After years of waiting, Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, has had enough. When will the Germans finish their part of the Betuweroute? Castelein sent a letter on the matter this month to Andreas Scheuer, the German Minister of Transport and Infrastructure.
Betuweroute has to be Completed
Eleven years ago the Betuweroute was opened. Freight trains now run daily between the Port of Rotterdam and the German border at Zevenaar. The German part of the railway between Emmerik and Oberhausen is still not finished.
“No significant progress has been made in this economically important process in recent years. In the Netherlands we have invested 4.7 billion Euros in the part of the route to the border. It is now 2018 and no one can tell us when the German part will be opened. There is not even a realisation date yet and we do not see any progress. We are still waiting for eleven of the twelve building permits”, says Castelein.
Instead of 160 trains a day, there are now only 100 trains running on the railway, according to the CEO. “I would be very happy if we finally get clear information about the implementation and a realistic delivery date.”
A copy of the letter was sent to Dutch minister of Minister of Infrastructure and Water Cora van Nieuwenhuizen. The responsible politician in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia Hendrik Wüst and the German secretary of state Enak Ferlemann have also received a copy.
The timing of Castelein’s letter is not a coincidence. Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte will travel to North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) in mid-November for talks with NRW Prime Minister Armin Laschet and other politicians. The Netherlands is the most important trading partner f...
Port of Amsterdam deeply concerned about railway hinterland connections
The Port of Amsterdam, together with the regional business community plans to send a letter to the Dutch state secretary of Infrastructure Stientje van Veldhoven as soon as possible. They want to point out the imminent number of bottlenecks on the railway network connecting the capital towards the hinterland.
According to Femke Brenninkmeijer, director of energy, freight & offshore at the Port of Amsterdam, the capacity on the local railways is “a strong concern” for the port sector and action must be taken quickly towards the responsible ministry in The Hague.
“Now that we are going to have access to the largest sea lock in the world within a few years, we have to ensure that the back door stays open on the railway”, said Brenninkmeijer on the well-attended Port Debate (Havendebat) in Amsterdam. “After all, you are as good as a port as are your hinterland connections.”
She called for a coalition of people willing to ask the attention of the secretary of state for the problems by means of a petition. When the letter with the petition will be sent, she could not yet say.
Brenninkmeijer pointed out, among other things, the capacity problems at Amsterdam Central Station, where rail freight transport is increasingly being pushed away by passenger trains.
Tata-Steel IJmuiden, a major customer of rail transport to the German hinterland, was, among other things, concerned about the renovations next year at the train station.
The steel company runs six freight trains every day with steel from IJmuiden via the Central Station to the German hinterland. Pieter van Tongeren, director of outbound logistics of Tata Steel, wonders if there will be sufficient capacity for that drainage. On an annual basis this means 1.2 million tonnes of steel.
The initiative ‘high-frequency rail’ also means that there will soon be less flexibility for Tata Steel to operate its freight trains, according to Van Tongeren. “If applied strictly, this will have quite an impact.
What guarantees us in the future that a delayed train will still be able to run?”
The ‘high-frequency rail’ project is an initiative of Infrastructure manager ProRail and transport provider NS, enabling the passage of more passenger trains and sufficient freight trains by better utilising the existing infrastructure.
Also the closure for freight trains during rush times makes it, according to the logistics manager, ‘impossible’ for Tata Steel to operate certain routes. “We now have to tackle this together to...
The Intelligent Rail Summit 2017 takes place in Vienna this year on the 28th, 29th and 30th of November. It will be held at the Info Center of Wiener Linien, marked by the themes ‘Automatic Train Operation’ (ATO) and ‘Cyber Security in Rail’.
Intelligent Rail Summit in November
More than twenty experts will provide insight in these important topics, which are expected to dominate the rail industry in the following years.
The first day of the conference (28th of November) will be all about ATO, led by chairman of that day Dr. Rob Goverde of the Technical University of Delft. “ATO is the broad term for automatic driving on railway, which comes in different levels. The first level is where a driver is present to, for example, open and close the doors, push the button and act when needed.
The most advanced stage of ATO is Unattended Train Operation (UTO). This indicates a complete driverless system, which currently only exists in metro systems”, Goverde explained to Dutch railway journal Spoorpro.nl.
