Economic damage of Rastatt incident more than 2 billion Euros

    rastatt ov9292 9292ov ns24.nlThe Rastatt incident has been causing an enormous impact upon the European industry.

    The Rastatt incident that paralysed rail freight traffic during a seven-week interruption of railway operations on the Karlsruhe-Basel line of the Rhine-Alphine Corridor has resulted in economic damage of 2.048 billion Euros for the industry.

    Rastatt incident costs more than 2 billion Euros

    This is the conclusion of HTC Hanseatic Transport Consultancy, the European Rail Freight Association (ERFA), the European Rail Network (NEE) and the International Union for Combined Rail-Road Transport (UIRR), which jointly published a report on the damage today.

    The assessment of the economic damage has been made determining the value-added losses for all companies within the rail supply chain. The total value-added losses from the Rastatt interruption amount to approximately 2 billion Euros. Rail logistics companies and their customers together suffered a loss of more than 1.9 billion Euros, the report reads.

    The mentioned companies interviewed railway companies, freight forwarders, operators, terminal operators and other parties involved in the rail freight sector. They have made the calculations defensively, meaning that in practice the damage inflicted could be even more.


    Several factors attributed to the loss of added value. For trains that could not depart, additional overheads had to be arranged, as well as alternative logistics solutions along the rail-based supply chain, downtimes in terminals and extra services for freight forwarding. Trains that did depart were bound to detour routes; this required extra work for personnel, traction and rolling stock.

    Railway operators suffered general penalties in the supply chain for delayed and non-driven trains, and infrastructure operators were tasked with additional planning and scheduling tasks. Shippers and manufacturing companies connected with rail logistics were also burdened with extra work, all adding up to the loss of added value, the report concludes.

    Loss in traffic

    During the period of interruption, only 33 per cent of scheduled feight traffic operated, albeit in part under adverse operational condition, the report reads. Due to the holiday period, the expected number of trains on the stretch was 162, in comparison to the regular 200 trains per day.

    This means that 8,262 trains could have operated if the Rastatt incident had not occurred. Instead, the number of trains able to operate was around 2,627. Apart from the interruption caused by the incident in Rastatt, limited availability of alternative routes increased the disturbance of rail freight traffic.

    Less than forty per cent of the theoretical capacity of diversion routes could actually be used. The main load was carried along the Gäubahn bypass, accounting for 48.6 per cent of the traffic diverted.

    None of the diversion routes were fully ultilised during the interruption. Moreover, freight trains on average ran less well loaded than during normal operations, as train formations were shorter and utalisation rates lower.

    Modal shift

    The interruption on the railway line has led to an increase in heavy truck traffic between Karlsruhe and Basel. This was true for trailers that did not comply with the P400 gauge profile requirement on the diversion routes, for example, the report concluded. The interruption resulted in an increase of one thousand lorry journeys per week. Nevertheless, over the course of 2017, Switzerland lost an approximate one per cent of its rail market share.

    This modal shift could also be translated in economic damage, as this has resulted in additional burden on the climate, the report concluded. Based on a model calculation for the upper Rhine Valley, the modal shift on the link between Karlsruhe and Basel caused 39,000 tonnes additional CO2 emissions. This resulted in further socially relevant costs due to environmental damage of 5.6 to 8.4 million Euros, the report reads.


    The Rastatt interruption shows the inadequate coordination of operations and construction projects, the companies responsible for the research state. “While many traffic flows are international, the infrastructure managers still behave primarily according to national ‘rules of play’. Most bypass offers rightly demanded after Rastatt were rejected as they were too expensive. In this way, comparable events and consequences analogous to Rastatt will likely occur in the future.”

    On the 12th of August last year, water and soil penetrated part of the new Rastatt tunnel in Germany. As a result, the ground subsided and the railway tracks above the tunnel warped. The rail...

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    Danish consultancy Ramboll acquires DEG Signal

    DEG Signal has been taken over by Danish consultancy and engineering group Ramboll.

