Under Secretary of State for Transport unveils Hope’s enhanced-capacity rolling stock
HOPE Construction Materials have unveiled 48 state-of-the-art rail wagons, developed in partnership with VTG Rail UK. The wagons were officially launched at Hope Works cement plant, in Derbyshire, with the ribbon cut by Andrew Jones MP, Under Secretary of State for Transport.
The tailor-made aluminium wagons, which represent an annual investment of £1 million over a period of 11 years, have been developed to offer an enhanced capacity. Each can carry 80 tonnes – more than twice the standard payload of 36 tonnes, which will increase the capacity of each train to 1,850 tonnes of cement, 500 tonnes more than previously.
With fewer rail wagons transporting more cargo, Hope say they will be able to deploy fewer trains while still ensuring that two thirds of the total annual production of cement – 1 million tonnes – is delivered throughout the UK using the rail network.
Using the enhanced fleet, Hope will continue to transport cement to construction projects around the UK, using the major depots at Theale, Walsall and Dewsbury. Trains will also deliver cement to Hope’s Dagenham depot, where new state-of-the-art packing facilities will allow the firm to pack cement in their own bags for the first time.
In the first year alone, Hope will see a reduction of almost 20% in the number trains deployed, falling from 768 in 2015 to 627 in 2016, in line with the company’s commitment to sustainability and reduced carbon emissions.
Moving 1 million tonnes of cement per year by rail will also allow Hope to remove more than 33,000 truckloads from local roads during the same period. In addition, the new wagons are of a modern design with shorter bogies that emit less noise and will, therefore, minimize impact on surrounding communities.
Ashley Bryan (right of photo), industrial director at Hope Construction Materials, said: ‘We are delighted to unveil this project which will result in greater efficiency and sustainability of our rail operations throughout the UK.
‘Cement is the lifeblood of UK construction and key to economic development. This new deal will see Hope able to transport bigger payloads in fewer journeys, benefitting not only our customers throughout Britain, but also the environment. We look forward to realizing the benefits of these state-of-the-art wagons.
‘Our cement will also be transported by rail to our new Dagenham plant, which is set to open in the second quarter of 2016, to be bagged and sent on to customers throughout Britain, which is something we are particularly excited about.’
Transport Minister Andrew Jones (left of photo) said: ‘It is a pleasure to officially unveil these new rail wagons. I am pleased to see the industry making great steps towards improving the environmental impact of its freight traffic, with more efficient, cleaner and quieter wagons, and I wish them every success in their future operations.’
Also in attendance at the unveiling were: local MP Andrew Bingham (centre of photo); Lord Tony Berkeley, chairman of the Rail Freight Group; representatives from VTG Rail UK; and a number of Community Liaison Committee members.
Hope Construction Materials are currently in the process of being acquired by Breedon Aggregates for £336 million, subject to the approval of competition authorities.
The deal – which will create Britain’s leading independent supplier of cement, concrete, aggregates and associated products and services – is expected to complete sometime during 2016. Until then, Hope Construction Materials will continue to operate as a wholly independent company.