Model Rail (UK) - - Railreight at 30 -

Un­like the other four sec­tors, RFD was not ded­i­cated to bulk or ‘Train­load’ haulage. Rfd’s fleet in­cluded diesels and electrics for the di­verse Speedlink wag­onload and Freight­liner in­ter­modal net­works which cov­ered much of the coun­try. In late 1988, the fleet com­prised 101 Class 47s, 34 Class 37s and 29 Class 31s, the ma­jor­ity of which were based at Tins­ley de­pot in Sh­effield. This fleet cov­ered RFD trains rang­ing across the net­work from In­ver­ness to Dover, con­vey­ing any­thing from min­eral water to am­mu­ni­tion and ar­moured ve­hi­cles for the Min­istry of De­fence. For a few years in the late 1980s and early 1990s, RFD em­ployed slim­line Class 33/2s to shunt the Dover train ferry (in­ter­na­tional wag­onload freight also came un­der its re­mit), re­painted in the sec­tor’s colours.

Cor­nish china clay traf­fic was also part of Rfd’s op­er­a­tion, with St Blazey’s 37673 be­ing one of the first lo­co­mo­tives to be

given the new liv­ery in Oc­to­ber 1987. Seven Class 37/5s were al­lo­cated to Ply­mouth Laira for this traf­fic, sup­ported from 1991 by Class 37/4s. Class 86/6s and Class 90s were largely em­ployed on West Coast Main Line con­tainer ser­vices (and also via the North Lon­don Line to Ip­swich). To re­flect in­creas­ing fo­cus on in­ter­na­tional freight with the open­ing of the Chan­nel Tun­nel, RFD in­tro­duced a mod­i­fied liv­ery known as ‘RFD Euro­pean’ in 1993, re­tain­ing the sec­tor sym­bols but fea­tur­ing a deeper dark grey band and a dark blue roof. This liv­ery was ap­plied mainly to Class 47s, but also to a few Class 08s, 86s and 90s. In the run-up to pri­vati­sa­tion, the wag­onload and Freight­liner in­ter­modal arms of RFD were sep­a­rated, and the fleet split. Freight­liner re­tained the Rail­freight grey liv­ery un­til 1997, adding its own red lo­gos and let­ter­ing in place of the sec­tor sym­bols.

Class 90 90039 in orig­i­nal style Rail­freight Dis­tri­bu­tion liv­ery at Eus­ton on May 12 1990. D. PYE/ COLOUR RAIL

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