Akiem loco for GBRf (Photo: GBRf)

UK: GB Railfreight has announced a 10-year deal with leasing company Akiem which will see 11 EMD Class 77 and 66 diesel locomotives transferred from Continental Europe to the UK between January 2023 and May 2024.

The locos will be modified for use on the British network at EMD’s Doncaster Roberts Road site, with first expected to begin operating in the UK this summer.

GBRF said the £25m deal announced on January 9 had been made possible by recent intermodal contract wins and growth across a number of key markets, with the additional locos to be used on intermodal, power generation, infrastructure, waste and construction services.

‘Over the past two years we’ve seen a significant growth in rail freight, with new customers and markets coming to us for support with their supply chains’, said CEO John Smith. ‘This new deal with Akiem is part of our commitment to maintain this growth and offer a more sustainable alternative to transporting goods across the UK.’

Canadian pension and insurance investor CDPQ acquired Akiem from French state railway SNCF and infrastructure investor DWS during December. The company owns a fleet of 670 locomotives and 46 passenger trains, which are leased to more than 80 customers in 21 European countries.