Introduced nearly a decade ago, the FWA Ecofrets being produced by Revolution in both 00 and N are now in use with three intermodal operators – Freightliner, GBRf and DB, and can be seen across the network.
Freightliner’s VTG green twin sets – sometimes referred to as ‘Shortliners’ – are primarily used on traffic from Southampton on traffic to the midlands and north-west England and Scotland, but can also be seen in south Wales.
DB operates an extensive network of intermodal trains between ports at Southampton, London Gateway, Liverpool and Felixtowe and terminals at Birch Coppice (Tamworth), Trafford Park (Manchester), Wakefield Europort and the newly opened East Midlands Gateway. Observations suggest the DB Ecofrets are focussed on the services between services between Southampton, Birmingham and Manchester.
In 2019 DB entered into an agreement with the logistics company Maritime to share the operation of intermodal trains. A new terminal has been opened at East Midlands Gateway, near Kegworth in Leicestershire, and six Class 66 locomotives have been repainted into Maritime’s attractive blue livery.
GBRf use FWA triple sets of their own and hired from VTG, all in dark blue livery. The VTG-owned versions carry the ‘Ecofret’ branding in large lettering on the upper surface of the decks. GBRf intermodal trains link the ports at Felixtowe, Southampton, Liverpool and London Gateway with terminals at Hams Hall (Birmingham), Birch Coppice, Doncaster iPort, Masborough (Rotherham), Trafford Park and East Midlands Gateway.
The diagram below shows a selection of sample consists indicating how Ecofrets can be mixed with other intermodal wagons for authentic formations on your layout, along with a map showing their primary routes. With the exception of the DB FCAs and FKAs all types are available or known to be under development in both 00 and N gauge.
Revolution is offering its Ecofrets in liveries as used by Freightliner, DB and GBRf to offer maximum variety to modellers’ intermodal trains. The order book has closed on the N gauge versions and they are in production now, though some will be available from retailers once they are shipped. The order book will remain open for the 00 versions for a short period longer.