trucking

This is why ew Sheffield railhead is trucking boss’s crown achievement

It saw total victory for the Sheffield haulier, which grew with the popularity of road transport, while the giant rail depot withered with the decline of the steel industry and died.

But the story has a twist.

For the trucking firm has just spent £3m reviving the railhead. And co-founder Frank Newell say it’s his crowning achievement.

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Tinsley Marshalling Yards circa 1965. It had 32 marshalling lanes.Tinsley Marshalling Yards circa 1965. It had 32 marshalling lanes.

Tinsley Marshalling Yards circa 1965. It had 32 marshalling lanes.

Over just seven weeks earlier this year, the company laid out three acres of concrete and 700 yards of track and reconnected the yard to the rail network.

Today it is home to more than 800 shipping containers and receives two 34-wagon freight trains a day from the port of Felixstowe.

The service saves up to 400,000 road miles a week, cutting lorry pollution and congestion, and is already close to its 1,000 container capacity.

Frank, aged 69, said its popularity was a relief.

Frank Newell. Picture Scott MerryleesFrank Newell. Picture Scott Merrylees
Frank Newell. Picture Scott Merrylees

“It was a very big commitment for us as a family business. I’ve been in business for 50 years and have always taken educated gambles. You get to the stage where you have to play forward and do it.

“It’s the best thing I have done. I’m so proud of what we have achieved.”

A mechanic by trade, his youngest son, Anthony, aged 17, is employed in the workshop ‘on the spanners’ learning lorry maintenance.

Sons Stephen, 43, and John, 49, also worked their way up.

The site can store 1,000 containers.The site can store 1,000 containers.
The site can store 1,000 containers.

Frank added: “Going through the ranks gives them a good insight.”

He started with one lorry in 1971 and, with Paul Wright, built the firm into a £50m-a-year business that employs 300.

It is one of just a handful of road hauliers that have moved into rail and Tinsley is the only operation of its type in South Yorkshire, it is claimed.

Stephen said growing concerns about climate change led the firm to move fast.

Unloading the train with a £500,000 box stacker.Unloading the train with a £500,000 box stacker.
Unloading the train with a £500,000 box stacker.

“You have to be careful you don’t get left behind,” he added.

Containers are mostly from China and India and hold everything from patio slabs to clothing to car parts. But they do not have high value items like iPhones or ‘high consequence products’ like fireworks.

About 55 can fit on a train and they are unloaded by four £500,000 ‘box stackers’, including one which runs on hydrogenated vegetable oil, a green fuel.

Containers are taken to their final destination by lorry, some 80 a day in a 24-hour operation.

Stephen said they had used local suppliers, with concrete from Cemex in Attercliffe, reinforcing from BRC in Barnsley and ballast from Aggregate Industries’ quarry in Buxton.

The site is owned by Network Rail and leased to Newell & Wright for 35 years, with a reduction on rent because it is a brownfield site, he added.

Aerial view of Tinsley Marshalling Yards, Sheffield, December 1987.Aerial view of Tinsley Marshalling Yards, Sheffield, December 1987.
Aerial view of Tinsley Marshalling Yards, Sheffield, December 1987.

Its success meant they planned to add two more services, with freight trainers from Southampton and London Gateway on the Suffolk coast.

A second phase of expansion could see a similar-sized platform and storage area built to the south, closer to the bridge over the Parkway, near Junction 33 of the M1.

A third phase could use land to the north, close to two large warehouses that were built on what was the widest part of the marshalling yard.

In 1961, a tenth of the rail-borne freight in Britain originated in the Sheffield district. Tinsley Marshalling Yard was opened by the infamous Dr Richard Beeching in 1965 to serve the steel industry. At its height it handled 200 locomotives and 3,000 wagons a day.

But within a few short years it was hit by competition from road and closed in stages from 1985.

Duncan Clark, of Newell and Wright, said part of the site was cut out of rock and part was electrified, receiving electric trains from Manchester that came through the now closed Woodhead tunnel.

The yard was disused and disconnected from the rail network when Newell and Wright took it on. A new link was laid to the north connecting to a local line near Shepcote junction and then on to Rotherham station, Doncaster and the East Coast Mainline.

The company hopes to connect the site from the south providing a simpler and more direct route into the network, he added.

Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts said the company’s achievement was ‘fantastic’ and he would speak to the mayor of South Yorkshire and Department of Transport about providing financial backing.

He added: “I think what they have done is incredible and what they want to do is fantastic. It’s really rising to the climate challenge.

“I will be speaking to the mayor about how we can engage, this is a really important part of local infrastructure and should benefit a lot of firms.

“It’s also of national significance and I’ll be speaking to the Department of Transport about providing some sort of financial backing and support.

“There have been various plans over the years to reopen the yard but these guys have done it.”

Kevin Newman, senior route freight manager for Network Rail, hailed the site as part of the ‘vital role that freight has played in the country’s response to the Covid pandemic and how important it is to the recovery of the economy’.

“Reopening routes, expanding services and gaining new freight customers, as well as running longer, heavier trains, is helping to get more HGVs off the road.”

Newell & Wright Transport was formed in 1974 by Frank Newell and Paul Wright. At that time it was a ‘very small general haulage company’ operating from rented premises.

Over the years it grew and moved to larger sites three times before setting up, in 1987, on its current 6.5 acre freehold site at Tinsley.

Local journalism holds the powerful to account and gives people a voice. Please take out a digital subscription[1] or buy a paper.

Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.

