The first jumbo train carrying building materials leaves Cardiff

History has been made with the first jumbo train of 34 wagons and 660 metres long departing from Associated British Ports rail terminal in Cardiff and travelling to Acton in London.

Building materials
Building materials delivered by jumbo train for the first time in history.

The load of 2300 tonnes of building materials will be used in the construction industry in the South East and delivering the materials by rail will save the equivalent of over 80 truck loads on our congested roads.

The train, operated by Britain’s biggest rail freight operator DB Cargo UK transported limestone from CEMEX’s Wenvoe and Taff’s Well quarries, on the outskirts of Cardiff for use in the production of asphalt and concrete in London and the South East. Footage of the train leaving South Wales can be seen at

CEMEX UK Rail and Sea manager Mark Grimshaw Smith said: “This is the first freight train of this size to ever travel from South Wales. Usually only 21 wagons are used but using 60% more wagon capacity makes it more efficient and definitely more environmentally friendly.

“We hope that we can use this type of jumbo train on other parts of the rail network where we have rail heads in quarries and we need materials such as rock, sand and gravel to be transported into conurbations such as London, where the roads are most congested.  We look forward to working work with Network Rail and DB Cargo UK to make this possible.”

David Fletcher, Head of Major Projects at DB Cargo UK, said: “Using longer trains makes rail an even more efficient and competitive mode of transport. DB Cargo UK is pleased to have worked with Network Rail to deliver this new service for CEMEX UK. The 662 metres or 0.4 miles long train required the use of two locomotives because of the inclines in the Severn Tunnel. The use of one path to move a longer train also releases capacity for other freight services on a busy network. .”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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