Successful Trial of Freightliner Class 70 on Mendip Jumbo Train
Last night saw the successful trial of a class 70 on a jumbo train from Merehead to Acton Terminal Complex.
Freightliner class 70 number 70003 hauled the 7A91 on Thursday 19th July 2019, working 2250 out of Merehead. With approx 46 wagons, assumed loaded at around 100 tonnes each, the total consist weight expected to be around 4600 tonnes.
The train started off at around 20 minutes late, but that turned into 20 minutes early as the train joined the GWML. The train arrived into Acton TC at 0225, half an hour earlier than it’s booked arrival 0255.
The Merehead / Whatley workings have been, and still will be, hauled by DB Cargo locomotives, until November. After November, the Mendip Rail traffic will be operated by Freightliner. Currently, Mendip use a combination of class 59/0 Aggregate Industries; Class 59/1 Hanson Group, and Class 59/2 locomotives on their “jumbo” trains to Acton yard. Following termination at Acton TC, the train, which consist usually consists half bogie boxes and half hoppers, is thereafter split. The box wagons go to various aggregate yards around the South East and Essex (such as Newhaven Day Aggregates and Crawley New Yard/Foster Yeoman). The hoppers go to facilities where the there are unloading wells.
Video below shows the shear size of the jumbo trains from Merehead, a consist of similar size to the longest train in the UK, that of the HOBC.
Following the transferal of the Mendip traffic from DB Cargo to Freightliner, DB Cargo have since listed their class 59/2s for sale (which have now been sold). DB will still maintain working the various services to aggregate terminals around the South and Essex.
70003 was followed closely by 59005 and 59206, working 0Z59 from Westbury. These as a backup, incase the 70 failed. In the long run, it is anticipated that Freightliner will use a combination of their class 70 fleet, along with their class 66/6 locomotives which are fitted with reduced gearing to cope with heavier workings.