…will connect Wroclaw to Barking!
DB Schenker Class 92 and European loading gauge curtain swap body on container wagon during trials on HS1 in May 2011. Photo DB Schenker.
17 years after the Channel Tunnel opened, and 4 years after the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (now known as HS1) was commissioned, regular European loading gauge freight trains will start running into London. A weekly service will operate between Wroclaw and Barking. The train will be loaded with European-sized curtain sided swap bodies. Having an internal height of three meters, they allow two standard pallets to be stacked on top of each other.
The first train will depart from Wroclaw on the evening of 08 November arriving in Barking in the early hours of 11 November. The train will leave the UK the same day to transport goods to Poland on the return journey.
The service will be the first regular rail freight service to use HS1, the only European loading gauge railway in the UK. Because of lack of long-term commitment to rail by the then Ministry of Transport the the Great Central main line from London to Manchester – was closed in stages between 1966 and 1969. The line, built by Edward Watkin at the end of the 19th century, was intended to be part of a continental-loading line linking Manchester, Nottingham and Leicester with the railway network of continental Europe.
Alain Thauvette, Chief Executive of DB Schenker Rail UK, said: Strong European rail freight trading links are essential for economic development and to encourage modal shift from road to rail. The introduction of this new rail freight service between Poland and the UK will be the first of a number of such trains, which utilise the DB Schenker Rail pan European network. This is an important step for rail freight in Europe, as a new market has been developed and a new trading route opened.
BTWT congratulate DB Schenker on achieving this historic milestone. Now if only Deutsche Bahn could be persuaded to run passenger trains between Poland and the UK!
HS1 tracks burrow into the ground for the last leg into St Pancras; continental-gauge freight tracks continue overground to the Barking Freight Terminal.