Railwatch

Published by Railfuture

Railwatch is the quarterly magazine of Railfuture, which is free to members.

Non-members can subscribe to Railwatch, receiving it by post, by clicking


Railwatch 079 - April 1999

Railwatch - Safeway on the railway

By Michael Weinberg

It is fitting that the first of our supermarket chains to use rail to transport its products in any significant volume should be called Safeway!

All RDS members will welcome the news that this innovative store is to begin a regular service of containers over the Highland line between Mossend near Glasgow and Inverness.

At first trains will run five days per week, eventually becoming a six nights per week service with trains arriving in the early hours at Inverness for onward distribution by road, to supply goods to five stores in that area for sale that same day. Included will be ambient, chilled and frozen foods and fresh produce, all of which were previously transported by road.

Safeway's logistics director, Lawrence Christensen comments: "Safeway was the first UK retailer to move volume products by rail over a year ago, and the success of that initiative has spurred us on to develop our rail operations even further.

"Our partnership with EWS has worked tremendously well over the last year and illustrates Safeway's commitment to rail."

This development has come about because of a grant of £680,000 from the Scottish Office, and Mr Christensen paid tribute to the efficiency with which the grant was processed.

The grant provided special trailers and containers which can be transferred from rail to road and vice versa.

The marketing director of EWS, Julian Worth said: "We are delighted with this further step in Safeway's partnership with EWS. By moving chilled and frozen products over a distance of less than 200 miles direct to store, it demonstrates that rail can provide a distribution service which many transport experts had previously considered impossible." The Safeway traffic will be included in EWS's Enterprise freight trains serving Scottish destinations. Safeway has become conscious of the increasing congestion on Britain's motorways and in June 1997 began a trial of rail transport to assess the reliability of scheduled delivery times, ease of movement and product handling between road and rail, and quality control of the products. Three dedicated Roadrailer vehicles were used and the first load consisted of wine from Daventry to Mossend.

Following on from that successful trial a permanent service began in October 1997 consisting of two containers a day from Yorkshire to Kent, saving 3,500 lorry kilometres per week.

And so to the Scottish exercise, which Safeway says has been primarily driven by the environmental advantages rail can offer. It will remove 9,360 lorry journeys from the road during the next three years. Lawrence Christensen asserts that it "really does illustrate how rail is becoming a part of Safeway's overall transport policy." To put things in perspective, Safeway, which is the third largest retailer in the UK, has a fleet of over 600 lorries, running around 98 million kilometres, and using nearly 7.5 million gallons of fuel per annum, so there is lots of potential for rail.

Congratulations should go to Railtrack for improving clearances on the route to accommodate the Safeway traffic.

Note: contact details (postal and email addresses, along with telephone numbers) in old editions of Railwatch out of date. Click CONTACT US for latest contact details.


[Issue 79 Index]

[Railwatch Home] [Prev Issue (78)] [Railwatch Issues] [RIS Progress Reports] [Next Issue (80)] [Railfuture Home]


Railfuture is an independent, voluntary group representing rail users in Britain with 20,000 affiliated and individual members. It is not funded by train companies, political parties or trade unions, and all members have an equal say.

Railfuture campaigns for cheap and convenient rail services for everyone; better links for buses, bikes and pedestrians; policies to get more heavy lorries on to rail; new lines, stations and freight terminals. In short, a better rail service and a bigger rail system for both passengers and freight.

Railfuture is pro-rail but not anti-road or anti-air. However, we campaign for a switch from road and air to rail. We do not interfere in the running of the railway - we campaign for the quality and range of services provided, not how they are delivered. We are the only champion of all rail users.


Railfuture is the campaigning name of Railfuture Ltd.

A not-for-profit Company Limited by Guarantee.

Registered in England and Wales No. 05011634.

Registered Office: Edinburgh House, 1-5 Bellevue Road, Clevedon, North Somerset BS21 7NP (for legal correspondence only).

All other correspondence to 24 Chedworth Place, Tattingstone, Suffolk IP9 2ND


© Copyright Railfuture Ltd 2021.

Railfuture is happy for extracts to be used by journalists, researchers and students. We would, however, appreciate a mention of Railfuture in any article, website or programme. Except with Railfuture's express written permission, no one should distribute or commercially exploit the content.


Privacy Statement

Click Privacy to read Railfuture's GDPR statement on how we treat your data.

25.08.2020

This site does not use its own cookies, although Google Analytics does. The site is maintained for Railfuture by Billing Specialists Ltd.