Rail freight operator DB Cargo UK has received a prestigious industry award from the Rail Freight Group (RFG) for its launch of the first ever rail freight service to travel from China to the UK.

DB Cargo UK received the ‘Judges’ Special Award’, a category created especially to acknowledge the company’s unique achievement, at the RFG’s 10th annual awards night.

The judges praised the PR campaign and ceremony DB Cargo UK organised to mark the arrival of the train as it rolled into its site at Barking in January.

The service had travelled 12,000 km from China in only 18 days, with DB Cargo UK moving the service from Calais to London via the Channel Tunnel.

The train was met by members of the Chinese Embassy, the China Britain Business Council, Government officials, journalists, customers and colleagues. A ceremony featuring a traditional lion dance and speeches from key figures followed the arrival of the service.

The story was covered nationally and internationally, showcasing rail freight to audiences across the world.

The judges said: “We know that it can be incredibly difficult to raise the profile of our industry to a wider audience.

“However, that changed this year with a remarkable effort by one of our rail freight operators.

“They launched a brand new service and ran a brilliant PR campaign that generated an amazingly good news story that attracted news teams, camera crews, politicians and business leaders from around the UK and much further afield.

“The important point – that rail freight is fast, safe, reliable and cost effective – was promoted heavily and featured on news broadcasts around the globe.”

Paul Hawes, Head of Customer Service at DB Cargo UK said: “We are humbled and honoured that this award was created especially for us.

“The launch of the service from China was a fantastic event that brought a lot of people together and that everyone worked really hard on. The award is testament to the amazing efforts made by our teams and we are all very proud.”