ROLLING stock leasing company Akiem has signed a 10-year leasing agreement with British freight operator GB Railfreight (GBRf) which is to invest £25m to increase the size of its locomotive fleet.

Akiem is to lease 11 class 66 and class 77 diesel locomotives to GBRf, both of which are Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) Co-Co designs powered by a 2462kW engine. Deliveries from continental Europe are due to begin this month and will run until May 2024.

Upon arrival, the locomotives will be modified to operate on the British network at the EMD workshops at Roberts Road in Doncaster. The first converted locomotive is expected to enter service by this summer.

GBRf says that its investment in the new fleet has been made possible by recent contract wins in the intermodal sector and continuing growth across a number of key markets.

The Akiem class 66 and class 77 will haul trains for GBRf customers in the intermodal, energy generation, waste and construction sectors, as well as maintenance trains for infrastructure manager Network Rail (NR).

“Over the past two years we’ve seen significant growth in rail freight, with new customers and markets coming to us for support with their supply chains,” says GBRf CEO, Mr 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 Britain.”

“We are very pleased to be adding such renowned and appreciated class 66 and class 77 locomotives to the British market while strengthening our partnership with GBRf,” says Mr Simon-Pierre Trezeguet, managing director of the Locomotive Leasing Business Unit at Akiem.

“In a few months’ time, when our mainland European high-performance class 66s and class 77s have been converted into locomotives perfectly adapted to the British market, thanks to the GBRf teams’ technical expertise, they will greatly contribute to the development of rail freight across Britain.”

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