BIDDING to win more freight traffic between China and Europe from ocean shipping, a trial container train was run from Hohhot to Frankfurt last month.

Dispatched from the Inner Mongolian city on March 1, the train arrived in Frankfurt-am-Main on March 17 after a 9814 km journey. The westbound train carried 100 ISO containers containing electronic products, domestic appliances, textiles and minerals. Eastbound trains are expected to handle components and raw materials.

The potential for a through train between Europe and China was identified by German freight operator Railion last year (RG 9.04 p563). The multinational agreement between the railways of Germany, Belarus, Russia, Mongolia and China provides for a twice-monthly service handling 2500 containers totalling 50000 tonnes a year. The next run is scheduled to depart from Hohhot on April 15.

The Chinese service is Railion’s second venture into long-haul freight after the Asia-Europe Express trial last year (RG 6.04 p319). This has now spawned a weekly Turkey Container Shuttle between Istanbul and Duisburg; the first eastbound train left Germany on March 5. Schenker logistics subsidiary Railog is responsible for marketing TCS; each train will have 17 wagons carrying two 45ft containers per vehicle. n