB Cargo UK ran 78% fewer coal trains compared to 2015.
- UK steel volumes dropping, with the industry hit by high energy prices. This resulted in DB Cargo UK running 33% fewer steel trains from 2015. However, Werner recognised that "overall UK steel demand remains stable."
In 2017, DB Cargo UK announced a loss after tax for the financial year of £57 million against a turnover of £325 million.
In 2019, DB Cargo signed an agreement with Maritime Transport Ltd to create a new rail freight operation called Maritime Intermodal. From 1 April 2019, Maritime took over the running of DB's freight terminals at Trafford Park (Manchester), Birmingham (Birch Coppice) and Wakefield Europort. Six British Rail Class 66 locomotives have been repainted in blue Maritime livery and named:
- 66005 Maritime Intermodal One
- 66047 Maritime Intermodal Two
- 66142 Maritime Intermodal Three
- 66051 Maritime Intermodal Four
- 66162 Maritime Intermodal Five
- 66090 Maritime Intermodal Six
It is expected that up to ten locomotives will receive the blue livery.
Services and rolling stock
In May 1996, an order for 250 Class 66s and 30 Class 67s was placed. These replaced all of the 20, 31, 33, 37, 47, 56, 58, 73 and 86 class locomotives. Through improved utilisation, they also replaced many of the newer 60 and 90 class locomotives.
Several of these redundant locomotives saw further use on infrastructure trains in Europe with Class 37s operated in France (40), Italy (2) and Spain (14), Class 56s in France (30), and Class 58s in France (26), the Netherlands (3) and Spain (8).
In 2018 DB Cargo sold 10 Class 66 locomotives to GBRf for an undisclosed sum, comprising 8 stored and 2 active locomotives many with significant engine defects.
Current fleet in the UK
|08||Shunter||1953||5||0-6-0||08499, 08714, 08735, 08737, 08995 |
|60||Diesel locomotive||1989 - 1993||81||Co-Co||Fleet of 100 inherited from EWS. 10 locomotives were sold to Colas Rail in 2014, with an additional 4 sold to DCRail and 5 to private sales/metal recyclers in 2019.|
15 locos were operational with DB in 2018.
|66||1998 - 2000||161||Fleet of 250 inherited from EWS. DB Cargo UK operates 161 examples, whilst 10 were sold to GB Railfreight in 2018, with the remainder exported to DB Cargo operations elsewhere in Europe.|
|67||1999 - 2000||28||Bo-Bo||67001–67022, 67024–67026, 67028–67030. Fleet of 30 inherited from EWS. 17 locomotives were operational in 2018, whilst 2 were sold to Colas Rail.|
|90||Electric locomotive||1987 - 1990||24||90017–90040. |
10 locomotives were stored at Crewe in 2018
|92||1993 - 1996||17||Co-Co||30 total with 17 in UK and 13 exported|
|Electric multiple units|
|325||Electric Multiple Unit||1995 - 1996||15||16 total with 1 scrapped|
|58||Diesel locomotive||1983 - 1987||27||Co-Co||EWS inherited the BR fleet of 50 locomotives, the majority subsequently being exported to work on high speed line construction in France and Spain, with 10 being sold on to Transfesa (now stored in Alicante, Spain). The 27 still in DB Cargo ownership are also in store at Metz and Rouen, France and Barcelona, Spain.|
|66||1998 - 2000||79||79 exported to DB Cargo operations in Europe.|
|92||Electric locomotive||1993 - 1996||13||9 exported to DB Cargo Romania and 4 to DB Cargo Bulgaria. In 2018, DB Cargo Romania sold their fleet of Class 92s to Transagent Rail Croatia.|
Carriages and wagons
DB Cargo's primary maintenance depot is Toton. The electric fleet is maintained at Crewe. With a modern fleet requiring less maintenance, many of the depots EWS inherited have closed. Some of its other facilities including Bristol Barton Hill, Cambridge, Eastleigh and Newcastle were transferred to fellow Deutsche Bahn subsidiary LNWR (now Arriva TrainCare).
Locomotive haulage for passenger services
Since its inception, EWS had provided locomotives for the Caledonian Sleeper. It inherited the contract from Rail Express Systems to provide Class 37 and 47s north of Edinburgh Waverley. In March 1998, it also began hauling the services south from Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central to London Euston with Class 90s. Class 67s replaced the Class 37s and 47s in the early 2000s. This contract was taken over by GBRf in March 2015.
As of October 2014, Class 67s haul passenger services for Arriva Trains Wales, Chiltern Railways and First ScotRail. Class 67s are also used as Thunderbird rescue locomotives for London North Eastern Railway. EWS also provides locomotives for the Venice-Simplon Orient Express.
