Varamis Rail Class 321

UK: Varamis Rail has launched a 160 km/h express freight service between Glasgow and Birmingham International using a converted electric multiple-unit.

The service is targeted at express parcels and third-party delivery companies seeking next day delivery of consumer goods.

Consignments arriving at the Glasgow hub by 17.30 from Monday to Friday can reach Birmingham at 23.00, with northbound freight arriving at the Birmingham site by 23.00 reaching Glasgow at 05.30 the next morning.

Regular services were launched on January 9, following trial operation which began in October.

They are operated using a four-car Class 321 Swift Express Freight 25 kV 50 Hz electric multiple-unit. Leasing company Eversholt Rail converted the trainset by stripping out the interior after it was displaced from passenger services by the arrival of new stock. Varamis Rail told Rail Business UK it has one unit in service, with a further four modified and ready for use.

Varamis Rail ‘is keen to promote the sustainable benefits that the railway has to offer to the UK economy’, said Managing Director Phil Read.

‘The increase in online shopping and home deliveries over recent years has accelerated the demand to find a more environmentally friendly solution to moving our parcels, products, or light goods around the UK; one solution is the electrified rail network.

‘Varamis Rail is incredibly appreciative of the support it has received from Network Rail to enable a start-up of its operations and we look forward to building on this relationship as the rail industry looks to play its part in decarbonising’ the UK.’