On this day, various specialists will elaborate on their plans and experiences on the ground. To name a few, Alfons Schaafsma of ProRail, Nikolaus Panzera of the Wiener Linien en Jacques Poré of Alstom will take the stage. Other experts will explain which lessons can be drawn from experiences in other industries. As such, Prof. dr. Carl-Herbert Rokitansky of the University of Salzburg will explain how algorithms used in the aviation industry can be applied to rail transport.
ATO and cyber security
Because new railway systems as ATO and ERTMS are directed by computer systems at bay, they are vulnerable to cyber attacks. Therefore, the second day of the conference (29th of November) will be dominated by the theme of cyber security in the railway sector.
François Hausman, head of the Shift2Rail Cyber Security project, explains how Shift2Rail is working to develop an international, integrated approach to cyber security. Director of cyber security at Alstom, Valérie Escalier elaborates on the cooperation between train manufacturers and aeroplane builder Airbus, in protection against potential hacker attacks. Domenico Raguseo and Domenico Scardicchio of IBM explain how an international technology firm looks at the protection of the railway network.
New metro line
In Vienna, a new UTO-metro connection is currently under construction. As part of the conference, Wiener Linien offers various technical visits on the 30th of ...
China sees continued growth in rail freight
Railways in China carried 246 billion tonnes of cargo in July. This is a 17 per cent increase year-on-year and an improvement on the 15.5 per cent year-on-year growth in June, according to figures released by the China Railway Corporation (CRC).
This continues the rise seen throughout 2017, reversing a five year decline that had been ongoing since 2012. Rail freight volume has reached 1.7 billion tonnes since January, a 15 per cent increase from 2016. Of note, freight by high-speed rail increased by 70 per cent.
The growth announcement comes after China Railway cancelled or lowered a series of rail freight charges from the start of August. Three items were combined into one charge, while a further eight, including dust cleaning fees, were cancelled. The estimated savings will reach over 2 billion yuan (196 million Euros) each year, according to the plan.
A China Railway official said that the changes were to implement arrangements made by the State Council to standardise charging procedures. “The clearance and standardization of charges for railway transport is a significant move to advance supply-side structural reform and p...
DB Cargo in Germany has further strengthened its green credentials by becoming a partner of the international Lean and Green initiative, which is committed to reducing CO2 emissions in the logistics and storage sectors.
DB Cargo more Green
All the participating companies of Lean and Green are targeting a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in their logistics operations within five years. DB Cargo says it is committed to providing even more environmental protection by rail, adding that everyone who uses rail freight already saves around 80 per cent of CO2 emissions against road transport.
More sustainable world
Established as a non-profit organisation, Lean & Green Europe is an international community of organisations who, says its website, are ‘seeking to build a better company and a more sustainable world’. Its members include more than 500 shippers, carriers, logistics service providers, ports, terminals and retailers.
The rail freight operator is already offering the likes of the BMW Group the opportunity to save around 20,000 tonnes of CO2 a year through its DB EcoPlus service, which offers customers CO2-free traction from renewable sources of energy in Germany and Austria.
DB Cargo, the BMW Group and container transporters TFG Transfract also recently agreed on a joint ‘Sustainability Roadmap’, in which around a dozen measures were agreed to extend the ‘green credentials’ of all three. These include the expansion of EcoPlus transports, the relocation of traffic, as well as joint pilot projects on environmental innovations.
Lean and Green participants will learn about these and similar opportunities for environmentally-friendly contributions through what’s been called the ‘GS1 Germany’ networks and platforms, a competence and service centre for the optimisation of cross-company business processes along the supply chain.
DB Cargo Logistics’ EcoPlus concept has been a key part of the company’s environmental strategy for several years, having first been introduced in 2010. It is part of DB’s 2020 climate protection programme and offers the opportunity for CO2-free rail services by utilising renewable electricity. Around 10 per cent of the revenues from EcoPlus are invested in the construction of new renewable energy plants.
Raimund Stüer, Managing Director Sales at DB Cargo, pictured (left), with Oliver Püthe, Head of Initiative at Lean and Green, said: “We offer all DBeco plus customers the opportunit...
Kombiverkehr welcomes German rail freight Masterplan
Germany’s Kombiverkehr has welcomed the newly-published national Masterplan for Rail Freight, which outlines the future for the country’s rail cargo infrastructure, and also called for greater commitment at international level.