    The move will see all of DEG Signal’s staff remain at its Wiltshire headquarters as it becomes “the backbone” of Ramboll’s UK rail systems operations.

    CEO Doug Green, who will remain as the company’s chief, said: “Having collaborated with Ramboll across a number of years, we couldn’t pick a better partner to join.

    “Their expertise and resources will be a major asset for our team and we are glad to be able to offer our clients a broader suite of services to support them in their projects. We can’t wait to get started.”

    Ramboll’s UK managing director Matthew Riley added that the acquisition showcases the company’s commitment to developing modern rail systems in the UK and overseas.

    DEG provides consultancy and design services for both mainline rail and metro systems.

    Ramboll was founded in 1945. It employs 13,000 staff and is present in the Nordics, the UK, North America, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific with ...

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    Silk Road Summit: ‘Blockchain can be a game changer for rail freight’

    Blokchain for rail freight can become very important in for instance a Silk Road.

    silk road ov9292 9292ovThe use of blockchain technology within the rail freight sector has the potential to be a ‘game changer’ for the industry. That’s the view of Dutch logistics expert Klara Paardenkooper, a key speaker at the forthcoming inaugural RailFreight Summit in Poland.

    Described by some, albeit rather simplistically, as the new internet, blockchain can be seen as a ‘system of distributed ledger’. Data is saved at numerous computers and transactions can only take place where there is consensus. This way, any unauthorised changes will be overruled.

    Blockchain was first used as a financial application, but its possibilities in logistics are increasingly being recognised. It is mostly used for tracking products and making smart contracts.

    mitigates risk

    It’s a system which Klara Paardenkooper knows more than most about, and she believes it could solve many of the problems in traditional rail freight logistics by ‘cutting out the middlemen’. Ultimately however, she adds, it will only work if all of the stakeholders are committed to cooperating with each other in its application. Klara will be speaking on day two of Silk Road Gateway Poland in Wroclaw, from March 20-21.

    With a vast experience of the logistics supply chains, she has written extensively about the importance of rail container transport from the vital North Sea port of Rotterdam to the European hinterland. She even sparked a debate in the Dutch Parliament about the role of the strategic Betuweroute freight line linking The Netherlands and Germany.

    As well as lecturing in Master Logistics Management at Rotterdam Business School, Klara is also Chain Manager for Blockchain at RDM Centre of Expertise at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.

    “Blockchain is not so much a concept, but a technical application,” she says. “It does not do much else; it logs data in a way that it cannot be changed or erased de-centrally. It is actually a very simple concept that is often explained in a very complicated way.”

    simple concept

    Klara says blockchain is still high in the hype cycle of Gartner, a much-adopted industry barometer designed by the US technology firm. It is used to display the life cycle stages a technology goes through from conception to maturity to widespread use.

    “This means it could be applied on a wide scale within five to ten years – I see overall initiatives for Blockchain applications and some of them have been in the pilot phase or are already being implemented,” she adds.

    The potential benefits it could bring to supply chain management are enormous, believes Klara: “It is definitely a game changer as it can cut out the middlemen. In logistics, there are several parties that act as a middlemen. These middlemen exist due to inefficient and non-transparent processes.

    Everybody complains about lack of transparency, but it exists because some parties benefit from it. If the sector became completely transparent, hundreds of companies would go bankrupt. That would benefit the consumers and the transport companies. But I have also heard that 4PL companies (those providing a ‘whole package) could offer blockchain applications as an extra value-added activity.”

    clear communication

    So does she believe the suggestion that the more complex the supply chain, the more a blockchain application can thrive?

    “Yes and no,” says Klara. “The more complex the supply chain, the more need there is for clear communication and trust. Blockchain can definitively help to achieve it, but then you first have to get the parties to cooperate, so that they set up the system, make smart contracts and regulate which party should access which information. That is the toughest part of it.”

