Cross Country trialling Medical Freight

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telstarbox

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Rail Operations Group - 769s & 319s to be used on freight between West Mids and Central Belt | RailUK Forums (railforums.co.uk)

CrossCountry are trialling medical freight which they are carrying in non-passenger areas:

As part of an initial trial, InterCity Railfreight, who have been moving parcel-sized freight using passenger trains since 2010, will be using non-public areas on some of CrossCountry’s trains between Scotland, the Midlands and South West England to facilitate a reliable, fast and more environmentally sustainable way of distributing medical supplies. The service will support the express roll-out of the UK’s Covid vaccination programme, as well as other critical parts of the health care service.

Sending time-critical consignments by rail will speed up the transportation of essential medical supplies, say CrossCountry. They add it will help improve patient care and help to reduce the burden on the National Health Service (NHS). The service will also reduce carbon emissions, with less road transportation required through city and town centres. Jeff Screeton, the managing director of InterCity Railfreight, has been eager to get the service underway...
 
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a_c_skinner

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That is a spot of luck, finding a use for all the unused space on XC trains.
 

Scott1

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Is there any confirmation/suggestion this will be continued when travellers return?
I'd assume so, they already run on two other TOCs and have done for years. They are usually only little parcels.
 

theironroad

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No reason why not. Its only on the HSTs in any case.


It limits the amount of bikes that can be carried though.

You'd really think that tocs would encourage people out of their cars and to use trains and then use their bike for the first /last part of journey that many people can cycle. Yet, no all tocs seem interested in is putting off cyclists by forever reducing bike spaces. Not just a xc issue either.
 

ABB125

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You'd really think that tocs would encourage people out of their cars and to use trains and then use their bike for the first /last part of journey that many people can cycle. Yet, no all tocs seem interested in is putting off cyclists by forever reducing bike spaces. Not just a xc issue either.
[cynic]Bikes don't pay fares.[/cynic]
 

paulmch

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You'd really think that tocs would encourage people out of their cars and to use trains and then use their bike for the first /last part of journey that many people can cycle. Yet, no all tocs seem interested in is putting off cyclists by forever reducing bike spaces. Not just a xc issue either.
To be fair, Greater Anglia's new regional stock has space for 6 bicycles, which is a big improvement on their old dogboxes.
 

LowLevel

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They use a small locked cupboard on EMR's HSTs and 222s. I don't think it is much of a hardship - the courier handles everything, they turn up, put the parcel away, hand the guard a manifest and it is collected at the other end.

Clever, innovative idea.
 

py_megapixel

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Hmm... of course it's well-known on this forum that in normal times CrossCountry has nice long trainsets which rarely become crowded and already provide every passenger with ample room, so there's clearly space going spare that can be used for this.

Oh wait...

[cynic]Bikes don't pay fares.[/cynic]
The thing is, they sort of do. They effectively pay the fares of all the people who would immediately switch to the car if they couldn't take their bike on the train.

Though to be fair, the poor quality of cycle provision on the Voyagers has probably already gotten rid of most of them.
 

DB

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What actually is it they are carrying? Presumably not medical drugs?
 

185143

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To be fair, Greater Anglia's new regional stock has space for 6 bicycles, which is a big improvement on their old dogboxes.
Makes me laugh when you see on the PIS screens "we can only carry 6 bikes" in an apologetic tone when you're used to trains only taking 2...
 

David Goddard

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Sounds like a good thing, offering fast transit for important supplies using a mode that is going there anyway. Well done XC for enabling this, let's hope others will follow.
 

Bletchleyite

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Hmm... of course it's well-known on this forum that in normal times CrossCountry has nice long trainsets which rarely become crowded and already provide every passenger with ample room, so there's clearly space going spare that can be used for this.

The "crumple zone" at the cab end. OK, bikes used to go in there* and still theoretically could, but there'd still be space for the kind of small stuff they are talking about. Seats can't be put in there because it's, er, a crumple zone.

* I never got what the point in moving them was; the space can't be used for much else.
 

DB

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The "crumple zone" at the cab end. OK, bikes used to go in there* and still theoretically could, but there'd still be space for the kind of small stuff they are talking about. Seats can't be put in there because it's, er, a crumple zone.

* I never got what the point in moving them was; the space can't be used for much else.

One end is where the catering trolley lives.
 

Skie

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Wonder if it will be a fridge, given the mention of COVID vaccine?
 

bnsf734

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if the freight needed refrigeration, it would be packed in an insulated container with dry ice, the same way as air freight would be packed. Mind you I wonder how much Covid vaccine for the west country is spare in Scotland?

Nice to see some freight travelling by passenger train though.
 

Scott1

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What actually is it they are carrying? Presumably not medical drugs?
If it is the same as EMR it is usually samples for testing, occasionally urgent supplies, some paperwork on one occasion (I assume an urgent contract or something). Mostly it is medical, but, I belive the service can be used by any company that wishes to
The space for storage is relatively small, so it's never anything bulky. It's a good idea, it only takes up one small cupboard and aside from being handed a docket required no train crew work. Easy money utilising an unusable space.
 

greatkingrat

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What happens when there is disruption and the train terminates short of its destination?
 

Carlisle

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Clever, innovative idea.
A good idea,but as @njr001states the concept is decades if not centuries old, it was only ditched relatively recently as it didn’t work well with our chosen privatised funding model
 

221129

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Ah, fair enough. No doubt there's still room for a small parcel of medical stuff alongside it, though.
There really isn't.

There is a lot of speculation here which is wrong.

It is being done ONLY on HST sets. The items (which can be various things) are transported in locked cages in the non public area of the TGS vehicle.

What happens when there is disruption and the train terminates short of its destination?
If there are items being transported then control will make arrangements as required at the time to suit the circumstances.
 

LowLevel

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A good idea,but as @njr001states the concept is decades if not centuries old, it was only ditched relatively recently as it didn’t work well with our chosen privatised funding model

Innovative for the modern railway I should say - who would ever have assumed that we would be moving freight around on the likes of a 222, even in small packages.

Most trains if you put some thought into it could find space for this kind of work, even the 156/158/170 units I work on have suitable cupboards that could be fitted with appropriate locks (and that is without taking up the passenger luggage space by using the old parcels vans which are far too large for this) - just with a couple of exceptions they don't operate on routes where this kind of traffic is desirable.

Of course the problem with Red Star style service nowadays is the dwindling hours and locations of railway booking offices around the country as well as the rolling stock not being suited to accept whatever might turn up.

I quite often ship internal supplies like uniform, catering supplies, cleaning products, paperwork and what not in my 158 but that requires my goodwill to fill my cab up with bulky things :lol:
 
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