Kombiverkehr does work with the Rail Freight Masterplan in Germany, but also at an international level.
Established in 1969, Kombiverkehr is an equal partnership between more than 200 freight forwarders and the country’s main rail freight provider, DB Cargo. Last year it shifted over 985,000 road truck consignments onto the rails.
Having spent a long time campaigning for a ‘fair and competitive’ environment for rail haulage, the company said it had achieved a ‘significant milestone’ with the drawing up of the rail freight Masterplan.
“Together with industry representatives, it has managed to persuade much of the political community – not least the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure – that something actually needs to be done for the rail freight transport sector, and especially combined transport, if environmental targets and objectives, in particular as regards cutting CO2 emissions, are to be met,” said a company statement.
“The policy document prepared in conjunction with the ministry and the industry organisations can really improve the prospects of the rail freight transport sector in the future once again. Kombiverkehr…sees the guarantee of an efficient railway infrastructure, the extensive exploitation of potential for innovation and the improvement of general transport policy frameworks as the cornerstone of the master plan,” it added.
Priority measures outlined in the plan include the reduction of track access charges, the upgrade of sections to accommodate 740-metre long trains, and the setting up of a preliminary test area for the digitisation and automation of train composition in the freight sector.
The publication of the plan has been seen as a landmark decision for Germany. One of its core aims is halving track access charges, for which the Government has said it will invest around 350 million Euros
“Ad hoc measures are to be continued and extended, and are seen as corporate contributions made by the sector to modernise rail freight transport,” continued the statement. “Kombiverkehr calls on the Ministry of Transport to show the same commitment within European transport policy as it does at nat...
A trans-Asian freight rail logistics partnership has seen the Hungarian capital Budapest take delivery of the country’s first overland transit container service from China via Mongolia, Russia, Ukraine and Slovakia, packed with consumer goods.
Freight rail service Asia welcomed in Hungary
JSC RZD Logistics, the freight arm of Russian Railways, together with Far East Land Bridge (FELB), PJSC TransContainer and ZSSK Cargo make up the alliance, which took a total of 41 40-foot containers filled with clothes, electronics and other consumer goods from Chansha in Hunan province to Budapest intermodal terminal.
Overall transit time with this freight rail service was 13 days, including customs clearance and transshipment to a narrow gauge at PJSC’s terminal in Dobra, Slovakia. As well as terminal services, PJSC also provided rolling stock and equipment. FELB, a subsidiary of JSC, had overall responsibility for the service, while JSC moved the shipment across Russia and then ZSSK the last stage.
Alexander Podylov, Sales and Business Development Director of PJSC TransContainer, said: “We believe that clients who need to deliver cargo to central and south Europe will be especially interested in this service.
The successful experience of transportation across this route allowed us to reduce the transit time by several days, whereas due to our own capacities in Dobra, customs processing and transshipment to European track gauge are fulfilled in a much shorter time.”
Vyacheslav Valentik, CEO of JSC RZD Logistics, added: “Today the volume of freight rail from China to Europe is rapidly growing. These conditions require implementation of new services, which will allow us to distribute these growing amounts between various border points, while keeping the speed and price for the benefit of clients. The joint service that has recently been introduced is expected to solve t...
EC: Measures to support Greek freight operator ‘in line with state aid rules’
Measures taken in Greece to support the restructuring of rail infrastructure manager OSE and the country’s sole freight & passenger operator Trainose are in line with EU state aid rules, the European Commission (EC) has said.
Both companies have been facing financial difficulty for a number of years, and in 2008 Trainose became a ‘spin-off’ from OSE. The ongoing economic recovery programme in Greece advocates the restructuring of companies on the basis of their importance to the Greek economy.
‘ensure companies’ viability’
In 2011 Greece put forward several measures to the EC designed to provide support to both OSE and Trainose. The aim was to ensure the companies’ viability and ensure that rail services continued to operate, thus heading off the possibility of another serious blow to the Greek economy.
After investigations, the EC found that that measures for assisting Trainose, namely a debt cancellation, an equity increase and annual grants, worth a total of 1,079,000 Euros, were in line with European Union (EU) state aid rules.
In addition, measures to support the restructuring of OSE through a debt cancellation of 14.3 billion Euros, the transfer of more than 750 management employees and annual grants implemented after October 22 2014 did not constitute state aid.
