DB Schenker Rail (UK)

DB Schenker Rail (UK)
EWS redirects here, for other uses see EWS (disambiguation)
English, Welsh and Scottish Railway
DB Schenker Rail (UK) Ltd.
Industry Rail freight
Predecessor British Rail
Founded 1995
Headquarters Doncaster, England, UK
Key people Edward A. Burkhardt (Chairman and Chief Executive 1995-1999)[1]
Keith Heller (Chief Executive / Co-chairman) 2004-2010[2][3]
Alain Thauvette, CEO [4]
Services Bulk freight and intermodal logistics
Parent Deutsche Bahn via DB Schenker
Subsidiaries Euro Cargo Rail
Website www.rail.dbschenker.co.uk

DB Schenker Rail (UK), before 2009 known as English, Welsh and Scottish Railway (EWS) is a British rail freight company. EWS was established by a consortium led by Wisconsin Central Transportation Corporation in 1996 by acquisition of five of the six freight companies created by the privatisation of British Rail.

On 28 June 2007 the English, Welsh and Scottish Railway company was acquired by Deutsche Bahn AG .[5] Initially it was announced that EWS would not be rebranded,[6] in 2009 EWS, along with DB's other freight organisations including Railion were re-branded as DB Schenker.[7]



English, Welsh and Scottish Railway

Class 66 with coal wagons (2011)

The English Welsh and Scottish Railway, originally formed as North and South Railways[8] was created by a consortium headed by the US railway Wisconsin Central with additional financing provided by the financial sector,[9] including Berkshire Partners and Fay Richwhite.[10] The company acquired most of the rail freight operations of British Rail with the exception of Freightliner 1995 Ltd which was privatised in a management buyout.[11]

Rail Express Systems was acquired on 9 December 1995 for £24 million[12][13] With the acquisition EWS as acquired the contract for the Royal Mail train service, including the Travelling Post Office trains; the contract was one of the most profitable obtained by the company.[9]

On 24 February British Rail's three trainload freight companies Loadhaul Ltd., Mainline Freight Ltd. and Transrail Freight Ltd. were acquired for a total of £225 million by North and South Railways (EWS).[12][13] The four companies acquired were all merged into English Welsh and Scottish Railway.[14]

On 22 November 1997 EWS took over Railfreight Distribution, a loss making business - for which it received grants and subsidies estimated to amount to 242 million over 8 years,[15] which included subsidies for the use of the Channel Tunnel and a sum of £33million paid to EWS covering the acquisition of a loss making business.[16] Railfreight Distribution's businesses included international containerised freight, movement of cars and automotive components by rail, and freight services for the Ministry of Defence. The company had a 150 locomotives including the specialised Class 92 locomotives for the Channel Tunnel. At the time of sale it was making a yearly loss of ~£65 million.[15] Railfreight Distribution is renamed English Welsh and Scottish Railway International Ltd. on 1 December 1998.[14]

The new company had over 900 locomotives and 19,000 freight wagons, and 7,000 employees. Track access charges were renegotiated and after 1800 job redundancies the workers involved in profit sharing and other incentivised working plans; as a result shipping rates were reduced by over 30%.[17] Many locomotives inherited on foundation were considered unreliable, and expensive to maintain;[18] the company invested heavily in modernisation of its rolling stock; by 2002 £750 million had been invested,[19] including 280 new locomotives and over 2000 new wagons.[9]

EWS's services included mail, locomotive hire, waggonload traffic (branded 'Enterprise'), cross channel trains via the Channel Tunnel, trainload freight including oil, aggregates, cement and traffic related to the coal, electricity generation and steel industries, and infrastructure trains for Railtrack.[9] Additionally, in the decade following privatisation EWS began to compete for container traffic contracts,[note 1] and its competitor Freightliner Group also entered into competition for trainload freight, as did DRS (a subsidiary of British Nuclear Fuels) which was initially set up to move radioactive materials by rail.[9] EWS's turnover in 1999 was £533.7 million (a 80% market share by value) with a profit of £32.8 million.[9]

National Power who had operated trains for their power stations under the open access regulations had their train operations acquired by EWS in 1998.[9]

In 2001 the Canadian National Railway (CN) bought Wisconsin Central Transportation Corporation for its North American holdings (Wisconsin Central Ltd.) and so became a major shareholder (42.5%) of EWS; the company announced its intentions to divest itself of Wisconsin Central's foreign holdings.[20]

The contract with Royal Mail was lost in 2003 (switching to road transport), due to cost.[21] The French rail freight subsidiary Euro Cargo Rail was founded in 2005.

