Direct Rail Services and Tesco win top prize at National Rail Awards

At this year’s National Rail Awards, Direct Rail Services (DRS) and Tesco won the prestigious Freight and Logistics Achievement of the Year award for DRS’ innovative refrigerated rail service with supermarket giant Tesco.

The National Rail Awards provide an opportunity to display excellence in all aspects of the rail industry. This is one of the biggest awards ceremonies on the rail calendar, and the Direct Rail Services team fought off stiff competition from across the industry to win the award.

DRS is part of Nuclear Transport Solutions, a subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

DRS locomotive for the transport of Tesco rail freight. // Credit: DRS.

The refrigerated rail service was introduced 10 months ago to distribute chilled goods on the 415-mile route from Tilbury to Coatbridge by low-CO2 rail. It is Tesco’s first refrigerated rail freight service and operates twice a day, seven days a week.

The low CO2 rating is achieved by using Direct Rail Services Class 88 dual-mode electric locomotives that run on electricity and produce zero exhaust or greenhouse gas emissions. Using rail takes at least 17,000 containers off the road every year, saving Tesco 7.3 million road miles and nearly 9,000 tonnes of CO2.

New Tesco Containers
New Tesco containers // Credit: DRS

Speaking on the success of the award, Seth Kybird, CEO of NTS, said: “We are very proud of this service and the work we are doing with our customers to introduce innovative new freight trains to the rail network.

“It is absolutely fantastic that we have been recognized for our efforts and the work we do to promote the use of rail as an environmental choice for major retailers in the UK.

“Each train removes around 40 lorries from the UK road network and we are running two trains a day, seven days a week. But the journey doesn’t end there, as we continue to encourage the use of rail freight for retailers Across the country.

David Peattie, CEO of NDA, added: “This is great news for Direct Rail Services and extremely well deserved recognition. DRS plays a crucial role in the NDA’s mission, transporting materials safely across the UK, and delivering state-of-the-art, innovative rail operations for Tesco, keeping supermarket shelves full, while supporting our ambitions to net zero carbon.

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