The commission says this is because the measures related to OSE’s activities as the national rail infrastructure manager, and as such could not ‘distort competition’ or affect trade between member states. Moreover, the transfer of 217 maintenance employees and annual grants of up to 340 million Euros implemented before October 22 2014 were also in line with EU state aid rules.
European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who is in charge of competition policy, said: “The measures will help the two public rail companies become more efficient and provide better service to Greek (passengers) business customers.
This fits into the wider context of Greece’s efforts to restore its economy’s competitiveness and achieve significant growth. Aid will also facilitate the future privatisation of the companies and the opening of the Greek railway sector to competition.”
The EC said it had taken into particular account the difficulties faced by the Greek railway sector within the context of the country’s ongoing economic problems, and the importance of a well-functioning railway service for the population. Measures, it added, had the ‘legitimate objective of avoiding a serious disturbance’ of the Greek economy, without unduly distorting competition in the single market.
Earlier this year Trainose was sold to Italian state operator FS Italiane in a deal made doubly significant through Greece being part of the EU’s Orient-East Med Core Network TEN-T Corridor. The network facilitates a trans-European route which starts in the sea ports of northern Germany, and continues via Greece and its connecting shipping services onto Cyprus and be...
Belgian rail infrastructure manager Infrabel and national freight operator Lineas are leading a multi-agency initiative to provide training to emergency services personnel on the transport of hazardous goods by rail.
Infrabel offers special training for dangerous reilfreight
The practical module has been developed by a group which also comprises the Directorate General of Civil Security of the Federal Public Service Interior, international chemicals specialist BASF, rail freight wagon leasing company VTG Rail Europe, and the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC),
They need to know the answers to questions like: How and where can you quickly ascertain what hazardous materials are on board the freight train? How well protected against leakage of chemicals is a tank wagon? What if a fire should be put out is there still high voltage (3,000 or 25,000 volts) on the overhead? These are seen as highly practical, and vital operational issues facing emergency personnel when they intervene.
Infrabel says that while it is fortunate that the emergency services are not required very often at accidents involving dangerous goods, it is absolutely essential that they are able to share knowledge with each other, and thus be in a position to better assess and control any situation.
‘concrete and practical’
The new ‘concrete and practical’ training has been developed to build on the theory-only sessions which have been done in recent years. It is also recognised by the country’s Research Center for Civil Security as a vital part of ‘continuing educati...
Rotterdam gets go-ahead for port line Betuweroute revamp
The Port of Rotterdam Authority has been given the go-ahead for a 275 million Euros port railway scheme that will redirect a 4 kilometre stretch of line marking the start of the vital Netherlands-Germany Betuweroute freight route.
The new Theemseweg route will be completed by 2021, and means rail traffic will no longer be delayed by having to cross the Caland Bridge.
Key design changes relate to the raised edge along the entire length of the pillar-supported concrete structure, with the new plan incorporating a sound-absorbing element. The height of the raised edge has also been increased from 1.4 metres to 1.7 metres above the surface of the track. These measures will play a significant part in reducing noise pollution for those living and working near the line.
An important rail and road traffic hub, the Caland Bridge (Calandbrug) is a vertical steel lift bridge over the Caland Canal, at the mouth of the port, but by 2020 it will have reached the end of its technical lifespan, says the port authority. By redirecting the railway line over the Rozenburgse Sluis and via Theemsweg, rail traffic taking goods from the port and towards the European hinterland will no longer be obstructed by shipping, considerably improving traffic flow.
Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment is contributing over 100 million Euros to the project, while the European Union is providing 62 million Euros. Rest is coming from Rotterdam Port Authority, which will construct the new route, before handing over control to ProRail, the Dutch rail infrastructure manager. The port authority, ministry and ProRail are holding an open event on June 13 for people to view the plans, and the appeals procedure is open until July 4.
This project is vital to the future success of the Betuweroute, which when fully completed will open up huge new freight opportunities between Rotterdam and the European mainland. It is part of the Rhine-Alpine TEN-T Corridor, connecting both Rotterdam and Antwerp to Genoa, via some of the major economic centres of Germany’s Rhine-Rhur & Rhein-Main-Neckar regions.
The project centres on a three-track expansion of the route which will significantly streamline cross-border traffic between Germany a...
Swedish-based Kiruna Wagon has successfully tested a new side dump wagon and unloading station as part of a European Union (EU) project for developing ‘smart’ rail freight wagons for the mined agricultural sector.