By 2006 EWS's turnover was approaching £1 billion, whilst profit was £14 million.[22]

DB Schenker Rail (UK) Ltd.

Class 59 at National Railway Museum, York at DB Schenker livery unveiling (Jan 2009)

On 28 June 2007, it was announced at a press conference held by Deutsche Bahn (DB), EWS and Spanish rail forwarder Transfesa that DB was to acquire all the shares in EWS as soon as contracts were signed.[5] The value of the deal was estimated at £300 million; at the time EWS had a market share of ~70% in the United Kingdom and ~5000 employees.[23]

Initially it was announced that EWS would not be rebranded,[6] but on 1 January 2009 EWS, DB's existing Freight organisation Railion and their freight logistics organisation DB Schenker were re-branded DB Schenker.[24]

As part of a formal launch of the new brand,[note 2] a Class 59 locomotive 59206 was unveiled in full DB Schenker branding at a ceremony at the National Railway Museum in York on 21 January 2009.[26]

In 2009 DB Schenker Rail began work to enable Class 92 hauled trains to operate freight services on the High Speed 1 by installing in cab TVM signalling. The project received funding from the European Commission and it was anticipated services will begin in early 2010.[27] The first test run took place in March 2011,[28] and a loaded freight train ran in May 2011.[29]

See also


  1. ^ "Edward A. Burkhardt". www.railword.com. http://www.railworld.com.ua/component/content/article/9. Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Don Phillips (25 August 2005). "Free Flow: Getting the French on board". www.nytimes.com. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/24/business/worldbusiness/24iht-transcol25.html. 
  3. ^ "Keith Heller's contribution to the railway honoured with locomotive naming". www.rail.dbschenker.co.uk. DB Schenker UK. 19 January 2010. http://www.rail.dbschenker.co.uk/cmsnews/news_article.asp?guid={2D36A215-B18C-4550-82CC-E37E434F1554}%3Cbr%20/%3E. 
  4. ^ "Alain Thauvette , Member of the Management Board of DB Schenker Rail (Region West)". www.dbschenker.com. http://www.dbschenker.com/site/logistics/dbschenker/com/en/business__unit__rail/executive__board/thauvette__alain.html. Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Deutsche Bahn plans takeover of EWS and Transfesa". Deutsche Bahn. 2007-06-28. Archived from the original on 5 July 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070705181810/http://www.db.de/site/bahn/en/db__group/press/press__information/db__group/070628__acquisition.html. Retrieved 2007-06-28. 
  6. ^ a b Falkner, James (2007-06-29). "DB gets go-ahead for rail takeovers". International Freighting Weekly. http://www.ifw-net.com/freightpubs/ifw/indexarticle.htm?artid=1182561242956. Retrieved 2007-06-30. 
  7. ^ "EWS to rebrand as DB Schenker in new year". ifw-net.com. http://www.ifw-net.com/freightpubs/ifw/indexarticle.htm?artid=20017601082&src=ticker. 
  8. ^ Lousie Butcher (18 March 2011). "Railways: privatisation, 1987-1996". www.parliament.uk. House of Commons Library. p. 13. http://www.parliament.uk/Templates/BriefingPapers/Pages/BPPdfDownload.aspx?bp-id=SN01157. Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g C. Nash; T. Fowkes (2004). "Rail Privatisation in Britain - Lessons for the Rail Feight Industry". In European Conference of Ministers of Transport. Economic Research Centre. European integration of rail freight transport (Round Table 125). OECD Publishing. pp. 61–94. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=YZCeTMFgZF0C&lpg=PP1&pg=PA63#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  10. ^ "North & South Railways Ltd acquires Rail Express Systems(UK)". www.alacrastore.com. Thomson Reuters. 8 December 1995. http://www.alacrastore.com/storecontent/Thomson_M&A/North_South_Railways_Ltd_acquires_Rail_Express_Systems_UK-522747040. 
  11. ^ "History". www.freightliner.co.uk. Freightliner Group Ltd. 1996. http://www.freightliner.co.uk/en/about-us/history/. Retrieved 6 July 2011. ""1999 : Freightliner was privatised through a management buyout" 
  12. ^ a b "The Sale of Rail Freight Distribution". Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions / National Audit Office. 26 March 1999. p. 2. http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc9899/hc02/0280/0280.pdf. 
  13. ^ a b "Rail Privatisation". hansard.millbanksystems.com. Hansard, House of Commons, UK. 27 December 1996. volume 296, 275W. http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/written_answers/1996/nov/27/rail-privatisation. 
