September 11, 2012

European wagonload research project launched

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European wagonload research project launched Philip Wormald

REPRESENTATIVES of 10 European companies and research institutions came together in Hannover on September 10 to launch a three-year research and development project that aims to improve the performance of single-wagonload railfreight operations.

Viable Wagonload Production Schemes (ViWaS) has a budget of €4.2m, of which €2.9m will come from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technical Development.

The objectives of ViWaS include:

  • optimising the performance of last mile operations, including the opportunities for containerisation of freight and the use of hybrid locomotives
  • improvements to wagons and swap bodies based on the flex freight system developed by Wascosa, Switzerland
  • intelligent and inexpensive telematics for wagons
  • development of an IT interface for wagon-related telematic data, and
  • new management concepts for rail hubs, focussing on cost-effective bunding of combined and single-wagon traffic

The project is being co-ordinated by HaCon, Germany, and partners include: the Zurich ETH technical school; Germany's Bentheim Railway; Eureka Navigation Solutions, Germany; Fret SNCF; Consorzio IB Innovation, Italy; Newopera; SBB Cargo; Berlin Technical University; and Wascosa, Switzerland.

"The challenges to single wagon traffic have grown sharply in the last few years," explains HaCon's project leader Mr Niklas Galonske. "With ViWaS we are looking to develop trend-setting solutions for economically-viable wagonload operations."

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