EUROPE: An EU-backed project to develop ‘innovative and practical’ ways of securing the long-term future of wagonload freight operations was launched by 10 rail, logistics and research organisations on September 10.

The three-year Viable Wagonload Production Schemes (ViWaS) project will examine ways to increase ‘last mile’ efficiency through the greater use of containerisation and hybrid locomotives. It will also consider improving wagon utilisation, including the use of swap bodies based on Wascosa’s Flex Freight system; reducing transit times; using telematics to improve service quality and the availability of information; and how to manage hubs to enable cost-effective ‘bundling’ of single wagons. These initiatives are to be tested under real-world conditions.

The European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research & Technological Development is providing €2⋅9m of the estimated €4⋅2m cost of ViWaS, which is due for completion in August 2015.

‘The challenges to single wagon traffic have grown sharply in the last few years’, said Niklas Galonske, Project Leader at HaCon which is co-ordinator for the programme. ‘With ViWaS, we are about to develop trend-setting solutions for economically viable single wagon traffic operations’.

ViWaS project partners
• HaCon, Germany (co-ordinator)
• Bentheimer Eisenbahn, Germany
• Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, Switzerland
• Eureka Navigation Solutions, Germany
• Fret SNCF, France
• Consorzio IB Innovation, Italy
• Newopera AISBL, Belgium,
• SBB Cargo, Switzerland
• Technische Universität Berlin, Germany
• Wascosa, Switzerland