Live lobsters are taking the train today, as the Great Western Railway teams up with local businesses to help transport Cornish produce to the capital’s best restaurants in less than half the time it takes road transport.
Committed to the communities we serve, GWR has teamed up with InterCity RailFreight Ltd, WEGO Carbon Neutral Couriers and local fisherman to help get their products to market quicker, as well as enabling them to add hours to production times.
Improving sustainability, reducing CO2 emissions by getting vans off the road, and improving the freshness of produce, the service will see live and fresh produce traditionally carried to market by the road network taken by train.
Utilising space in what is traditionally referred to as the Guard’s van, live shellfish will be packed in special cold crates on the daily 1739 service from Penzance, arriving into London Paddington at 2344. From there it will be collected by WEG0 Carbon Neutral Couriers and taken to its final destination.
Supported by St Ives MP Derek Thomas, renowned restaurateur and chef Nathan Outlaw, and welcomed by Rail Minister Claire Perry, the first live lobster train will left Penzance at 1000, and is set to arrive at London Paddington at 1521 (the special trains will usually depart Penzance at 1739, arriving into London Paddington at 2344).
GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:
“With our 50 in 15 campaign to source local produce for our services from within 15 miles of the railway, and our investment in the renowned Pullman Dining services, when the opportunity came to support this lobster transport trial, we snapped it up.
“Investing in the local economy in an innovative way, this really does provide a sustainable solution for restaurants to be able to serve the freshest, and the very best of, Cornish produce.”
Jeff Screeton, Managing Director of InterCity RailFreight is expected to say:
“We have proven that using rail in this way can cut both costs and emissions by up to 60% while saving time and opening up opportunity. Having access to frequent high speed rail services opens up new market for regional small and medium businesses and enables them to sustainably tap into the huge potential from e-commerce.”
MP for St Ives said at the launch in Penzance:
“We have such a great story to tell here in Cornwall and on Scilly. Using the train service to get our quality fresh goods into the heart of London helps us to develop our 'brand' in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way and opens up new markets to the many businesses that produce fantastic products but are held back by our transport system. I hope to see this pilot grow into a service that creates jobs and opportunity for people in Cornwall and on Scilly.”
As well as fresh shellfish, it is anticipated that the train will also be able to carry fresh flowers from Cornish suppliers to the London market, as part of the three-month trial.