EUROPE: A second series of trials conducted on April 14 has confirmed the technical feasibility of operating piggyback services between Perpignan and Figueres, according to TP Ferro which holds the concession to build and operate the 1 435 mm gauge route between France and Spain.

Fret SNCF and the French national operator’s piggyback subsidiary VIIA participated in the trials, which involved a pair of SNCF BB 27000 electric locomotives hauling loaded Modalohr swing-tray wagons on two return trips between Perpignan and Llers, northwest of Figueres. After a first non-stop run, the train was then twice brought to a stand and successfully restarted on gradients as steep as 1·8%.

TP Ferro says that construction of an ‘ad hoc’ terminal at the Spanish end of the route would be the next step in establishing piggyback services to and from northern Europe. It also points out that the international link is able to accommodate trains over 850 m in length and weighing more than 2 300 tonnes.