Carving out a niche

Having held an operating licence for less than 18 months, Chris Milner catches up with the Rail Operations Group, which has created a niche business moving rolling stock for repair and refurbishment.

On July 2, ex-works Class 37 No. 37800 is seen just to the south of Wellingborough with the 5Q58 04.40 Derby Litchurch Lane-Ramsgate unit move, hauling Southeastern ‘Electrostar’ No. 375706. RICHARD GENNIS
On July 2, ex-works Class 37 No. 37800 is seen just to the south of Wellingborough with the 5Q58 04.40 Derby Litchurch Lane-Ramsgate unit move, hauling Southeastern ‘Electrostar’ No. 375706. RICHARD GENNIS

During2015, there became a noticeable increase in the number of empty stock trains moving around the network for repair, refurbishment, or to be placed in store, carrying a ‘Rail Operations Group’ headboard.

Just who the Rail Operations Group (ROG) was became apparent back in January when I first met managing director Karl Watts during a visit to Leicester MPD. The depot is operated by UK Rail Leasing, but inside the depot was Type 3
No. 37800, being refurbished for mainline use. Outside was Europhoenix-owned classmate No. 37884, which had been ROG’s main loco since it was granted an operating licence some months earlier. Clearly, Karl had plans for ROG.

The company was formed three years ago (2013) as a provider of specialist train operator services. It had desires to be a train operator, but at that time lacked money and expertise.

To build up the business, the company offered the industry a variety of services, including driver hire, driver training, management training, safety courses, and consultancy services, with an emphasis on operations.

Read more in September’s edition of The RM

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