EWS have previously hauled passenger trains for Anglia Railways, Arriva Trains Northern, First Great Western First North Western, National Express East Anglia, Valley Lines, Virgin CrossCountry Virgin West Coast and Wrexham & Shropshire.
From September 2016 Virgin Trains East Coast hired class 90 locomotives from DB Cargo for use on services to Leeds, York and Newcastle. Locomotives used have varied as demand required.
In April 1996, EWS adopted a maroon and yellow livery. Initial repaints carried EW&S lettering, however this was simplified to EWS in January 1997. In January 2009, the DB Schenker corporate red livery was adopted. A few locomotives have been repainted in other liveries including Class 90s in GNER, First ScotRail and Direct Rail Services liveries, and Class 67s in Royal Train, Wrexham & Shropshire and unbranded Arriva Trains Wales liveries.
This section needs additional citations for verification. (May 2019)
Alongside DB Cargo's regular work some steam charters are operated in the UK by steam locomotives on DB Cargo's operating licence. Unlike West Coast Railways, DB only operate steam locos which are fitted with air brakes.
|Key:||Operational||Under Repair||Expired Mainline Certificate/Withdrawn from Service/Stored||Under overhaul/restoration/construction||Due to be certified in future||Operational, Heritage Railway/Museum|
|Number||Name||Class||Livery||Owner||Tops No||Mainline until||Max Speed||Air Brk's||Location||Photograph||Notes|
|2001||Cock O' The North||LNER P2 2-8-2||N/A||Doncaster P2 Locomotive Trust ||988##||-||75 mph||Yes||Doncaster||Streamlined shape newbuild, replica of original|
|2007||Prince of Wales||LNER P2 2-8-2||N/A||A1 Steam Locomotive Trust||988##||-||75 mph||Yes||Darlington||Original shape newbuild, next member of class|
|5029||Nunney Castle||GWR "Castle" 4-6-0||N/A||Jeremy Hosking||98728||-||75 mph||Yes||Crewe LNWR|
|6024||King Edward I||GWR "King" 4-6-0||N/A||Royal Scot Locomotive and General Trust||98824||-||75 mph||Yes||Minehead|
|34046||Braunton||SR "West Country" 4-6-2||BR Green, Late Crest||Jeremy Hosking||98746||2023||75 mph||Yes||Crewe LNWR|
|35028||Clan Line||SR "Merchant Navy" 4-6-2||BR Green, Late Crest||Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society||98828||2024||75 mph||Yes||Stewarts Lane|
|5551||The Unknown Warrior||LMS "Patriot" 4-6-0||LMS Crimson Lake (on completion)||LMS Patriot Project||98651||-||75 mph||Yes||Butterley||Replica of last class member to be built.|
|46100||Royal Scot||LMS "Royal Scot" 4-6-0||BR Green, Early Emblem||Royal Scot Locomotive and General Trust||98701||2022||75 mph||Yes||Crewe LNWR|
|6233||Duchess of Sutherland||LMS "Princess Coronation" 4-6-2||LMS Crimson Lake||Princess Royal Class Loco. Trust||98834||2025||75 mph||Yes||York NRM|
|60007||Sir Nigel Gresley||LNER A4 4-6-2||BR Blue||Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Trust||98898||-||75 mph||Yes||York NRM|
|60009||Union of South Africa||LNER A4 4-6-2||BR Green, Late Crest||John Cameron||98809||-||75 mph||Yes||York NRM|
|4464||Bittern||LNER A4 4-6-2||LNER Garter Blue||Jeremy Hosking||98819||-||75 mph||Yes||Margate||Recently moved to the Hornby Hobbies Visitor Centre for temporary display.|
|60103||Flying Scotsman||LNER A3 4-6-2||BR Green, Late Crest||National Collection||98872||2023||75 mph||Yes||York NRM|
|60163||Tornado||LNER A1 4-6-2||BR Brunswick Green||A1 Steam Locomotive Trust||98863||2022||90 mph||Yes||Redmire|
|60532||Blue Peter||LNER A2 4-6-2||N/A||Royal Scot Locomotive and General Trust||98832||-||75 mph||No||Crewe LNWR|
|70000||Britannia||BR Standard Class 7 4-6-2||BR Green, Late Crest||Royal Scot Locomotive and General Trust||98700||2020||75 mph||Yes||Crewe LNWR|
|71000||Duke of Gloucester||BR Standard Class 8 4-6-2||BR Green, Early Emblem (on completion)||Class 8 Steam Locomotive Trust||98802||-||75 mph||Yes||Tyseley LW||To be based at Tyseley following overhaul|
- DB Cargo Company Train
- History of rail transport in Great Britain
- List of companies operating trains in the United Kingdom
- Rail freight transport in Great Britain
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