    If we accept that blockchain’s impact on supply chain management is indeed the ‘game changer’ then so it follows that the operational processes which the rail freight sector, with its complex stakeholder chains, will reap similar rewards for the industry. Billing, tracking and customs to name but three. But clearly there are barriers to overcome, as Klara explains.

    modal split

    “The biggest problem with rail freight transport that it has an unseasonably small share in the modal split, compared to its potential. Many companies find it that it takes too long and it is too much fuss to transport containers by rail. Furthermore the container is less supervised than when it is in the care of a ‘chauffeur’. The application of Blockchain could help solve a lot of the problems. Technology is neutral, but it has to be applied right.”

    Given that Klara will be speaking at the Silk Road Gateway Summit, an event that will examine the benefits for China, Poland and all the stakeholders, does she believe a China-Europe cargo train presents the optimum environment for blockchain to thrive?

    “Yes, potentially it is. But only when all of the parties are prepared to make arrangements with each other. It is all about trust and allowing the other party to benefit. This is known in supply chain literature as ‘pie sharing and pie growing’. Pie sharing does sound positive, but it is not. In that case the party is only interested in its own share. In case of pie growing, the parties cooperate to create value and they have a larger cake together.

    rent seeking

    “I think that there are also cultural barriers that first need tackling,” she says. Klara believes that ‘rent seeking’ – in economics parlance this is where an individual or company benefits financially without returning the complement – remains a challenge.

    “This has a disastrous effect on supply chains. Smart contracts formalise the agreements made by the parties. Blockchain itself cannot deliver this cooperation. The whole issue also has political and judicial aspects. Agreements should me made by parties from different countries. Are the smart contracts legal and binding and which law should be applied?”

    Not for the first time then in the world of technological advances, it is the human factor that presents the biggest challenges to the widespread application of blockchain technology. Ensure that people are prepared to work together and you’re halfway towards the goal.

    Get parties to cooperate,” says Klara. “Furthermore, Blockchain is very secure, according to the present state of technology. The information is stored in a safe way, however is the information right? Blockchain is dependent of the Internet of Things. The data that is fed to it is collected with sensors. As an analogy, you register a bag of coffee and monitor its movements. What happens if somebody replaces the coffee with drugs? You still have the information that you are transporting a bag of coffee.”

    direction of travel

    Some of the world’s biggest names – think IBM, Visa, Microsoft – are already using blockchain in operations. Indeed, it is also being increasingly utilised within the vast North American rail freight industry.

    But with freight rather than passenger trains very much king in the USA, that is a very different model and any comparison cannot be seen as like-for-like. This is supported by studies like the one by International trends analyst BuiltWith, which says that 80 per cent of the world’s blockchain customers are still in the USA.

    In Europe it is not surprising then that many supply chain stakeholders in rail freight remain unsure about why they should be embracing it. But as logistics links with Asian rail and business partners continue to grow, that should only become easier. So while more work is still needed to project the right messages, Klara says that the direction of travel is clearly set.

    “Twenty years ago you could not imagine the world with internet. Now we can not imagine it without. Try to work one day without internet. You are cut off from the world, it is like missing a limb. Blockchain is coming, whether we like it or not. It is too late to put the genie back to the bottle,” she adds.

    She poses some key questions: is your company prepared for it? How...

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    Chinese rail freight slowed in December

    China’s rail freight volume in December posted a year-on-year decline for the first time in 17 months, according to new government figures.

    It’s being seen as the latest sign that Beijing’s war on urban pollution is putting the brakes on business. The slowdown follows an extensive government crackdown on air pollution from factories that curbed the operating rates of heavy industries like steel and aluminum.

    The decline in rail freight occurred even after the government ordered small factories in November to halve their use of diesel trucks and boost rail transport to limit air pollution.

    Key barometer

    December was the first full month of the measures, which came into effect in mid-November, reports Reuters’ China office. Transport volumes are a key barometer for activity in the steel and coal industries. Rail freight volumes in December fell 3.8 per cent from a year earlier to 303.87 million tonnes, the lowest since June 2017 and the first year-on-year decline since July 2016, the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics said.

    The transport slowdown reflects a decline in China’s fixed asset investment, which increased at its slowest rate since 1999 in December, signalling slowed growth in the world’s second-largest economy.