  14. ^ a b c Philippe Thalmann (2004). The dynamics of freight transport development: a UK and Swiss comparison. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.. pp. 34–36. ISBN 0 7546 3756 5. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=hFDrKNKmJ8UC. 
  15. ^ a b "The Sale of Rail Freight Distribution". Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions / National Audit Office. 26 March 1999. http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc9899/hc02/0280/0280.pdf. 
  16. ^ Mathew Horsman (26 December 1996). "BR prefers US firm as freight bidder". www.independent.co.uk. The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/br-prefers-us-firm-as-freight-bidder-1316014.html. 
  17. ^ Jay P. Pederson, ed (1999). "Wisconsin Central Transportation Corporation". International Directory of Company Histories. 24. St. James Press. http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/Wisconsin-Central-Transportation-Corporation-Company-History.html. 
  18. ^ Brian Hollingsworth (2000). "Class 66 Co-Co freight locomotive". Illustrated Directory of Trains of the World. MBI Publishing Company. p. 468. ISBN 0-7603-0891-8. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=xpuDHyry6TEC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA468#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  19. ^ House of Commons. Transport Committee, ed (2003). "Mr Graham Smith, Planning Director and Mr Allen Mardsen, English Welsh & Scottish Railway (EWS) examined". Ports: Oral and written evidence. The Stationery Office. pp. EV 16 - EV 18. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=MXRaLBLnwwcC. 
  20. ^ Nisse, Jason (4 February 2001). "EWS shunted into siding". The Independent (London). http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/ews-shunted-into-siding-690102.html. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  21. ^ Alan Jones (6 June 2003). "Royal Mail switches post transport from rail to road and air". www.independent.co.uk (The Independent). http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/royal-mail-switches-post--transport-from-rail-to-road-and-air-745287.html. 
  22. ^ House of Commons: Transport Committee, ed (2008). Freight transport: eighth report of session 2007-08. The Stationery Office. p. EV 80. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=FCcBalMesw0C. 
  23. ^ Alistair Osborne (29 June 2007). "German rail giant confirms £300m deal for EWS shares". www.telegraph.co.uk (The Telegraph). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/markets/2811265/German-rail-giant-confirms-300m-deal-for-EWS-shares.html. 
  24. ^ "EWS to rebrand as DB Schenker in new year". ifw-net.com. December 17, 2008. http://www.ifw-net.com/freightpubs/ifw/indexarticle.htm?artid=20017601082&src=ticker. Retrieved 15 October 2010. 
  25. ^ "Media Center". https://www.teenagecancertrust.org/articles/news-view.php?Id=933. Retrieved 15 October 2010. 
  26. ^ DB Schenker unveils new look for UK rail freight at the National Railway Museum, York. . www.rail.dbschenker.co.uk (DB Schenker). 21 January 2009. http://www.rail.dbschenker.co.uk/press/news_210109.html. 
  27. ^ Sources:
    "Class 92 modifications for HS1 freight". Railway Herald (179): 3. 1 June 2009. http://www.railwayherald.org/magazine/pdf/RHUK/Issue179HIGH.pdf. 
    "Freight trains set to use High Speed 1". DB Schenker Rail. 16 April 2009. http://www.rail.dbschenker.co.uk/cmsnews/news_article.asp?src=h&guid={A5CBB8C1-9533-46CA-9F55-514A7A9F2F4D}. 
  28. ^ A. Samuel (28 March 2011). "DB Schenker Rail plans to operate European sized freight trains on High Speed 1". www.rail.co. Rail.co. http://www.rail.co/2011/03/28/db-schenker-rail-plans-to-operate-european-sized-freight-trains-on-high-speed-1/. 
  29. ^ "First freight on High Speed 1". www.railwaygazette.com. Railway Gazette International. 27 May 2011. http://www.railwaygazette.com/nc/news/single-view/view/first-freight-on-high-speed-1.html. 


  1. ^ After 2002 began intermodal services from the ports of Felixstowe, Southhampton, and Tilbury.[14]
  2. ^ Previously two EWS locomotives had received DB Schenker branding - including a light blue Class 60 named "Teenage Cancer Trust"[25]

Further reading

  • Sutton, Philip (August 2007). "Burkhardt on EWS". Rail Express 135: 32–37. 

External links

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