Dump wagon project success for Kiruna
It comprises nine partners from France, Denmark, Spain and Sweden, one of which is the Kiruna Dump Wagon. From its Arctic Circle base in Kiruna, in the mining capital of Sweden, the company specialises in the custom design and manufacture of ore wagons for the Nordic and international market.
During initial trials, Kiruna tested the performance of the dump wagon and unloading station without the wagon’s undercarriage and bogie. Further trials of the complete wagon, loaded with iberpotash, the salt commodity produced by ICL Iberia, will be carried out shortly.
Describing the initial tests with this dump wagon ‘very satisfying’, Martin Malmelöv, Supervising Engineer at Kiruna Wagon, added: “We are very happy with the outcome. The mechanical principles operated entirely as expected and we will now be looking at details, such as adjusting the hydraulic flow to calibrate the tipping speed.”
“The HERMES wagon is a further development of our side dump wagon, which has been proven in Sweden’s sub-arctic climate since 2009. A natural step in the development work was to make this wagon lighter and one of the ways in which we have achieved this is by moving the hinge mechanism from the wagon to the unloading station. The result is an updated side dumper that combines our proven side-tipping technology with a much lighter construction with only a central drawbar.”
The EU says the main objective of Hermes is to holistically address the aspects that may improve freight and dump wagon performance at competitive prices, such as enhanced logistics operations, higher wagon load capacity, optimised loading/discharging processes and increased flexibility in order to foster intermodality and allow a diversification of carried goods. The project has received funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 Programme for research, technological development and demonstration.
Kiruna Dump Wagon was also recently named as one of four nominees for the Swedish Steel Prize 2017, for its innovative Helix Dumper system, a logistics solution for unloading heavy fine-grained bulk goods at a high discharge rate. The prize attracts competitors from all over the world, and this year a record number of applications have been received.
Fredrik Kangas, Managing Director of Kiruna Dump Wagon, said :“It’s an honour for us to be nominated for the Swedish Steel Prize and we hope to win it someday. We want to thank Northland and Robert Näslund who had the courage to invest in this new and revolutionary technology, which led to the realisation...
Multinational agreement strengthens Europe-China link
A new joint working group involving seven countries aims to pave the way for improved rail freight services between Europe and the Far East. The multilateral agreement by China, Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Germany and Poland is a further indication that the fast-growing West-East preference for rail over air and sea is only likely to increase.
Under the agreement, all countries will be encouraged to coordinate their logistics infrastructures, and introduce technologies to support the electronic exchange of freight data. Reducing transit times and customs clearance times, and simplifying border procedures are further key aims of the new alliance.
At its heart is a clear focus on supporting the development of competitive through-rate for freight transport on cargo services between Europe and China, specifically within the framework of each country’s legislature.
Poland is one of those countries keen to expand its China operations, with PKP Cargo aiming to become a global logistics operator by 2020. Representatives of PKP were in Shanghai to meet counterparts from Worldwide Logistics Group (WWL), one of China’s largest multimodal logistics firms, with the aim of strengthening foundations for a PKP presence in the country.
Maciej Libiszewski, President of PKP Cargo, said: “For years we have been paying close attention to the Chinese market, and we came to the conclusion that only through presence in this market can we gain a competitive advantage that will allow PKP Cargo to become a global operator. Nonetheless, it was important that PKP’s expansion in such a large logistics market was thoroughly considered and economically justified. Hence the decision to cooperate with WWL, a recognised company.
“To be valued in the international logistics market, we should take part in creation and development of global multimodal door-to-door supply chains from China to Europe, not only through our central Europe logistics but also through active engagement in the Chinese market, which is one of the world’s largest global trade exchanges. In this context, the presence of PKP Cargo in China strengthen’s the company’s position on the Eurasian railway transport market,” he added.
China is pushing the growth of rail freight to and from Europe as part of its ‘One Belt One Road’ economic strategy, and this drive is being supported by countries operating on the various routes in and out of Europe. The United Kingdom, for example, is keen to develop its new rail freight links with the Fa...
Sending more goods by rail could have the potential to ease congestion on the UK’s busiest roads and yield great economic benefits, new research published today has revealed.
