Published: 30th January 2016
UK Rail Leasing (UKRL) is a start-up company who spotted a gap in the freight locomotive spot hire market in 2013 and rail.co.uk reported on this in 2014 at http://www.rail.co.uk/rail-news/2014/ukrl-launch/
They have based their 20 strong fleet of Class 56 and Class 37 locomotives at the former DB Schenker depot Leicester. They have now achieved accreditation as traction suppliers to Freightliner, Devon & Cornwall Railways (D&CR) and Rail Operations Group (ROG).
Three companies have moved their maintenance and overhaul operation to the UKRL base at Leicester which has a new five-year Lease. Europhoenix, Electric Traction Ltd and ROG have contracted UKRL to carry out locomotive renovation and maintenance and as part of this arrangement, ETL’s Class 86 electric locomotive was overhauled at Leicester and is now in service with the Serco operated sleeper franchise.
The next locomotive being returned to main line service is Class 37 No. 37800 and as sister locomotive, No. 37884, will be fitted with a Dellner coupler. Both locomotives are owned by Europhoenix but are subject to a long lease to ROG who will be using them for moving electric units around the UK between depots and Works.
UKRL has returned to service three of its fleet of Class 56 diesel locomotives for non-passenger national network work and these have been used by Freightliner, Devon & Cornwall Railways and ROG. Privately owned main line registered 56301is also based at Leicester.
Facilities at Leicester Depot improve and the purchase of lifting jacks enables more services to be offered. The depot’s fueling point is about to be re-activated providing a one-stop garage at a railway crossroads. After a couple of years activities, the UKRL workforce has become a skilled team accredited as skilled engineers in the railway supply chain. They have rewritten the overhaul and maintenance regime instructions for their locomotives bringing better performance than in previous decades.
The remainder of the UKRL Class 56 fleet is likely to be re-engineered to provide an ‘as new’ locomotive at around 60% of the cost of a Class 68 or 70 locomotive. Another benefit of this project is the lead time to supply them. These will take around 18 months to deliver against a lead time of five years for new locomotives. Once operational, it is expected that the operational costs will be far less than existing locomotives offering a further benefit to freight operators.
It is well known in the container by rail business that the profit is only generated by the last three or four containers on a train. If costs can be reduced by 40% then the freight operation becomes more profitable for operators. The benchmark operational characteristics will be aimed at bettering the performance of a Class 66 but at a significantly cheaper cost.
Costs may be further reduced at the end of a project to test a fuel additive which increases compression and reduces fuel used which is currently under test on a UKRL Class 56 at Leicester. Initial results indicate a marked improvement in running costs and the testing continues.
Many of the UKRL fleet was used in France and Spain in the last decade on high speed line construction trains. The plans for HS2 are well advanced and with the East West Rail project between Bedford, Cambridge and Bicester and Aylesbury there will be a need for similar trains and motive power.
The other major project looming is the fitment of all locomotives with European Rail Traffic Management System equipment so a reserve fleet will be required.
The UKRL maintained fleet of four Class 56s at Leicester is now averaging 24,000 between casualties and non has failed in traffic. They were delighted to be able to name No. 56098 ‘The Lost Boys 1968-88’ on January 15th. This group relates to footplate staff who were recruited in that 20 year period who have formed a 1000 strong self-help group to assist those members who have fallen on difficult times.
The locomotive was named by DB Schenker operations Standards Manager Nick Edwards and Chiltern Railways’ Steve Roast.
The depot has a single pit-road in the shed long enough for two locomotives and a covered one locomotive long side berth. There are eight acres of sidings where stabling facilities are available.
The depot is equipped to undertake full overhaul and maintenance of class 56s, class 37s, class 47s and class 86s including all Maintenance Exams.
UKRL is able to source all class 56, 37, 47 and 86 components and has developed an ever-growing supplier network often with considerable savings to traditional sources.
UKRL has an Industry compliant Safety Management System (SMS) having been approved as a supplier of locomotives and maintenance to three UK Operating Companies. As part of our SMS, UKRL fully approves all suppliers of Safety Critical components and services including all sub-contractors. All acquired components are recorded onto the SMS to ensure a full audit trail is available as required.
We have developed and completely rewritten a class 56 VMOI and all UKRL operated and maintained class 56s are subject to this regime of maintenance and overhaul.
All work undertaken at UKRL is fully documented with job cards and other data collection. These are input into our SMS to enable various customer management records and reports to