Rail freight operator DB Cargo UK is working with Axiom Rail and WH Davis to convert 110 HTA coal hoppers into new state of the art HRA aggregate hopper wagons. This significant investment demonstrates DB Cargo UK's commitment to the aggregates industry and plans for future growth in the sector.
During the conversion one of the coal hopper bays is removed, reducing the length of the wagon by 20% of its original size from 17.757 meters to 14.347 meters. Despite the reduction in length, the gross weight each wagon can carry remains the same at 101.6 tonnes. This allows more wagons to be transported per train, increasing the potential payload tonnage of the train by 447 tonnes for the same length (based on a 22 HTA wagon set and a 27 HRA wagon set).
The expertly engineered conversions are being carried out at both the Axiom Rail site in Stoke and the WH Davis site in Mansfield following the conclusion of a successful five month trial of wagon 41 70 6723 001-7. The prototype HRA wagon ran in full service carrying aggregates from Peak Forest to Salford Hope Street.
DB Cargo UK has committed to re-engineering an initial 110 wagons and plans to have them in full service by Q3 2018.
Jonathan Lowden, Head of Rolling Stock at DB Cargo UK, said: "As we all know, the demand for coal transportation has decreased significantly in recent years and DB Cargo UK had a large fleet of HTA coal hopper wagons. To find a future use for our assets in an alternative market, our production team at DB Cargo UK worked in collaboration with Axiom Rail and WH Davis to find a solution to convert these wagons to class leading aggregate hoppers.
"We are extremely proud of the outcome, the new HRA aggregate wagons will be used up and down the country to transport aggregates on behalf of our customers. They provide an efficient solution too by increasing the tonnage of product moved per train."