Congestion on road diminished by more railfreight
The findings of the ‘cross modal freight’ study from consultants MTRU working for the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) and sponsored by the DfT looked into the benefit of increasing freight capacity of rail routes that run parallel to three hugely congested roads.
Two of these routes, the A14 between Felixstowe and the Midlands and the A34 from Southampton to the Midlands, have up to 6,500 of the largest 5 and 6 Axle articulated lorries driving on them each day, making up 10% and 17% of all traffic on the road respectively.
The other route, the M6, has over 13,500 HGVs driving on it, whilst the M62 had over 11,000, representing 10-12% of all the traffic on both sections of motorway.
However, today’s research revealed that upgrading existing rail lines running parallel to the motorway could allow huge amounts of freight carried by lorries to be transferred on to the rail.
The CBT say that putting 2,000 lorry loads a day on to rail would be the equivalent of taking 8,000 cars off the road.
And now, the Campaign is calling on the government to apply the findings to future rail and road investment strategies, in particular to support continued investment in the Strategic Rail Freight Network.
Philippa Edmunds, from CBT, said that the research confirmed a point that the organisation had long argued – that an integrated rail and road planning strategy is the best way to reduce road congestion, collisions and pollution.
“It shows that on certain strategic transport corridors it is possible to improve road conditions without needing to add more road capacity,” Edmunds stated.
“This latest research demonstrates the importance of analysing strategic corridors as well as using national averages in transport planning.”
Edmunds also went on to explain that the report showed the extent to which upgrading the rail freight network on key strategic corridors ameliorates road congestion and therefore improves productivity.
“Transferring freight from road to rail would bring serious additional benefits not quantified in this report – improved road safety and reduced air pollution and carbon emissions – these should also be considered,” she said.
And a spokesperson for DfT said: "We agre...
Railway tree census singles-out “problem trees” helping to reduce costs and improve safety
The by the railway called problem trees are investigated to be removed.
Instances of train delays caused by trees falling onto the tracks could dramatically reduce as Network Rail, the company responsible for running and maintaining the railway, rolls-out a national “tree census” database with the ability to identify and target specific trees that could eventually cause problems for train passengers.
More than 10 million trees growing next to the railway have been catalogued as part of a sophisticated aerial survey covering 20,000 miles of Britain’s track. The database provides engineers with a heat map indicating higher priority “problem trees” or overhanging tree canopies which need attention before they fall onto the railway and cause delays to train journeys.
Part of the Offering Rail Better Information Service programme (ORBIS), the database, now completed and deployed across the company, will revolutionise the way lineside engineers target their work, as well as save the company time and money.
By providing its engineers with an early warning system to identify potential problem trees and canopies encroaching on the railway before they fall, the ORBIS programme is saving tax-payer funded Network Rail thousands of pounds in repair and clean-up costs.
Tackling potential problem trees early will alsohelp improve the safety of our railways by reducing the likelihood of a train colliding with a fallen tree or branch.
The tree census is the latest offering from ORBIS, a transformation programme aimed at supporting the railway industry by collating, analysing and exploiting data from a variety of disparate sources – from Brunel-era working drawings on parchment, ordinance survey maps, water and gas board plans, to high-resolution aerial and oblique imagery and Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) 3D imagery. So far, the ORBIS initiative ...
COAL traffic services operated by Australian rail freight operator Aurizon have suffered severe disruption following heavy rain and flooding caused by Cyclone Debbie which made landfall on the Queensland coast during the last week of March.
Coal traffic hit by cyclone Debbie
Aurizon says it has mobilised all available crews and resources, including contractors, to undertake repairs across its Newlands, Goonyella, Blackwater and Moura coal systems, which form its Central Queensland Rail Network (CQRN).Worst affected is the Goonyella system which links coal mines with Dalrymple Bay and Hay Point ports.
The lines are not expected to reopen until May 8, with recovery and repairs underway at multiple sites along the corridor. Road and rail access to the rail corridor is severely limited, especially around the Black Mountain area, where initial assessments indicate that significant landslips have occurred.However, the Blackwater system reopened on April 10, albeit under restricted conditions with some reduced capacity.
The Moura and Newlands systems are now expected to reopen a few days earlier than originally estimated on April 12 and April 14 respectively.
Aurizon says the cost of repairing rail infrastructure and the loss of revenue is expected to be recovered under an established regulatory process through the Queensland Competition Authority.
