Spain to UK fresh produce rail service restarts

Stobart Group has restarted a low-carbon rail-freight service carries 30 chilled containers of fruit and vegetables from Spain to supermarkets and retailers in the UK.

The journey takes just over 50 hours to pass through Spain, France and the Channel Tunnel and slashes vehicle emissions by saving 60 cross-continent truck journeys every week.

The temperature of each of the 45-foot long refrigerated containers is monitored by satellite through the journey from Valencia to Barking.

Since re-opening the line, Europorte Channel and Network Rail have removed an extra stop on the northbound leg of the journey by using international rail lanes at Folkestone.

This has brought down the cost and the total journey time.

The re-launch has been part funded by a European Marco Polo grant because the move of freight from road to rail cuts congestion on key European routes and reduces carbon emissions.

Liam Martin, Stobart Rail Freight managing director, said: “The resumption of this seasonal service has been driven by the commercial advantages it offers and the environmental benefits. It will help take trucks off European motorways and ease congestion at key pinch-points such as the Pyrenees. The service will allow us to offer a cost and time-effective solution for supermarkets and food retailers in a carbon-friendly manner.”

Initially it will run weekly but the service will be built up to five services per week at peak times.