National Power to have its own freight train

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NATIONAL Power is buying its own railway locomotive and wagons to ferry thousands of tons of raw materials to its largest power station at Drax, in North Yorkshire. The train will carry limestone 75 miles from Buxton to the pounds 700m sulphur-scrubbing plant.

Although the service will be operated by British Rail crews, National Power hopes that private operators will bid to ferry coal from mines to other National Power generating plants. The two main generators, National Power and PowerGen, are British Rail's largest freight customers, with National Power spending more than pounds 150m a year.

The two generators are tied to government-imposed contracts to use BR's freight services. The contracts end in March 1994 and they intend to reduce their freight costs.

A spokesman for National Power said that British Rail was unable to provide the large locomotives needed for the Drax plant. The locomotive is supplied by a Canadian division of General Motors of the US. The wagons, built by Powell Duffryn, are based on a design already in service in the UK.