A change is being made with the delivery agent that shuttles Ford UK vehicles from the factory in Dagenham to the rail terminal outside of Liverpool. For many years, Ford UK has been using rail as the transportation method for its cars and vans between the cities. It will continue to use rail, but after a competitive tender offer for the contract, a new rail provider has been chosen with Direct Rail Services (DRS) winning the contract.
The new contract will last three years, and this marks the first time that DRS has won the contract. DRS is taking over from GB Railfreight, who has previously operated the railway delivery system for the automaker. DRS says that it will use a mix of double deck and single deck vehicle transporters and that the train will operate between six and eight times weekly. There is a potential for operations up to ten times weekly.
DRS says that the two terminals are non-electrified, but the route has overhead lines, and DRS will use its bimode Class 88 locomotive for the entire route. That particular locomotive is ideally suited as it can use the overhead electric lines when available and use diesel power for the end of the delivery journey. The company says that makes its trains highly efficient and better for the environment.
DRS will work with STVA UK, which is an automotive transport specialist. This is the first time that DRS and STVA UK have worked together. The two firms are hoping for a long partnership. Ford UK is undoubtedly hoping to save money with the new delivery company to help bolster its bottom line. Ford is also pushing to be greener, and the bimode locomotives will support that goal. Ford’s Transit van was the third best selling vehicle in the UK in 2019.