The aim is to offer six Transhelvetica trains a day with capacity for 40 semi-trailers per train, according to Mr Arnaud Denizet, manager for transalpine rolling motorway projects at SNCF Geodis. The trains will run from two terminals in Germany, one in the Ruhr area and the other at Lahr on the Karlsruhe – Basle line south of Offenburg, and one near Chiasso on the Swiss-Italian border.

Transhelvitica will use the Modalohr system, which is already in operation between Bettembourg, Luxembourg, and Le Boulou on the French-Spanish border, as well on as a transalpine service between Aiton, France, and Orbassano, Italy.

The provisional start-up date is 2015, and Denizet says SNCF Geodis is aiming to capture 18-21% of the market for rail-borne semi-trailers crossing the Alps.