April 13, 2021

A partnership between Tarmac, Network Rail and Freightliner has taken advantage of the quieter railway network during lockdown to trial a ‘jumbo train’ to transport construction stone from Tunstead Quarry to London.

The train was 590-metre long, the equivalent of more than five Premier League football pitches placed end to end.  It was heaviest to ever run on the West Coast main line, carrying 2,900 tonnes of aggregates in 39 wagons on a 203-mile journey from Tunstead to Wembley in London.  Once it arrived in London, it split to continue its journey on to Battersea and Paddington.  After unloading their cargo for use in construction projects across the South and South East, the wagons were re-attached and the train returned to Derbyshire.

Usually, the aggregates trains would carry around 1,500 tonnes.  The additional volume carried by this train represents the equivalent of taking another 110 lorry journeys off the roads, reducing environmental impact and carbon footprint.

Chris Swan, head of rail at Tarmac said: “We continually strive to make our business more sustainable.  We already make good use of the rail network to transport products out of Tunstead and reduce lorry loads.  With fewer services running on the West Coast main line, due to coronavirus restrictions, we were able to work with Freightliner and Network Rail to trial the heaviest and longest freight train to ever travel on the West Coast main line. We are delighted the trial was such a success and look forward to continuing to work with them to find ways to maximise the benefits of rail transport into the future.”

Pete Butterworth, stone and powders director at Tarmac Tunstead, added: “Finding ways to transport our products sustainably is a key goal.  So, it was very rewarding for the Tunstead site team to be involved in this trial.”

Picture caption:  The jumbo train being trialled out of Tarmac’s Tunstead site