However, because the compensation will be received some time after the repairs have been paid for, Aurizon expects its 2016-17 “below rail” earnings to be impacted. The temporary closure of the coal systems is also likely to have a negative impact on Aurizon’s 2016-17 volumes and earnings.
Aurizon is examining alternative routing options for customers and operators as other systems become available in the coming weeks, from the western sections of the Goonyella system, north along the Newlands system to Abbot Point, and south through the Blackwater system to the Port of Gladstone.
BHP Billiton is one of four miners in the region to declare force majeur...
Busan – hub city of transportation and logistics in Northeast Asia
RailLog Korea presents great growth potential, thanks to the geographical benefits of Busan, as the very starting point and final destination of the Trans-Asian Railway (TAR) network.
In addition, Busan is a hub city where all logistics functions, including railroad, port, air and highway are integrated. Busan boasts advanced logistics infrastructure e...
Rail freight takes centre stage on today’s final day of RailTech Europe 2017 in The Netherlands. A dedicated Rail Freight Day sees a host of workshops open to stakeholders keen to learn new techniques and share examples of best practice.
Freight in the spotlights at RailTech
Rail Freight Day is designed to be an opportunity for stakeholders across the freight to meet, exchange ideas and hear about industry innovations. Nine workshops are scheduled to take place, several of which will be in English and the rest in Dutch.
The English ones are: Innovations in the rail freight industry 2017, by Dutch rail infrastructure manager ProRail and the harbours of Rotterdam and Amsterdam; Research into the role of rail freight in Belgium as part of the intermodal freight chain (Frank Troch, University of Antwerp; Smart Rail – supply chain-oriented rail freight services (Joris Tenhagen, Seacon Logistics); The potential of trams for urban freight distribution (Katrien de Langhe, University of Antwerp)
RailTech Europe 2017 is organised by ProMedia Europoint with the Dutch Railways (NS), Dutch Infrastructure manager (ProRail) and rail associations Holland Rail Industry, Railforum and The Royal Dutch Transport Federation (KNV).
The conference themes have been the European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS); Digitalisation in Railways; and today’s final sessions, Maintenance of Rail Infraststructure. RailTech Europe 2017 is hosted by the Dutch rail infrastructure manager ProRail, and organised in cooperation with ProMedia Publishing, the International Union of Railways (UIC) and Dutch Railways (NS).
Speakers have included Ulrich Roth of Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) who focused on ETCS Level Two in Swiitzerland, in particular the Gotthard Tunnel; Anna Nicodemi of Swedish transport manager Trafikverket, who looked at RFID, and Tiberiu Buzas of Railwatch, who s...
DB Cargo to ‘halve’ freight train noise by 2020
DB Cargo has pledged to tackle the problem of noisy freight wagons by revamping its entire fleet within the next three years. The German giant says it will spend more than 200 million Euros to halve noise pollution on its cargo trains by the year 2020, benefiting tens of thousands of people living near train lines.
DB Cargo diminishing freight train noise
Now DB wants to take the next steps towards achieving a quieter railway infrastructure. By the end of 2020 it will have invested more than 600 million Euros on noise protection, including the retrofitting of noise-reducing ‘whisper’ brakes on its fleet.
The number of freight cars fitted with this technology will increase from 33,000 to 40,000 by the end of this year, with the rest of the entire 64,000 fleet by the end of 2020. DB’s investments will be supported by additional funds from the Federal Government’s Future Investment Programme.
Ronald Pofalla, Executive Infrastructure at DB’s parent group Deutsche Bahn, said: “We want people in the Rhine Valley, in the Inn Valley, in the upper Elbe valley, in other regions and even in many metropolises to sleep at night, because these trains are less noisy, more soundproofed walls shield against noise and new, innovative procedures offer even more protection.”
A report to be published next month by DB will highlight that around 2,000 kilometres of walls, and the windows of 57,000 apartments have already been soundproofed. Around 1.2 billion Euros have been invested in noise reduction, including 100 million Euros from DB.
Around 120 million euros are available annually for work on structural noise reduction, while additional measures are being implemented in those areas where noise is a particular issue, such as the aforementioned Middle Rhine, Upper Elbe and Inn valleys.
“The money is well spent,” added Ronald Pofalla. “It is clear – only the quiet railways belong to the future. If we want more rail freight in Germany, we have to take people with us – today mo...
The Betuweroute faces delays in the German part of this important freight route.