    Liu Xuezhi, an analyst at China’s Bank of Communications, said: “In 2018, rail freight volume might grow at a slower rate, as investment growth slows down and government policy on environmental protection is expected to continue.”

    For all of 2017, cargo carried by rail rose 10.7 perce...

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    Freight train scanner will target UK-bound smugglers

    smugglers ov9292 9292ovNew equipment is able to detect  smugglers on board of freight trains entering the Euro Tunnel to Britain.

    Freight trains heading for the UK through the Channel Tunnel are to be scanned ‘on the move’ by customs officials using new technology designed to help detect smuggling. The 6.4 million Euros facility at Calais is expected to enter service towards the middle of 2018.

    Smugglers detection entrance Channel Tunnel

    It will be operated by customs officers from the Douane, the French customs and excise agency which is only authority certified to use such material in France. The scanner will mean several hours can be saved on the process of controlling trains on smugglers heading for the UK via the Channel Tunnel. The installation of the equipment will enable customs staff to control up to 30 trains a day, travelling at 20 kilometres per hour, without stopping.

    Speed of growth

    Funded entirely by the Eurotunnel Group, the scanner for smugglers will be situated on the national railway network following an agreement with SNCF Réseau, the French national rail infrastructure manager. Officials from both companies took part in a ceremony to lay a foundation stone at Calais-Frethun freight yard.

    Jacques Gounon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Groupe Eurotunnel SE, said: “To prepare for the speed of growth in rail freight traffic, Eurotunnel has installed state-of-the-art technology. This investment is unique in France and will enable us to handle the 5,000 trains per year forecast by 2023.”

    Specialist teams

    Patrick Jeanet, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SNCF Réseau, added: “Our specialist teams will work closely together to install this smugglers scanner. SNCF Réseau has made space availabl...

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    UK public favour rail freight over roads, says survey

    Almost two thirds of people (61 per cent) questioned in a survey would like to see more freight transported by rail in the UK, with only two per cent wanting to see more on the roads. 

    More government funding

    The online survey was commissioned by a leading transport pressure group, the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT). Philippa Edmunds, Freight on Rail manager at the CBT, said: “This poll shows that the majority of the public support moving more freight by rail and want more government funding to assist this.

    “The Government is committed to reducing harmful emissions and improving air quality, and rail freight is pivotal to this. Rail freight might not be able to vote, but our opinion polling shows that the public support rail over road when it comes to freight.”

    Rail freight has seen consistent year on year growth in key consumer and construction markets, but the potential for further growth is constrained by the current freight network, meaning that demand continues to outstrip supply. In addition, HGVs receive a large subsidy from the Government which adds another barrier to enabling rail freight to compete on a level playing field.

    ‘Tip the balance’

    The Office of Road and Rail is currently reviewing rail freight charges and campaigners are concerned that any increases will further tip the balance in favour of road freight and prevent future expansion of rail freight. Of the people questioned for this poll, only around 1 in 10 (12 per cent) were in favour of increasing rail freight charges.

    “The Government It is currently reviewing the charges it places on rail freight operators to use the rail network,” added Ms Edmunds. “If it chooses to increase these charges, rail freight is likely to decline and we will see more lorries on our already congested roads, something that seems to have little public support.”

    A total of 1,670 people were questioned for the survey on June 21...

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    New China Europe rail freight committee marks 29th city service

    china ov9292 9292ovIn China the 29th city gets a connection to the railfreight route to Europe.

    A committee to coordinate the development of freight rail services between China and Europe has been set up in Beijing. The initiative is being led by the China Railway Corporation and comes as the southern hub of Shenzhen becomes the 29th Chinese city to launch a Europe-bound multimodal service.

    Belt and Road

    The Belarus-bound service marks the latest development of the ‘Belt and Road’ network, also known as One Belt, One Road, and is being operated by DHL Global Forwarding with both LCL and FCL services offered to customers.

