New freight rail service links Scotland with Tilbury

Forth Ports is rolling out a permanent rail service between the ports of Grangemouth and Tilbury following a successful trial.

First train will leave Tilbury on Friday and travel overnight to Grangemouth. Picture: Contributed

The regular two-way rail link will serve Forth Ports’ customers in the south of England and the Central Belt of Scotland from this Friday.

The service uses locomotives supplied by Direct Rail Services (DRS) while the wagon fleet has the capacity to travel with 36 containers and will be managed by logistics heavyweight Eddie Stobart, working closely with both Forth Ports and DRS.

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The containers travelling from Tilbury will carry cargo including retail goods, food and drink while the return journey will support Scotland’s export market with the movement of spirits, chemicals and fresh food.

Forth Ports said the service would provide its customers with a “cost effective and sustainable” means of moving goods between the two locations while benefiting from reduced carbon emissions without using the “already-congested” UK road network.

Rob Mason, senior commercial manager at Forth Ports, said: “The response from customers to our two-way rail service between the Ports of Tilbury and Grangemouth has been so encouraging that it means we can now operate the service regularly every weekend starting this Friday.

“Business at our busy container terminals is growing rapidly and it has become hugely important that we were able to connect these two ports by rail.

“This new service highlights our commitment to providing sustainable and cost-effective logistics solutions for our customers, helping them to grow and increasing their competitiveness in the supply chain.”

He added: “We look forward to partnering with Eddie Stobart and DRS on what is the first regular rail service linking our ports in Tilbury and Grangemouth and opening up a number of import and export opportunities for our business and customers.”

John Clark, sector director at Eddie Stobart, said: “Following on from a successful trial in June, the service will start this week allowing the south of England to be connected by rail into Grangemouth at the weekend when road driving resource is at a premium.

“Working in partnership with Forth Ports and Direct Rail Services we are extremely confident that this service will prove to be a real benefit for logistics companies at both ends of the country.”

The train will leave Tilbury on Friday evening, travelling overnight to arrive at Grangemouth on Saturday morning.