Gareth Roberts appointed new managing director at UKRL and Steve McBride joins the board as a non-executive director.

UKRL are pleased to announce the appointment of Gareth Roberts as managing director.
He will take over from Mark Winter, one of the founding partners, who is stepping down as
managing director but will remain as a non-executive director of the business.
Gareth joins UKRL from Hitachi Rail where he was UK operations & services director. Prior
to joining Hitachi, he spent over 15 years at Bombardier Transportation rising to be general
manager of UK services.

Mark said: “This appointment is an essential next step on our journey. We have spent some
time looking for an outstanding individual to take on the responsibility of taking UKRL
forward and we are confident that Gareth is that person. I want to add that we had interest
from some very strong industry candidates, which I think demonstrates how far UKRL has
come since the beginnings in Leicester almost 10 years ago. The business has built a strong
franchise underpinned by a reputation for engineering excellence and innovation combined
with first class customer service, and we are excited about the future under Gareth’s

Reflecting on his appointment, Gareth said:
“This is a great opportunity for me personally. I’m very much looking forward to leading the
team and achieving great things together starting from UKRL’s solid foundations, in the
freight sector as well as the passenger business. The expansion into Loughborough and
ongoing large investments at the Leicester depot, means that the business has significant
opportunities, both to expand the offering to existing operators and partner with new
customers. I am also lucky enough to inherit a superb team of people who have a great
reputation in the rail sector, which is so important when growing a business.”

UKRL has also appointed Steve McBride as non-executive director of UKRL. Steve brings a
wealth of experience from a long career in the railways, including as managing director of
Vivarail and customer service director of Angel Trains.
Commenting on Gareth and Steve’s appointments, Edward Stevenson , co-chairman of UKRL

“We are very excited about Gareth and Steve joining UKRL. Gareth is a meticulous and
focused leader who we see as ideally placed to front the business, as we continue to focus
on execution for both new and existing customers and take the next steps towards
realisation of our strategic goals.”

Kristian Mengel, co-chairman of UKRL added:

With Steve joining our board of directors we have been able to strengthen our oversight
and strategic planning capabilities. Lastly, we want to thank Mark for all his efforts over the
years and we look forward to continuing to benefit from his expertise as a non-executive
director of the business.”

Image for article: New managing director and non-executive director at UKRL

We are thrilled to be exhibiting at the third Rolling Stock Networking (RSN) Event in Derby hosted at the Derby Arena on the 6thJuly. We will be joining over 140 exhibitors at the event, sharing our expertise and meeting likeminded Railway innovators. You will be able to find us at stand H3.

RSN 2023 is a full-scale, international rail show focused specifically on Passenger and Freight Rolling Stock, Technical Enhancements, Depot Equipment, Ancillary Services and the Rail Supply Chain in 2023.

Image for article: UKRL Exhibiting at RSN 2023

A ceremony took place on 15th March 2023 to mark the start of construction on a new £1.5 million locomotive maintenance facility at rail vehicle engineering and maintenance provider, UK Rail Leasing Ltd.’s (UKRL), depot in Leicester.

This new facility has been designed to maintain new classes of locomotives and provide UKRL significant extra capacity in Leicester to expand its maintenance business.  It is also expected the expansion, once operational in early 2024, will create 15 new, highly skilled jobs.

Gathering to celebrate the new facility was Mark Winter, managing director at UKRL, with the City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby and John Smith, CEO at GB Railfreight (GBRf).

Construction of the new shed, which will be completed in 2023, is being supported by a development loan from HSBC UK.

Mark Winter, managing director at UKRL said: “This expansion in Leicester means we will be playing our part in developing a more efficient rail network by providing maintenance services for clients where they are needed.  The new shed also increases our capacity for all our customers who know our expertise in maintenance and servicing rail vehicles ensures reliability”.

Leicester’s City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: “UKRL’s expansion with this new locomotive shed is good news for the city. Since founding in Leicester almost ten years ago, this important and innovative engineering company has gone from strength to strength, making major local investment, creating new skilled jobs and helping to put our city on the map as a fantastic place to do business.”

