P.R.D.C Mail terminal. This is the biggest new rail terminus built in Britain this century and its seven platforms can handle 12-van trains with two locomotives.
On December 13th 1993 Royal Mail signed a 13-year deal with Rail Express Systems. This was the very beginning of what we now know as Railnet.
Railnet actually began on the 30th September 1996 and will run until October 2006. Royal Mail then went on to commission the building of the P.R.D.C as well as other exclusive mail hubs throughout the country. Royal Mail have also had 16 new trains built for carrying the mail, which means that mail would be carried exclusively on Royal Mail trains and no longer on passenger trains.
The P.R.D.C. is located near Wembley to the north of London, and opened on the 30th September 1996. It is now the nerve centre of the Railnet operation with 20% of all mail posted in Britain each day and 60% of first class mail, moving across it's seven platforms, between trains or between lorries and trains. That's around 1,500 tons per day.
The P.R.D.C now serves the whole country by rail and the south of England by road. As well as 7 platforms the hub has 40 road vehicle loading bays and can accommodate 34 trains and 400 vehicles per day. Taking the services away from the mainline stations to centralised hubs is the way forward for Royal Mail. With new hubs already open at Newcastle (Lowfell RMT), Warrington (RMT), Glasgow (Shieldmuir RMT), and Doncaster (RMT) the project is well under way, and when the new hubs are open at Bristol, Peterborough, and Stafford, the Railnet Project will be complete. On completion Railnet will provide Royal Mail with a faster and more efficient system of moving mail as well as much better security and safer working conditions for their staff, using new techniques and modern new equipment.
The new fleet of trains that Royal Mail have had built are class 325 EMU's built by ABB Derby. They are multi-purpose and flexible and can run on both electrified and non-electrified lines. The 325's allow triple operation - overhead electric, third rail electric and can also be hauled by a locomotive. The new trains can travel at 100mph and are very reliable.
The existing stock of GUV's and BG's has also had a major refit to allow the york containers to be easily loaded. Royal Mail have also introduced Propelling Control Vehicles which allows the train to be driven from either end for shunting moves and to avoid locomotive "run rounds".
Used to replace mailbags for mail protection and easy "roll on roll off " operation.