Betuwe Route.

Dutch rail freight industry body RailGood has called on the government and infrastructure managers to ensure round-the-clock operation of at least one rail corridor to and from all seaports, multimodal hubs and industrial complexes during the coronavirus crisis. It also called for a temporary suspension of charges for stabling wagons and locomotives; allowing international drivers to stay overnight and be provided with meals and car or taxi transport to and from their train; ensuring maintenance facilities remain open and mobile maintenance teams can continue to operate; and guarantees for the efficient cross-border movement of drivers, wagon inspectors and maintenance personnel.

cz-CD Cargo wood to Austria

ČD Cargo has begun transporting wood from Příbram in the Czech Republic to a sawmill at Retz in Austria using its own licence, locomotives and drivers. This avoid 34 lorry trips. The returning wagons are used to carry wood from the Znojmo area to a paper mill in Štětí.

Russian freight wagons.

Russian Railways has established a coronavirus operational headquarters to provide operational support to shippers, co-ordinate efforts to reduce the spread of infections, approve applications for freight transport, control payments and minimise the impact of the pandemic on shipping volumes.

Freight train in Sydney.

‘With state borders around the country closing, rail freight is more important than ever’, said Australasian Railway Association CEO Caroline Wilkie on March 23. She said capacity from any reduction in passenger services should be made available to freight operators, possibly with changes to current curfews to increase the frequency and availability of services.’The Covid-19 situation is unlike anything we have faced, but rail freight is providing the backbone to our nation’s supply chain during these challenging times. Our members are keeping freight moving, ensuring that essential goods such as canned food, toilet paper and cleaning products continue to get to where they need to be.’

Russian Railways wagons

On March 23 the 5000th user signed up from Russian Railways’ ETP FT service, which was launched in 2017 to allow shippers to arrange transport online.

John Smith GB Railfreight

Emphasising the importance of rail during the coronavirus outbreak, on March 25 GB Railfreight Managing Director John Smith said ‘rail freight has the advantage in being able to efficiently move very large volumes of goods in a safe and reliable way. With each train able to move between 40 to 70 equivalent lorry loads of goods, rail freight has an important role to play to ensure that supplies can be maintained if the number of available staff across the road freight sector is hit due to illness or the need to isolate.‘

Vanessa Allen Sutherland

Norfolk Southern Corp has appointed Vanessa Allen Sutherland as Executive Vice-President & Chief Legal Officer with effect from April 1. Allen Sutherland joined Norfolk Southern in 2018 as Vice-President Law, being promoted to Senior Vice-President Government Relations & Chief Legal Officer in 2019.