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EWS (English Welsh & Scottish Railway Ltd) was launched in February 1996 after the company acquired four divisions of British Rail's rail freight operations - Rail Express Systems, Loadhaul, Transrail Freight and Mainline Freight. This was followed the purchase of the National Power Rail Unit and British Rail's European division - Railfreight Distribution.
These divisions were merged to form EWS, a company that was able to provide customers with a nationwide and European network of rail freight services, engineering support and services to the rail industry. All these companies were branded EWS, apart from Railfreight Distribution was branded EWS International.
Following the purchase of these rail freight divisions, EWS began a major £500 million investment programme. This saw the company invest in, and develop with General Motors, a new innovative generation of rail freight diesel locomotive - the class 66. The class 66 has provided EWS services with exceptional levels of performance and other operators have followed EWS by ordering this locomotive, making the class 66 the diesel freight locomotive of choice across Europe. EWS has 250 of these locomotives and they form the backbone of the company's locomotive fleet.
EWS also worked with General Motors to develop a new high-speed freight locomotive, which became the class 67. This is the first freight locomotive in Britain to travel at a maximum speed of 125mph and EWS invested in 30 of these locomotives.
At the same time, EWS placed a major order for 2,500 new wagons from US wagon builder Thrall. Half of these wagons were new high capacity coal wagons, which have enabled EWS to haul greater quantities of coal per train than ever before.
Since 1996, EWS has strongly marketed its nationwide service abilities and has successfully played a major role in growing rail freight in Britain. This has increased by over 50% since 1996, and rail currently has a 11% market share of all land hauled freight in Britain. Traffic volumes continue to grow and new markets are continually being won to rail by EWS, including fast moving consumer goods.
EWS offers customers with a superior level of service in Britain, and aims to be the leading rail operator in Europe.
“11% market share of all land hauled freight in Britain”