Power station rail project named as best in class

A project which built specially-designed freight wagons to carry millions of tonnes of biomass a year to the UK’s biggest power station and breathed new life into a disused rail yard has been hailed as the best in the industry.

The partnership between Drax Power Station, near Selby, in North Yorkshire and Davis Wagon Services saw a new fleet of freight wagons designed and built to deliver the biomass needed to produce renewable electricity for millions of homes.

It also enabled Davis Wagon Services, a North Lincolnshire-based rail firm, to invest £850,000 in revamping a mothballed Ferrybridge rail yard as a dedicated site to rebrand and maintain the power station’s fleet of 225 unique freight wagons, securing local jobs in the process.

Now, the programme has been named as the ‘Project of the Year’ by industry body the Rail Freight Group in recognition of the innovation involved in the work by Drax and Davis Wagon Services, the UK’s last independent freight wagon manufacturer.

The wagons, which transport biomass from ports on the east and west coasts of the UK to Drax, are maintained at the newly re-opened Ferrybridge yard, just over 20 miles away from the power station.

John Hall, MD of Davis Wagon Services, said:

“This is a monumental achievement for us and to be recognised in this way for the work we’ve done is incredible. We couldn’t have done it without the support of Drax.

“There are so many outstanding projects in our industry, and so to be singled out like this is a huge compliment to everyone who worked on the project.”

Drax Power CEO Andy Koss said:

“This was an important project for us and I’m delighted that the innovation and hard work of everyone involved has been recognised in this way.

“These trains deliver up to 20,000 tonnes of biomass every day to the power station playing a vital part in supplying renewable power to millions of homes and businesses. Furthermore, the project has helped support a local business and revitalise a disused facility within the Northern Powerhouse region, which we’re very proud to be a part of.”

The rail project – described as a ‘Northern Powerhouse success story’ in July by government minister Jake Berry – began in 2011 when Drax appointed Davis, along with Lloyds Register Rail (Ricardo) to design and develop bespoke rail wagons to ferry biomass to the power station, the largest decarbonisation project in Europe.

It also saw Davis take on the work to maintain the 225 wagons and the firm will also now re-brand each one over the next two years in new livery featuring both Drax and the Northern Powerhouse logos.


Media contacts:

Ali Lewis
Drax Group Interim Head of Media & PR
E: [email protected]
T: 07712670888

Mark Duffell
MCD Communications Ltd
E: [email protected]
T: 01484968238
M: 07969080272

Editor’s Notes

  • The majority of the biomass Drax uses comes from North America and Europe on ships to ports on the east and west coasts of the UK (Immingham, Hull, Port of Tyne and Liverpool). It is then taken to the power station from the ports by rail.
  • Drax has an average of 17 biomass trains arriving at the power station per day (over a six-day working week) in order to supply the pellets needed to generate and supply 15 per cent of the UK’s renewable electricity.
  • Each train contains sufficient fuel to provide 815 houses in the UK with enough electricity for a year.
  • The fuel is transported to Drax via rail rather than road, to further reduce carbon emissions, as it is more efficient than road transportation. Using rail saves approximately 270,000 truck journeys per year and is estimated to save 32,622.50 tonnes of C02 per year
  • Independent research by Oxford Economics using 2016 data showed that Drax supported over 18,500 jobs across the country – more than 6,000 of which were across the North of England (Yorkshire and Humber, North West and North East). In addition Drax generated £577m for the Northern Powerhouse regional economy and £1.7 billion for the whole of the UK.

About Drax

Drax Group plc plays a vital role in helping change the way energy is generated, supplied and used. Its 2,300-strong staff operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production.

The Group includes:

Drax Power Ltd, which operates the largest power station in the UK, based at Selby, North Yorkshire and supplies six percent of the country’s electricity needs. The energy firm converted from burning coal to become a predominantly biomass-fuelled electricity generator. Drax is the biggest single site renewable generator in the UK and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe.

Haven Power, based in Ipswich, supplies electricity to large Industrial and Commercial sector businesses.

Opus Energy, based in Oxford, Northampton and Cardiff, provides electricity and gas to small and medium sized (SME) businesses.

Drax Biomass, is based in the US and manufactures compressed wood pellets produced from sustainably managed working forests, supplying fuel used by Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses.

For more information visit www.drax.com/uk