Intermodality, TfL, TNT, Network Rail and Colas have been working to recreate a railway express parcels service that can deliver to retailers. Following a presentation yesterday to the 22nd Rail Freight Group conference, Intermodality and Colas Rail sponsored a specially commissioned test train for TNT Express last night.

TNT Express delivered cages carrying tonnes of supplies from leading UK retailers/ manufacturers Staples and Bristan into Colas Rail's Rugby depot, taking only 20 minutes to transfer from road to rail. The train then left Rugby to cover the 82 miles direct to Euston station, arriving on time at 02:38 on 5 June. Filmed by camera crews from ITV and TNT, within an hour the cages were transhipped from train into a fleet of waiting TNT electric and low-emission delivery vehicles, and delivered to hundreds of stores and suppliers throughout the British capital. All road and rail vehicles were clear of the station by 03:49.

Nick Gallop, Director of Intermodality, congratulated TNT, Colas Rail and Network Rail on another successful demonstration of rail's potential for high-speed, low-carbon deliveries into the heart of towns and cities: "This trial more than ever has laid to rest the myths about rail freight and urban logistics - the train ran to time, achieved a faster transit than by road, used an otherwise deserted main line station as a freight interchange, and reduced emissions by at least two-thirds. I am delighted that we were able to sponsor this train to make it happen, as part of our commitment to raise awareness and promote further innovation in the rail freight sector."

Ian Wainwright, Head of Freight and Fleet at Transport for London, said: "This new trial will help in understanding how major cities can re-integrate this delivery option along with the recent growth in rail passenger journeys, helping to shift freight back onto the rails and free up local roads while reducing emissions by using the cleanest vehicles available."

The trial is one in a series of projects to encourage sustainable city logistics options in moving freight. Peter Wakefield, Head of Railfuture Freight Group, welcomed the news: "This could well be the start of something very big indeed for the railway."

Intermodality press release

TNT press release