EUROPE: Announcing the rebranding of its 'rail motorway' business as VIIA on June 7, SNCF Geodis said that its Perpignan - Luxembourg service is to extended to Helsingborg in Sweden later this year. A southern extension into Spain is also being planned, following the successful conclusion of initial cross-border tests to Llers on June 3.

The Perpignan - Luxembourg service carried 50 000 semi-trailers and swap bodies in 2011, with the increase in maximum train lengths to 850 m providing a 33% increase in capacity on the four daily return trips.

With the Mont Cenis tunnel between France and Italy cleared to the GB1 loading gauge, VIIA's Aiton - Orbassano service is now able to accept standard semi-trailers and it is hoped to grow traffic by 40% or 'around 10 000 extra transport units a year'.

'Rail motorways are on their way to forming a real network', said SNCF Geodis Finance Director Olivier Storch. 'The recent introduction of the longest train in Europe reflects a renewal of rail and proves rail's ability to adapt to customer expectations on service, costs, reliability and CO2 emissions.'