    The 12-day journey covers new overland connections to major cities along the Belt and Road route, and is the latest in DHL’s Asia-Europe multimodal network. DHL is managing the route with manufacturer China Brilliant, and together they are transporting electronics, industrial and car parts and even fresh food between the two continents.

    Steve Huang, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding Greater China, said: “Eastern Europe’s economies are growing faster than almost any others worldwide, with significant export opportunities arising from the region’s rising wages and disposable income levels. Minsk offers Chinese businesses an efficient gateway into the Baltic states and Nordic countries, in addition to other major European destinations like Warsaw, Hamburg and Tilburg via Brest.”

    Multimodal operators

    The new service follows the Alashankou-Dostyk route, passing into Kazakhstan via the Central Corridor, before joining the Northern Corridor and travelling along the Trans-Siberian Railway through Russia and onto Belarus.

    This is one of the most popular Europe-bound routes used by several other multimodal operators. DHL Global Forwarding’s service provides real-time GPS tracking and fully-managed customs clearance for the entire journey.

    “With Shenzhen’s economy exceeding expectations to grow by nine per cent last year, the route also opens sizeable opportunities for European exporters looking to sell to one of China’s most vibrant trade and business hubs, or use it as an important gateway to Southeast Asia and the rest of the Chinese consumer market,” said Steve Huang.

    Bilateral ties

    “Our newest route further supports strategic infrastructure projects designed especially to support the Belt and Road, such as the Great Stone Industrial Park – the largest joint project between China and Belarus that will span decades, strengthens bilateral ties between the two countries, and also lays the groundwork for further rail connectivity to the Nordic and Middle Eastern states involved in the Belt and Road,” he added.

    Zang Chunhua, Founder of the China Brilliant Group, said the growth in trade between China and Belarus showed ‘no signs of slowing down’ and the partnership with DHL would enable further streamlining of operations between the two countries:

    “The partnerships that DHL has with governments and businesses globally, coupled with our market strength in Shenzhen-based supply chains, have come together to create a solution that directly meets the needs of China’s expansion-hungry manufacturers and producers,” added Chunhua.

    Through the various routes now available, China now op...

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    Digital learning route developed for DB Cargo UK drivers

    Drivers at DB Cargo UK can now benefit from a digital learning tool, created with a specialist camera used to film rail routes across the country and create an online route programme. Accessible via tablet or computer, it runs high quality footage of the route alongside a moving map, whilst advising on other areas including speed and signals.

    Rail freight drivers are traditionally provided with a route that they learn in an allotted period of time by physically travelling over it. Using streamed media offers several advantages as it enables drivers to review the route multiple times, and go back or move forward through the footage to review certain sections again.

    Digital learning also reduces the number of trains on the busy UK rail network, as additional journeys do not need to be undertaken for route learning, thus reducing costs. This also allows faster mobilisation for geographic or seasonal spikes in workload, making the rail industry more competitive with other modes of transport.

    Huge potential

    Andrew Byrne, Head of Resources at DB Cargo UK, said: “This has opened up huge potential for us and for the whole rail industry as it provides a more efficient and effective method for route learning and retention of route knowledge.  We have had very positive feedback from our drivers and other industry stakeholders about the programme.We have filmed around 40 per cent of the UK rail network, covering a substantial n...



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    DB Cargo appeals 1.5 million Euros fine over Dutch collision

    db cargo ov9292 9292ov openbaar vervoerBecause of a collision in 2009 with a DB Cargo train and a Dutch one DB Cargo appeals 1.5 million from ProRail.

    DB Cargo is to appeal a Dutch court’s ruling that they must pay 1.5 million Euros to rail infrastructure manager ProRail for track damage caused by a collision in 2009 in which the DB train driver died.

    A then DB Schenker train drove through a red light, possibly after the driver became unwell due to a pre-existing heart problem.

    DB Cargo asks 1.5 million euros for collision in 2009

    Red signal

    The DB train was travelling from Groningen to a freight yard at Kijfhoek between Barendrecht and Zwijndrecht, while an ERS train was en route from Rotterdam to Warsaw. The DB train passed a red signal at Barendrecht at the same as the ERS was approaching from the other direction, and a collision occurred under the A15 motorway viaduct.