John Smith, CEO of GB Railfreight, said: “For the rail freight sector to grow, we need investments like the one that UKRL are making in Leicester. This state-of-the-art depot will provide a new facility for locomotive maintenance that will improve sustainability and efficiency for freight operators, in addition to driving jobs and growth in the East Midlands region.”

Image for article: UKRL announces start of construction of a new £1.5 locomotive maintenance facility at Leicester depot

GBRf Class 92028 leaving UKRL Leicester Depot following Wheelset and Traction Motor Change.

Rail vehicle engineering, maintenance and Traincare services company, UKRL, has launched a new website to showcase the range and depth of the company’s expertise.

UKRL commissioned the new website to demonstrate how the company has evolved from a business focused on purchasing and leasing locomotives into a one at the forefront of providing engineering services and support to the rail sector.

Mark Winter, managing director of UKRL, said:

“UKRL has really changed and we need a ‘shop window’ that shows what we are capable of now.  Whilst we had a really successful leasing business, we have transformed into a different and more significant operation. We now provide rail vehicle engineering, modifications, obsolescence management, spares and repairs, maintenance and our Traincare services to passenger and freight rail companies. We needed a website that reflects the changes and brings it to the attention of passenger and freight operators who are not already aware of our capabilities.”

Business to Business creative communications business, Switch, an agency recognised at being at the forefront of design agencies in the Midlands were commissioned to build a new website.

Richard Pope, partner at Switch, said: “What we feel we do well at Switch is strategic rebrand and rollout. This was an interesting project for is as we had to think about the strategic repositioning of the brand. We needed to create a new brand look and feel that demonstrated the company’s transformation into a big player in engineering and traincare services.”

The new website can be found at

UKRL will exhibiting at Rolling Stock Network (RSN) at Derby Arena on the 7th of July to showcase the company’s comprehensive railway services and engineering capability. 

UKRL offers engineering, maintenance, overhaul and traincare expertise to passenger and freight train operators and has built long lasting partnerships with major UK operators.

Mark Winter, managing director at UKRL said:

“We have a really comprehensive offer for passenger and freight operators, and we pride ourselves on our ability to innovate and provide flexible rolling stock solutions to the UK’s railway industry. This is only possible because of the depth of engineering expertise we have in the business, which is second to none. Rolling Stock Network, being the largest rolling stock focused event in the UK, gives us an excellent opportunity to start build new relationships with companies that can benefit from our expertise and may not be aware of all the wide range of services we can offer.”

RSN 2022 is a full-scale international rail show focused on passenger and freight rolling stock, technical enhancements, depot equipment, ancillary services, and the rail supply chain in 2022.

UKRL Ltd offers engineering services: rail vehicle and component overhaul, maintenance, and repair, including UK-wide mobile trackside support. In addition, UKRL’s traincare offer, provides cleaning and refuelling using our 150,000-litre capacity refuelling point and modern traincare facility including CET; able to service four vehicles simultaneously. The business also specialises in aftermarket sales: spares, procurement, component repairs, plus network services: locomotive leasing and fleet management.

UKRL can be found on Stand H3.

On August 3rd, UK Rail Leasing (UKRL) celebrated a new agreement with Arriva Traincare and CrossCountry to fully service six Turbostar trains each night at the company’s Leicester Depot.  The event was marked by the naming of a Class 170 Turbostar DMU “Pride of Leicester” by the Mayor of Leicester, Sir Peter Soulsby.

The contract came into effect for the start of the Summer 2021 timetable, after a six-month period of upgrades and training and includes provision for FPX, fuelling, CET, cleaning and repairs each night for up to 20 vehicles made up of two and three car Turbostar sets.

The event, which will take place on Tuesday 03 August at UK Rail Leasing’s Leicester Train Maintenance Depot, marks £2.5 investment by the company. Six additional carriages no longer used by another operator, have been refurbished to bring them up to CrossCountry’s specification by Arriva Traincare. The improvement work includes new seat covers, new carpets, upgraded Wi-Fi and a full external repaint. The project has converted six existing two-carriage Turbostar trains into three-carriage trains – an increase of 80 seats per train.

