The Anonymous Widower

Varamis Plans Electric Freight To Carry Light Goods

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in Issue 902 of Rail Magazine.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Freight trains using electric multiple units could be operating on the East Coast Main Line by the end of the year, in plans unveiled by Varamis Rail.

This is their promotional video.

From the video and the Rail Magazine article, the following can be ascertained.

The Route

From the video, the basic route is circular and the concept is explained in the article, by Phil Read; the Managing Director of Varamis Rail.

Our vision is to create a circular network around the UK via both the East Coast Main Line and West Coast Main Line, with a stop/go method of service delivery serving major towns and cities en route.

And we could move goods in both directions.

Longer term, there could be extensions to Bristol and South Wales and into East Anglia.


  1. From the video is looks like the main loop will start and finish in London.
  2. Trains on the main loop will call at Doncaster, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Carlisle, Manchester and Birmingham.
  3. Varamis have said they will stick to electrified lines.

I like the concept of the route.

  • It covers a lot of the country.
  • It can be easily extended.
  • Extra stops could be easily added. Darlington, Leeds, Peterborough, Preston and Reading come to mind.

With dual-voltage trains, it could even be extended South of London.

The Trains And The Organisation

Varamis are certainly looking to keep the operation efficient and low-cost. This is said about the trains.

The plan is to remove all the internal furnishings in the umits we lease utilise them without altering any of the loading or dynamic characteristics that the trains had when formerly used as passenger trains. I’m in discussions with rolling stock leasing companies and the DfT at present to lease the trains.

The DfT owns all 40 Class 365 trains.

In addition, the following is said.

  • Maintenance would be outsourced, with one of two likely companies.
  • Operations Director will be appointed soon.
  • Company headquarters would be in Doncaster.
  • Varamis will employ all their own staff, including drivers, fitters and logistics operators.

A small point is that Phil Read has worked for the Rail Operations Group.

Class 365 Trains

Class 365 trains have the following characteristics.

  • Four cars
  • Up to three trains can be coupled together.
  • 100 mph operating speed.
  • Two pairs of wide double doors on the side of each car.
  • They are not a train with a reputation for unreliability.

This is a picture of a Class 365 train.


  1. They could probably be converted to dual-voltage, by adding third-rail gear.
  2. The trains could probably be made available at short-notice.

The company talks about an end-on cross-transfer system at their hubs, where goods can be moved through the train.

I will be interested to see what this means, but I suspect it will give a quick and easy transfer of pallets of goods between trains and the trucks doing the local delivery.

Green Logistics

Varamis are marketing their services as Green Logistics.


As someone, who needed this sort of system in the early days of Metier to distribute new copies of the Artemis software, I think the service will fulfil a large need.

I said earlier that I like the concept of the route.

But thinking about it more, I suspect it can be very easily extended.

  • Brighton, Portsmouth and Southampton could be served by dual-voltage trains.
  • Could for instance a hub in Edinburgh, distribute pallets and parcels to and from the North of Scotland?
  • Could bi-mode trains serve the towns and cities on the Midland Main Line?
  • A connection to Heathrow would be very valuable.

A large proportion of the country could be connected.

If it existed now, would it help in the fight against COVID-19?


April 6, 2020 - Posted by | Transport | , , ,


  1. So goods sidings and local delivery – why didn’t anyone think of that before?

    Comment by R. Mark Clayton | April 6, 2020 | Reply

  2. I wonder if Varamis will be participating in one of the pallet exchange delivery networks, providing the long leg.

    Comment by MilesT | April 7, 2020 | Reply

  3. […] At the time of writing there are nineteen Class 365 trains in storage, which could release 38 trailer cars. However, Varamis Rail may need some of these trains for their proposed parcel business, that I wrote about in Varamis Plans Electric Freight To Carry Light Goods. […]

    Pingback by Shuffling The Class 165 Trains « The Anonymous Widower | April 23, 2020 | Reply

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