GB Railfreight signs contract to operate Network Rail’s RIDC Melton test facility
GB Railfreight will operate RIDC Melton, which provides safe and reliable testing environments for new and modified technology within the rail industry, for a total of four years.
GB Railfreight (GBRf), one of the largest rail freight operators in the UK, has struck an agreement with Network Rail for the operation of its Rail Innovation & Development Centre (RIDC) Melton at its facility in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. The contract, signed in mid-March 2021 by GBRf’s Managing Director, John Smith, will run from 1 April 2021 and last for four years.
RIDC Melton offers a dedicated test facility to provide safe and reliable testing environments for new and modified technology within the rail industry. This is a unique high-speed test facility for the UK rail industry: it provides a safe specialised non-mainline facility for the testing, validation and commissioning of new and modified rolling stock, plant, on track machines, infrastructure, equipment and technology, away from the constraints of the mainline network.
RIDC Melton has been purpose-built to support both high- and low-speed testing. The facility provides two separate test tracks: a high-speed 13 mile test track between Melton Junction and Edwalton up to 125mph – 11 miles of this with 25kV overhead line equipment (OLE); and a slower-speed four mile test track from Old Dalby to Stanton Tunnel up to 60mph, with 25kV OLE and DC 4th rail capability.
Tim Hartley, Business Development Director at GB Railfreight, said: “Winning this contract not only expands GB Railfreight’s offering to Network Rail, but also to the stakeholders of RIDC Melton. This is another diversification to our traditional business model of running freight trains, but positions us really well to offer a more efficient end-to end service to all RIDC stakeholders. Innovation is at the heart of our business model, so running the operations at RIDC Melton is very exciting for us.”