    A 2011 report by the Dutch Safety Board had already established that the incident, which occurred on 24 September, 2009, was probably caused by the driver becoming unwell, after an autopsy revealed he suffered from a genetic heart defect.

    Before the collision the driver had twice attempted and failed to make an emergency stop, but his actions were not detected by the control centre. Evidence of the condition had been noted in a previous medical but no further examinations had taken place. The board recommended more stringent medical procedures be implemented.

    ‘acted unlawfully’

    However the court ruled that in going through the red signal, the driver had committed a ‘breach of the statutory duty’ and therefore ‘acted unlawfully’ against ProRail. As a result, the court said, the damage ‘must be attributed’ to DB Schenker.

    The DB train’s Automatic Train Control system, ATB EG (1st generation), failed to intervene when the train passed the red signal, as it does not operate when a train approaches a red signal at less than 40 kilometres per hour, and it was travelling at 39 km/h.

    The Dutch Safety Board subsequently found that a modern braking security system, such as ATB Vv, ATB NG or ERTMS, might have prevented the accident.

    Jelle Rebbers, Spokesman for DB Cargo, said: “We do not just disagree with the responsibility but also the allocation of certain damage components, such as the cost o...

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    Smart sensors measure chemical temperature in rail transit

    A ‘zero maintenance’ smart sensor system which monitors the temperature of hazardous materials in rail freight transit has been customised for chemical logistics specialist The Bertschi Group. The system enables the real-time monitoring of both the chemical being carried and the steam pipes used to heat the cargo.

    Temperature band

    A global logistics provider for the chemicals industry, the Bertschi Group – which also has its HQ in Switzerland – specialises in liquid and dry bulk products. Much of the hazardous cargo which it transports must travel within a specific temperature band.

    Markus Berner, Head of Digital Logistics at Bertschi Group, said: “Any means by which we can further raise the bar regarding safety gets top priority at Bertschi, and having continuous and detailed information about the containers allows us to be certain that everything  is well within safe operating conditions. Automated alerts on deviations provide us with one more layer of safety on top of all the existing  procedures and mechanisms.”

    Delicate chemical compounds

    The same measurements are also ‘invaluable’ for guaranteeing that the cargo, which often contains delicate chemical compounds, reaches its destination within the optimal temperature band, and in perfect condition, he added. “We have very tough requirements for the capabilities, ruggedness, cost and maintainability of devices in the field,” said Berner. “In my opinion, particularly regarding energy autonomy and frequency of updates, the technology speaks for itself.”

    Daniel MacGregor, Marketing and Sales Director for Nexiot, said the sensor system was particularly suited for rail assets which have no native power source. “Connecting rail wagon and tank container fleets to extract critical data brings similar challenges and opportunities, as both asset types are non-powered,” he added.

    Mobile assets

    “Our self-sustaining technology has overcome the battery problems which were a major barrier to monitoring these sorts of mobile assets and made critical data available in real-time, so that our customers can make informed business decisions and ensure their cargo arrives safely and on time,” said MacGregor.

    Nexiot is also trialling a new system of self-sufficient sensors, mounted onto the tank containers, and which communicate data wirelessly  to its Machine to Machine (M2M) devices, also installed on the tank containers. Location, so-called ‘impact events’, border crossings and mileage...

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    Railfreight industry and Network Rail collaborate to increase railway capacity

    railfreight ov9292 9292ovNetword Rail works together with the railfreight industry for a better rail capacity.

    A massive timetable shakeup is being implemented after Britain’s railfreight industry collaborated over a two-year, industry-wide review into more efficient freight operations.

    Together, Network Rail and freight operators identified 50 per cent of the reserved slots on the railway for freight trains were not being used and could potentially be given up for thousands of new passenger and railfreight services.

