Road haulier Eddie Stobart started running freight rail services in September 2006 between Daventry and Grangemouth. It was awarded the 2007 Freight Achievement Award and it has since been claimed such a success by the Stobart Group that a second dedicated freight rail services has been announced, running between Inverness and Grangemouth, which will start by at least September. It comes after supermarket giant Tesco signed a 5 year contract with Stobart.
The new service operates to take Tesco's goods from its 1 million square feet distribution centre in Livingstone to Inverness. Lorries will take the goods from Livingstone to Grangemouth where they will be loaded onto the new rail service, departing at 5am, arriving in Inverness at 11.01am. The journey will then be completed by Eddie Stobart lorries, delivering the goods to Tesco stores in the Highlands. The journey will operate in reverse for southbound traffic.
The new rail service will reduce individual lorry journeys on the congested A9 to Inverness by 13,000 a year - that's 1.79 million lorry miles or 5.3 million freight tonnes being removed from road transportation.
A Freight Facilities Grant of £525,000 has been awared to the Stobart Group by the Scottish Government to go towards purchasing the 70 intermodal containers required to safely transport the Tesco vehicles.
A brand new Class 66 loco will haul the new rail freight service pulling 20 specially designed curtainised containers measuring 45 feet each. The containers are under 9 feet tall so can travel on any rail line in the UK.
The Stobart train passed through Spalding (in the LEYTR area) on the Saturday before May Day, when the annual Spalding Flower Festival was taking place. Neither LEYTR Editor managed to get to see the event - any photos sent to the LEYTR Editors' email address will be greatfully received!!