UK freight operator Gb Railfreight (GBRf) has struck a 10-year deal, which will see the firm lease Akiem locomotives.

Under the agreement, GBRf will receive an investment of £25m that will be used to increase the number of locomotives across its operations.

GB Railfreight CEO John Smith said: “Over the past two years we’ve seen a significant growth in rail freight, with new customers and markets coming to us for support with their supply chains.

“This new deal with Akiem is part of our commitment to maintain this growth and offer a more sustainable alternative to transporting goods across the UK.”

The British firm will lease 11 Class 77 and Class 66 locomotives from Akiem.

These locomotives will serve various businesses including intermodal, energy generation, infrastructure, waste, construction and rail services.

They will arrive from continental Europe between January 2023 and May 2024.

Once arrived, additional investment will be made on the locomotives’ conversion and for making them compliant for UK service at EMD Doncaster Roberts Road.

By summer this year, the first locomotives are expected to become operational across the UK’s rail network.

Akiem Locomotive Leasing managing director Simon-Pierre Trezeguet said: “We are very pleased to be adding such renown and appreciated Cl66 and Cl77 locomotives to the UK market while strengthening our partnership with GBRf.

“In a few months’ time, when our mainland European high-performance Cl 66 and Cl77 have been converted into locomotives perfectly adapted to the UK market, thanks to the GBRf teams technical expertise, they will greatly contribute to the development of rail freight across the UK.”