    Railfreight and Network Rail collaboration

    Per week, 4,702 allocated ‘paths’ – the slots a railfreight train has on the railway and in the timetable – have been relinquished, freeing-up much needed capacity on the rail network. They could become available for all train operators to run additional services on a daily basis or re-time existing services to reduce congestion and improve reliability.

    Overall, freight has seen a 70% increase since the mid-1990s. This additional capacity has been created at zero cost and has not led to any reductions in the number of freight trains running on the network.
    It represents a huge opportunity for both freight and passenger operators to increase traffic on the network without the need for expensive infrastructure enhancement schemes.


    The spare capacity can be attributed to a number of factors:
    • The unprecedented decline in coal traffic over the last two years, and a dip in iron and steel
    • More efficient freight operations including running longer, fuller, heavier trains
    • Savvy timetabling and better freight industry productivity, running fewer, part-loaded freight trains, reducing wasted capacity


    Railfreight produces 76% less CO2 than road haulage per tonne of goods carried

    Meanwhile, construction and intermodal freight traffic is growing on the rail network and additional paths are needed in order to support the economy across Britain.

    1,000 of the removed paths have been safeguarded for future strategic freight growth, which is essential to allow for expected increases in key freight markets. The rail freight market can have the confidence that future traffic growth can take place without being hindered by the need to always build additional capacity.

    Network Rail

    Freight takes 7.6m lorry journeys off the road each year.

    Paul McMahon, Network Rail’s managing director for freight and national passenger operators said: “It is important the whole rail industry works together to make best use of existing capacity, to minimise the need for additional expensive capacity enhancement schemes.

    Paul McMahon, managing director for freight and national passenger operators

    “This is a real win-win and has truly been a collaborative piece of work with the freight operators. Capacity has been freed up for the whole railway but essential capacity is reserved for freight operators. This is important given the need to support the growth of freight on the network to support the economy.”


    Russell Mears, chief executive of Freightliner and Chair of the Rail Delivery Group Freight Group, said: “The freight operators and Network Rail have worked together in an effective and pragmatic way for the wider industry good.

    Whilst retaining some key paths as strategic capacity to support future freight growth the release of other residual paths is essential in helping  the government get the best value for money from our capacity constrained railway.”

    Railfreight trains deliver goods all over the country, taking 7.6 million lorry journeys off the road each year. Rail links are vital to business and communities; new rail lines unlock growth, jobs and housing.

    Passenger numbers have doubled in the last 20 years and demand is accelerating at levels last seen more than 100 years ago. Rail freight is also booming, showing a 70% increase since the mid-1990s. But because of this growth in demand, large parts of the network are full and we are facing delays and congestion.


    • 4,702 unused freight paths have now been relinquished by Freight Operating Companies
    • Of these 4,702 paths, 3,684 have been completely removed from the timetable
    • These relinquished paths could potentially see thousands of new services (both passenger and freight) on the railway per year
    • 1,018 paths have been deemed to have strategic value and will be developed further by Network Rail
    • There are currently 4,967 freight paths in the Working Time Table (WTT). Around 20 per cent of these were unused in the last quarter, the lowest value ever recorded


    Many coal paths in the North East, Scotland and South Wales have been removed, as well as paths on the West Coast Main Line. Some of the released paths hav...

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    Smart technology has ‘huge potential’ for transport – Smarter Travel Forum

    Public transport must make better use of smart technology, a new group of companies has urged. The Smarter Travel Forum is formed of the Campaign for Better Transport, Cubic Transportation Systems, Telefónica and Thales.

    The forum will explore how the transport sector can work together to promote the sue of emerging smart technology, support government in the delivery of capacity enhancements and develop ways to make better use of infrastructure we already have.

    Any new infrastructure must be part of a smart travel vision, the forum states. It is launching a Smarter Travel Manifesto today, which calls for investment in smart technology and for regulatory systems to offer incentives for adoption of this technology.

    Stephen Joseph, chief executive at Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Smarter travel has huge potential benefits for users, business and the economy. It can make cities work better, making them more attractive to investors and tourists and easier to navigate for residents.

    “Investing in new transport infrastructure is important, but investment should be directed to making transport smarter...

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