In the early hours of Wednesday 17 July, a Freightliner 3,690-horsepower Class 70 locomotive hauled a train with a cargo of aggregate between Merehead in Somerset and Acton in London.

Weighing 4,624 tonnes, this is the heaviest ‘jumbo’ train currently running in the UK.

The trial run was in preparation for the start of Freightliner’s bulk haulage service for Mendip Rail Ltd., a joint venture between two of the UK’s largest aggregate/cement producers, Hanson UK and Aggregate Industries, who currently use 3,300-horsepower Class 59 locomotives to run this service.

With diagnostic testing carried out throughout the journey by General Electric on behalf of Freightliner, the anticipated four-hour long journey was completed ahead of schedule making the trial an outstanding success, largely due to the careful planning and collaboration between all key stakeholders.

“Under the Mendip contract, Freightliner will haul an expected eight million tonnes of aggregate per year, so it was crucial that we tested the maximum haulage capability using one of our powerful Class 70 locomotives, demonstrating our commitment to providing a safe and efficient service to our customers.”

David Israel, Bulk Commercial Director for G&W’s UK/Europe Region companies