A freight train from the port of Felixstowe arrives at Tinsley Marshalling Yard. Picture Scott MerryleesA freight train from the port of Felixstowe arrives at Tinsley Marshalling Yard. Picture Scott Merrylees
A freight train from the port of Felixstowe arrives at Tinsley Marshalling Yard. Picture Scott Merrylees
Three acres of concrete were laid to make the site.Three acres of concrete were laid to make the site.
Three acres of concrete were laid to make the site.
Frank Newell at Tinsley Marshalling Yards.Frank Newell at Tinsley Marshalling Yards.
Frank Newell at Tinsley Marshalling Yards.
From left: MP Clive Betts and Stephen and Frank Newell have their picture taken as a train arrives.From left: MP Clive Betts and Stephen and Frank Newell have their picture taken as a train arrives.
From left: MP Clive Betts and Stephen and Frank Newell have their picture taken as a train arrives.

References

  1. ^ digital subscription (www.thestar.co.uk)

‘I’m no hero’, says M62 trucker who helped save man on motorway

The truck driver hailed a hero[1] after parking his vehicle under a bridge on the M62[2] to stop a man from jumping has said ‘I’m not the hero of this story’.

Tom Birkett, 35, received praise from across the nation[3] after a picture showing his truck trailer parked directly underneath the man sat on the edge of the bridge went viral.

The man’s mother, who did not wish to be named, has since spoken out to let Tom know how grateful she is[4] as she is convinced he saved her son, who had been struggling with his mental health. She also said that he is now receiving help.

But Tom’s refuses to believe he is a hero, instead praising the police for the way they handled the situation.

READ MORE: Greater Manchester’s latest coronavirus infection rates[5]

Speaking to Leeds Live[6], the husband and father of three said: “All I did was park the truck under the bridge.

“This is something that the police and charities are deal with. I got an opportunity to do my little bit but it was 0.01 per cent of what other people did.

“I basically figured out something I could do, I did my good deed for the day. The police are the ones that saved him.

“I’m not the hero of this story, I’m happy with being called a Good Samaritan.”

Recalling how the events unfolded, Tom said spotted three people on the bridge from a distance and felt that “something was not right”.

As he got closer, he noticed that one person was on the wrong side of the bars and saw his legs dangling off the bridge.

Tom, from Kendal, Cumbria, quickly moved into the hard shoulder and put on his hazard lights to alert other road users.

After parking the trailer which has a soft top, he let officers who were at the scene know what he had done.

Helplines and websites

Samaritans (116 123) samaritans.org operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at [email protected][7] , write to Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA and visit www.samaritans.org/branches to find your nearest branch.

For support for people feeling suicidal, if you are concerned about someone or if you are bereaved by suicide see http://shiningalightonsuicide.org.uk[8]

CALM (0800 58 58 58) thecalmzone.net has a helpline is for men who are down or have hit a wall for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support. They’re open 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year.

Greater Manchester Bereavement Service Greater Manchester Bereavement Service can help to find support for anyone in Greater Manchester that has been bereaved or affected by a death. No one needs to feel alone as they deal with their grief. www.greater-manchester-bereavement-service.org.uk[9]

Childline (0800 1111 ) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.

PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.

Beat Eating Disorders: Beat provides helplines for adults and young people offering support and information about eating disorders. These helplines are free to call from all phones. Adult Helpline: 0808 801 0677, Studentline: 0808 801 0811, Youthline: 0808 801 0711. www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk[10]

Anorexia & Bulimia Care: ABC provide on-going care, emotional support and practical guidance for anyone affected by eating disorders, those struggling personally and parents, families and friends. Helpline: 03000 11 12 13. www.anorexiabulimiacare.org.uk/[11]

Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts. Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying studentsagainstdepression.org[12]

For information and links to charities and organisations that can help with substance abuse, visit https://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/drugs/[13]

Tom, who was speaking to his friend on the phone during his journey on Junction 9 on the M62, said: “I clocked him, I had seen something not right from a distance, obviously as a truck driver you’re looking way ahead of everyone else.

“I had seen three people on the bridge and I just knew something didn’t seem right. Something seemed off, the spacing of the people – you see truck spotters on bridges.

“As I was getting closer. I saw the person in the middle on the wrong side of the bars sat down with legs dangling on the motorway. The two police on the other side, that’s what I could see. I just said to my mate, I think he’s going to jump, I’m going to have to go.

“I just did what I did.

“That was it, I walked up to the other side of the embankment and told the officers what I had done.

“I was sat for two hours just talking to the police.”

Asked if he had a message for the man, Tom, who runs a Trucking YouTube page called Except for Access[14], added: “All I can say is I wish him the best and he gets through it.

“I’ve never quite been as bad as the position he was in but I know that helplessness though. Many people have felt that helplessness but not many people like to admit it.”

References

  1. ^ hailed a hero (www.leeds-live.co.uk)
  2. ^ M62 (www.leeds-live.co.uk)
  3. ^ praise from across the nation (www.leeds-live.co.uk)
  4. ^ how grateful she is (www.examinerlive.co.uk)
  5. ^ Greater Manchester’s latest coronavirus infection rates (www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk)
  6. ^ Leeds Live (www.leeds-live.co.uk)
  7. ^ [email protected] (www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk)
  8. ^ http://shiningalightonsuicide.org.uk (t.co)
  9. ^ www.greater-manchester-bereavement-service.org.uk (www.greater-manchester-bereavement-service.org.uk)
  10. ^ www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk (www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk)
  11. ^ www.anorexiabulimiacare.org.uk/ (www.anorexiabulimiacare.org.uk)
  12. ^ studentsagainstdepression.org (www.google.com)
  13. ^ https://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/drugs/ (www.supportline.org.uk)
  14. ^ Except for Access (www.youtube.com)