Diesels replace electric trains on Frieghtliner services – East Anglian Daily Times

The company that runs Freight trains from Ipswich to London has mothballed all its electric locomotives and replaced them with diesels after the cost of electricity rose by 200%.

Freightliner normally runs many electric-hauled trains from Felixstowe to the north west of England via the north London line. Because the line to the port is not electrified, diesels haul them as far as Ipswich where electric traction takes over.

Now, however, diesels will be used for the whole journey.

Freightliner diesel
Freightliner diesel


Diesel locomotives will replace electrics on the line between Ipswich and London while the price of power remains high.

– Credit: Paul Geater

A spokeswoman for Freightliner said: “As a result of an unprecedented increase in electricity prices, Freightliner has taken the difficult decision to temporarily replace their electric freight services with diesel-hauled services in order to maintain a cost-effective solution for transporting essential goods and supplies around the UK. 

“Rail remains the most carbon-efficient way to transport freight around Great Britain even with diesel locomotives, with each tonne of freight moved by rail instead of road reducing CO2 emissions by 76%. 


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The Railfreight Group, which represents all freight operators. said the cost of electricity to its members had increased by 200% over the last month.

The increase does not affect franchised passenger operators like Greater Anglia because they buy their electric power from Network Rail on a fixed 12-month contract so its prices are not affected by the increase in world prices.

The decision does not affect the cross-country trains from Felixstowe that travel via Ely and Peterborough because that line is not electrified and already uses diesel locomotives.

However, the decision was attacked by the leader of the Suffolk County Council Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent Group Leader Andrew Stringer who said it represented a failure of government energy policy.

He said: “This is unbelievable and it shows what total nonsense there is in the energy business. Electricity should be the cleanest and cheapest form of energy but now we have this.

“We need to look a lot harder at generating clean electricity and looking at storage options for it – they are out there. And we should look again at the cheapest way of generating clean electricity – onshore wind farms.”

The increase does not affect franchised passenger operators like Greater Anglia because they buy their electric power from Network Rail on a fixed 12-month contract so its prices are not affected by the increase in world prices.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “Electricity costs for Network Rail and passenger operators were negotiated some time ago and are fixed for this year and most of next.

“A few operators, however, are subject to the current market wholesale price of electricity that Network Rail passes on directly at cost. Despite this, rail remains the most carbon efficient means of moving large quantities of both freight and people around the country.”

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