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World rail freight news round-up

02 Oct 2017

Rail Cargo Group plans to operate a trial Germany – Iran freight service this autumn, with a view to launching a weekly service in 2018.

DB Cargo Czechia ran its first train on the SŽDC network using its own certification on September 10. The train carrying oilseed rape from Băile Călacea in Romania to Brzeg in Poland was hauled by DB Cargo electric locomotives 189 057 and 019 between Hodonín, where they took over from BF Logistics, and Chałupki, where Freightliner PL took over. Ostrava-based DBCCZ was established in February 2016, and since then has operated almost 300 trains on the Czech network using the licence of DB passenger subsidiary Arriva Vlaky.

The UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has called tenders for the supply of 16 to 24 TSI-compliant nuclear flask wagons between December 2018 and March 2019.

Trenes Argentinos Cargas has operated the first service comprising 40 wagons from a terminal at Pampa del Infierno in Chaco province built at a cost of US$8∙5m by Aceitera General Deheza. Connected to the Belgrano network, the terminal has capacity to store up to 42000 tonnes of grains such as soya, sunflower seeds, wheat, sorghum and maize.

DB Cargo UK ran a trial train carrying 1 300 tonnes of steel coil from Boston to Wolverhampton for ArcelorMittal on September 28. A weekly service is envisaged, increasing to three or four trains/week once DB Cargo UK completes the development of its Wolverhampton Logistics Centre which is expected to open in July 2018. 

Work has begun on a 6∙4 km branch to connect the outer harbour of the port of Ferrol in Spain to the national rail network, able to accommodate both 1000 mm and 1668 mm gauge trains. Expected to cost a total of €90m and take 46 months to build, the new connection features a 5∙6 km tunnel and a viaduct 0∙6 km in length.

SinaraPromTrans has begun providing rail transport services for Taganrog Metallurgical Plant, which has transferred 13 shunting locomotives, 57 km of track, a servicing facility and staff to the contractor.

Chipboard manufacturer Kronospan has awarded United Wagon Co’s TikhvinSpetsMash a contract to supply 267 timber wagons by the end of the year. The Type 13-6852-02 wagons have a capacity of 122 m3 or 74 tonnes, and are designed for a 40-year life and eight years or 800 000 km between scheduled overhauls.

Capacity bottlenecks on the Poland-Belarus border and the increase in rail traffic between China and Europe mean alternative break of gauge transfer points are ‘urgently needed’, according to Tufan Khalaji, CEO of Rail Cargo Group’s intermodal business Rail Cargo Operator. He said RCG is routing an increasing number of trains via Dobra to its company’s terminal in Budapest, and in the future, the route via Kaliningrad is expected to play an important role for transport between China and Europe.

The UK’s Freight Transport Association, Transport Scotland and the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport are to hold events in Inverness and Aberdeen during October providing the opportunity for potential customers to hear about rail’s role in the domestic, deep-sea, European and worldwide logistics chain. ‘This is the perfect opportunity for companies which may have been considering using rail freight to learn more about how the rail network can move goods around the country swiftly and cost effectively, as well as hearing from other firms which have made the switch successfully’, according to Chris MacRae, FTA’s Head of Rail Freight Policy. 

Italy’s Dinazzano Po has ordered two more CZ Loko Class 741 locomotives for delivery early next year.

KiwiRail’s first freight train on the Main North Line since the Kaikoura earthquake on November 14 2016 arrived at Christchurch on September 15. ‘Before the earthquake, KiwiRail was carrying one million tonnes of freight on the line per year’, said KiwiRail CEO Peter Reidy. ‘After the quake, freight has had to be moved south by road, which has put pressure on the inland route. It’s meant additional costs for freight forwarding companies and it hasn’t been easy for truck drivers. While our initial services on the line will be low frequency and take place at night, to allow rebuild work to continue during the day, we estimate they will help take 2 000 trucks a month off the inland route.’

Russian Railways has begun operating revenue freight trains over the 122·5 km Zhuravka – Millerovo line, which has been built to remove the need to transit Ukraine. The first trains carried grain, iron ore and building materials. When fully commissioned the line is expected to carry 190 passenger and freight services per day.

FELB subsidiary CEL Logistic Co has introduced a service to Ulaanbaatar from Milano and terminals in Germany.

Rail Cargo Group’s intermodal buinsess Rail Cargo Operator plans to offer regular China – Italy services from 2018, having managed an initial service from Taiyuan to Lugo on behalf of China Railway Container Transportation Corp. The first service transported 41 containers over 10 400 km via Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, the Czech Republic and Austria, carrying consignments including automotive products.