Now incorporating a brand new, track friendly bogie with enhanced dynamic ride performance and additional mounting points for increased loading flexibility, Ecofret2® is the latest innovation in maritime container transport and a revolutionary addition to VTG Rail’s fleet. The original Ecofret® was a game-changer in encouraging modal shift and the new design goes even further to maximise the benefits for freight operating companies.
Ian Shaw, Sales & Marketing Director, VTG Rail, said: “Rail freight is becoming an increasingly attractive option for shippers and big retailers who are looking to move more goods inland from deep sea ports as fast and as effectively as possible. As the size of container vessels increases, the need at the port to get boxes away and moving has never been more pressing. That’s where the Ecofret2® comes in.
“In order to handle the larger 40ft containers in the most efficient way, we have needed to continually innovate and think outside the box. Ecofret2® builds on the efficiency benefits provided by the original Ecofret since its introduction seven years ago, and will help rail freight operators continue to meet shipper demand further enhancing the business case for rail. As with all new VTG wagons, Ecofret2® will be fitted with our ‘Connect’ telematics system, allowing users to subscribe to a range of GPS-based tracking and monitoring services “
The new wagons will be built at WH Davis’ Shirebrook site in the East Midlands. Les Bryant, Group Business Development Director, said: “WH Davis are extremely pleased and proud to have been awarded this prestigious contract by VTG Rail against stiff European competition. It will ensure the strong tradition of rail freight wagon building by WH Davis in the UK continues, and we look forward to working with our valued customer VTG Rail on this project.”
Rob Brook, Head of Rail UK for the VTG Group, added: “VTG is excited to be investing in the next generation of container wagons for the growing UK intermodal market and we are looking forward to using them to deliver the highest level of service to our customers. As a leader in innovation we have made further significant investments in the Ecofret design ensuring that the new Ecofret2® wagon will bring even greater in-service benefits than its ground-breaking predecessor.”
Thinking Outside The Box.
VTG originally named its close-coupled, multiple-platform, container wagon sets Ecofret to highlight their green credentials. Rail has a much lower carbon footprint than road and they maximise the number of boxes that can be carried. On the original Ecofret design, the outer platforms could each carry one 40 ft container and the inner platform can carry either one 40 ft or two 20 ft containers, with payloads of up to 61 tonnes.
The first Ecofret wagons were launched into UK service back in 2012 following a major investment in the design and development of this ground breaking design by VTG. Provided in both triple and twin configurations, Ecofret has been running with most of the major UK FOCs for the last seven years and is now an indispensable part of the UK’s intermodal scene.
Nigel Day, Engineering Director at VTG Rail UK, added: “The wagons avoid the need for empty spaces which are so often seen on trains made up of 60ft deck length container flats carrying a single 40ft box. These empty spaces are wasteful and create considerable turbulence when running at 75mph, which increases drag and fuel consumption. Ecofret2® will be fitted with a brand new bogie incorporating rubber suspension components and hydraulic damping giving an improved dynamic ride which will meet the requirements of emerging rail regulations. It will also feature additional container mounting points on the outer platforms meaning that either two 20ft or one 40ft box can be carried on all platforms giving maximum loading flexibility to customers.”
(Pictured left to right: Jonathan Hamer, Finance Director of WH Davis; Stewart Greenwood, MD of WH Davis; Nigel Day, Engineering Director, VTG Rail UK and Rob Brook, Head of VTG Rail UK at VTG’s offices in Birmingham)