Red Star revisited – the journey so far

Back in April 1963, British Rail set up an express registered parcel delivery service to compete against the Post Office. Known as “Red Star,” parcels could be dropped off at railway stations and sent across an integrated national network of rail services, to arrive at a destination station to await collection. An agreement with a third-party courier company provided first- and last-mile connections by road, giving door-to-door service.

Despite all the jokes about British Rail’s quality of service, Red Star provided a fast and reliable means of transport (publicised in national newspapers and TV adverts), way before “logistics”, “supply chains” and “fulfilment” entered the lexicon of management-speak.

The run-down and break-up of the rail network as part of privatisation in the 1990’s saw the end of Red Star – or so everyone thought…..

In 2010, we decided it was high time that the Red Star service was rebooted for the 21st Century – if not by name, then by it’s fundamental components, once more combining (even faster) scheduled train services with connecting first- and last-mile road links.

Summarising a decade of hard work and progress, InterCity RailFreight has achieved some notable milestones along the way:

  • 2010: first trials undertaken with East Midlands Trains, London <> Nottingham;
  • 2011: sign-off from East Midlands Trains to commence commercial services;
  • 2015: extension of services to Great Western Railway, London <> South West;
  • 2017: secured UK Rail Industry Award for Service Innovation;
  • 2018: extended operations on Great Western Railway network;
  • 2020: ISO 9001 certification, trials commenced with CrossCountry, services on Great Western Railway further expanded to coachload volumes.

Working with a network of locally-based road couriers, InterCity now delivers door-to-door fulfilment, including zero-emission solutions with electric trains, electric delivery vehicles and cargo bikes – with national coverage and no range anxiety.

Building on over a decade of experience, InterCity’s wider offer now spans the integration of high-speed, high-frequency multi-modal transport into the wider supply chain, including:

  • Core rail linehaul services;
  • First- and last-mile connections;
  • Outer- and inner-urban fulfilment centres;
  • Real-time ICT systems, linking with customers, train operators and Network Rail

In homage to our forebears, we thought it was therefore time to update the advertising: