Monday, November 12, 2018

Rail Freight Operation Does its Chosen Charities Proud Yet Again

No Athletics for This Marathon - Rather Tracks of Steel
Shipping News Feature
UK – In January, GB Railfreight (GBRf) announced that the staff had raised £160,000 in 2017 through a wide variety of innovative schemes which included an inaugural marathon charity rail tour. Now the results from the second such event, a four day charter around Britain at the end of September and involving eighteen locomotives, show the rail freight operation has now raised a grand total of £145,732 from this year's event alone, the cash going to GBRf's two chosen charities, Macmillan Cancer Support and Headway.

The 2018 event saw passengers travelling to an array of locations across the UK. On day one, passengers travelled from London Victoria to Bristol and Bridgend, before returning to London Paddington. Day two saw travellers leave London Euston and travel to Wellingborough and Tonbridge before returning to London Waterloo. The weekend was an overnight trip which started at London Waterloo on Saturday, before travelling to Blackpool North, via the Central Belt of Scotland to Fort William before stopping for the night in Glasgow, and returning to London Paddington on Sunday morning.

The trip recorded a number of ‘firsts’ with the first day’s return into London Paddington marking the arrival of the first electric locomotive into the station carrying passengers, the same was true of its entry to Blackpool North on day three of the tour. It is also highly unusual for passenger services to visit Wellingborough and Tonbridge freight yards. Credit for this unique event must go to GBRf Managers Paul Taylor, Dale Williams and Ian Grey whose brainchild it was, but these tours could not be possible without the help of over 50 staff across the GBRf team, including volunteer Train Managers, Guards and an army of stewards and helpers from all parts of the business.

The two charities do sterling work in their own fields with Macmillan not only helping with the medical needs of people affected by cancer, but also looking at the social, emotional and practical impact cancer can have, whilst campaigning for better cancer care. Headway works to promote understanding of all aspects of brain injury and provide information, support and services to survivors, their families and carers. It was chosen by GBRf following one of its staff members suffering a brain aneurysm in January 2017.

GBRf has been supporting these charities since the beginning of 2018 and will continue to do so until the end of this year. Paul Taylor, General Manager at GB Railfreight said a special ‘thank you’ to the company’s suppliers, in particular fellow FOCs Colas and Freightliner and infrastructure provider Network Rail, whose kind efforts and contributions make the tour a possibility. John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, added:

“I am absolutely thrilled that for a second time, the GBRf team has pulled together such a fantastic schedule of routes and locos to raise money for causes that are very close to GBRf’s heart. These amazing tours are a testament to the GBRf team, from the office staff, to train crews and planners, who give up their own time to make them happen. I am very proud of the fact that including this charity tour and other fund-raising events GB Railfreight have raised over £155,000 for charity this year, so far”

Photo: ACLG 87002 – the first electric loco to enter Paddington Station.