NiKRASA 3 at InnoTrans 2022

INNOTRANS: TX Logistik has presented the third generation of its NiKRASA system for transporting road trailers by rail, which the freight company has developed with trailer manufacturer Wecon.

‘We joined forces and together designed a product which fits with both the rail and road worlds’, Chief Operating Office Albert Bastius told Railway Gazette International.

NiKRASA 3 launch at InnoTrans 2022

A semi-trailer is driven onto a steel lifting cradle and the tractor uncoupled. A standard crane or reach stacker is than used to lift the cradle and trailer onto a standard pocket wagon, with suppliers including Kolowag, Greenbrier and Talleres Alegría. The system does not require ‘expensive and sophisticated’ custom wagons, said Bastius.

The NiKRASA systems has been proven in use, and Version 3·0 is currently undergoing extensive testing with regular use expected from early 2023.

In an improvement over the previous iterations, the latest variant has its own ramps at the ends, meaning a terminal ramp is not required. It can thus be easily used anywhere with a crane or reach stacker, and non-craneable trailers can be handled as easily as craneable ones. Bastius said 90% of semi-trailers are non-craneable, and ‘we need to get them on the rails to support of climate goals’.

Other systems for transporting road trailers are available, with Bastius telling Railway Gazette International ‘competition is driving our business. It’s good to have it’.

NiKRASA 3 at InnoTrans

He said NiKRASA’s main advantages are the low weight of 2·6 tonnes which maximises the payload, the way it does not require special height clearances, and its ‘immense flexibility’ as ‘all you need is a crane or reach stacker’ and two staff: one operating the lifting equipment and one on the ground.

If a semitrailer is not being carried, swap bodies and containers can be carried without interfering with the cradle.

The cradles can also be stacked four high to save space at terminals when not in use. They are fitted with GPS units enabling them to be tracked and customers supplied with up to date location data so ‘it’s just like ordering from Amazon’.

TX Logistik said that the system will be freely available to the market, in an effort to ‘ensure that the shift of freight from road to rail is made as easy as possible and available to anyone who is interested’.