ADDRESSING around 400 delegates to the CER’s Eurailfreight conference in Brussels on January 30, German Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee, who under the German presidency of the European Union holds the chair at the Council of Ministers [for transport], indicated that giant lorries equivalent to Australia’s road trains would not be acceptable on Europe’s roads. Confirming that trials had been taking place in Germany and the Netherlands (RG 10.06 p641), Tiefensee said that he was ’very sceptical’ about Gigaliners and similar vehicles. He pointed to safety worries including collisions, bridge strength and bend radii, but he was particularly concerned about the effects on rail traffic. Early estimates suggested that 10% of intermodal freight would switch entirely to road, he said, with the likelihood that wagonload and even bulk traffic would be affected too. Studies due to be finished later this year would provide a more detailed picture. Tiefensee had earlier referred to the need for freight transport in general to be made more acceptable to the public. When asked about the acceptability of Gigaliners or their equivalent, he felt that there would be ’considerable negative reactions if they were to become part of the cityscape’, while motorway users would also not welcome them, not least because of the difficulty of overtaking - the proposed vehicles would be more than 25?m long. He implied that there had been pressure to sanction wider use of mega-trucks - 60 tonne vehicles are already permitted in Sweden. n