Arriva Traincare and CrossCountry have also set up a new contract with Leicester-based UK Rail Leasing to fully service six Turbostar trains each night at their Leicester Train Maintenance Depot. This will mean the consistent high-quality presentation of trains into public service at Leicester each day, as well as creating 14 brand new jobs at the depot.

Tom Joyner, CrossCountry’s Managing Director said: “As we welcome people back to rail after the pandemic, being able to provide more three-carriage trains for the busiest times of travel on our Leicester, Nottingham, Cambridge and Stansted Airport routes will mean many more of our customers can get a seat for their whole journey and travel in comfort”.

He added: “What’s more, our new contract with UK Rail Leasing means that we are able to ensure our trains enter service each morning with a higher standard of cleanliness, which we know is important to our passengers.”

Mark Winter, UK Rail Leasing’s Managing Director said: “UK Rail Leasing is pleased to be supporting CrossCountry in providing train care and maintenance services at our Maintenance Depot in Leicester.  This is an exciting opportunity for UKRL and it is our intention, in partnership with CrossCountry, to make a significant contribution to further improving the delivery of CrossCountry’s train service in terms of train presentation and operational reliability into the future”.

Leicester City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby said: “These projects are fantastic news for Leicester as we begin to emerge from the pandemic. Rail travellers will benefit from better and less crowded trains and the investment creating new local jobs is very welcome ‘’.

“We are very proud to have a Turbostar train named ‘Pride of Leicester’ after our great city”.

We are pleased to announce that in 2018 UKRL were awarded Entity in Charge of Maintenance (ECM) certification by the ORR, following a rigorous approval process. An ECM certificate is a regulatory requirement in order to be a maintainer of freight wagons in the UK.

UKRL is the first UK company to be awarded ECM which was not already an incumbent as a railway wagon maintainer, and the certification reflects our ongoing commitment to develop our business to cover the full range of railway vehicle maintenance, repair and overhaul. As an ECM, UKRL is now in a position to offer railway wagon maintenance to our clients, in addition to our established locomotive engineering activities.

22 November 2017 – UKRL is pleased to announce that we have been shortlisted for the UK Rail Industry Awards in the Design Innovation category.

The shortlisted design for the first time allows the simple, safe and efficient operation of Tightlock equipment on a traditional freight locomotive, finally enabling the move of electric units without the need for translator vehicles, which had been the standard for many decades.

UKRL undertook design, manufacture, testing and fitting of the new equipment to Class 37 locomotives, with all work done at Leicester TMD.

6 September 2017 – Class 37 Locomotive Group’s 37003 has arrived in Leicester for extensive body work and a power unit overhaul. The work will commence shortly and is set to be completed over the next several months.

10 July 2017 – Rail Operations Group (ROG) has run its first commercial service employing a new locomotive-to-multiple unit Tightlock arrangement, which has been designed, engineered and fitted by UKRL at our Leicester depot. In a first of its kind move, ROG hauled a pair of class 319 EMUs for a rolling stock leasing company using a Class 37 equipped with the new design. Previously hauling these multiple units needed the use of translator vehicles, requiring additional shunt moves and extra time to position the vehicles at either end of the journey.

With the new UKRL Tightlock the loco is simply brought in front of the unit to be moved, the Tightlock raised into position, coupled up and ready to go! The Tightlock System is UKRL’s first major “design engineering” project, bringing new innovations from design through engineering and testing to fitting, and marks another milestone in our development as an innovative engineering partner for the UK’s rail industry.

UKRL is pleased to announce that we have completed the purchase of Leicester TMD from DB Schenker. The depot has been our home since the company started operation in January 2014, and acquiring the freehold property is a natural next step as we become an established traction maintenance provider to the UK’s rail industry.

At Leicester TMD, UKRL’s team of railway artisans overhaul and maintain freight locomotives for several of the UK’s rail freight operators. Following an extensive investment programme over the summer, the depot is further equipped with a modern re-fuelling station and train care facility.