The German section of the vital Betuweroute freight line faces a significant delay, the Dutch Transport Secretary Sharon Dijksma has said. In a letter to Parliament, she said the official schedule for the 70 kilometre stretch between Emmerich and Oberhausen was ‘no longer realistic’.
Betuweroute in Germany is delaying
The Emmerich-Oberhausen link was due to be finished by 2022 but now there will be significant delays because of problems with the issuing of building permits from the local German authorities. The last permits are expected to be issued in 2019, and only when this is done will the German government be able to provide another ‘reliable date’ for the track’s completion.
It centres on a three-track expansion of the route which, after completion, will significantly streamline cross-border traffic between Germany and The Netherlands. The extra rail will mean ensure that freight and passenger services can run independently, instead of having to share line space.
Around 1.5 billion Euros is being invested in the Betuweroute project, which when completed is expected to open up vast new freight opportunities between the key north sea ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp, and the European hinter...
Intermodal up but UK rail freight down overall
Rail freight volumes in the UK towards the end of 2016 were down almost three per cent on the same period for 2015, new figures show. The Office for Rail and Road (ORR) says 4.42 billion tonne kilometres of freight was moved in the third quarter (Q3) covering the period between October-December, with some notable increases.
The construction and domestic intermodal sectors accounted for nearly two thirds of total freight moved, both rising year-on-year, with domestic intermodal setting a new record for the highest amount of freight moved since the quarterly measurements were introduced in 1998/99, with 1.72 billion tonnes.
Coal transported fell to 0.46 billion net tonne kilometres while ‘miscellaneous’, which includes biomass materials, also saw a drop to 0.42 billion tonnes. Five out of seven commodities however saw year-on-year increases, including metals (up 6.6 per cent to 0.11 billion tonnes) and oil & petroleum (up 0.6 per cent to 0.29 billion tonnes).
Freight delays increased in Q3 to 12.2 minutes per 100 train kilometres, up 1.7 per cent on 2015/2016 Q3. The total freight train kilometres travelled was 8.63 million km, down 0.2 million (-2.5 per cent) on the previous Q3.
The ORR said there were many possible reasons for the trends seen, with the rise in construction materials for example ‘largely due’ to an increase in residential work, with more construction materials moved by rail in Q3. “Domestic intermodal showed an increase this quarter compared with the same quarter last year due to the growth in consumer focused service industries such as retail services,” it added.
The total amount of freight ‘lifted’ in Q3 was 20.8 million tonnes, down sharply by 9.6 per cent on the previous Q3. Unlike freight per se, this category measures the mass of goods carried in tonnes, excluding the weight of the locomotives and wagons, and takes no account of the distance travelled. The amount of coal lifted was 3.4 million tonnes, a big fall of 43.4 per cent compared to the same quarter last year.
Three operators recorded an increase this quarter compared to same period last year; Freightliner Heavy Haul with 0.75 million kilometres (up 6 per cent), GB Railfreight (GBRf) with 1.32 million kilometres (up 3.1 per cent), and Freightliner Intermodal with 2.18 million kilometres (up 0.9 per cent).
In the international category, better security at the Port of Calais was said to have helped increase the flow of freight in and out of the ferry terminal, resulting in an upturn in international rail freight traffic compared to the previous Q3.
On renewables, the ORR said: “The removal of the climate change levy exemption for renewable source electricity from power stations that use renewable source electricity is gradually feeding through as freight operators renew their supply contract, with possibly less orders for this freight in the other category this quarter compared same quarter last year.
“The decision to phase out coal-fired power stations in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions continues to affect the amount of coal freight moved by rail this quarter compared to same quarter last year,” it added.
From a peak of 455,561 freight train movements and freight lifted in 2005/06, there has been a steady decline, which the ORR says has been influenced by a mirrored decline in some traditional industries.
“The reductions over time could be due to improved utilisation of freight capacity as the levels of freight being lifted and moved in the four year prior to 2015-16 were similar to those in the mid-2000s but with much fewer trains,” it said.
“In 2015-16, the number of freight movements decreased by...
There are two keys to the modal shift in the European Rail according to a NGO.
European rail freight policymakers must help ensure that national rail infrastructure managers work much more closely together to alleviate bottlenecks at borders, and thus pave the way for a much-increased sustainable modal shift from road to rail.
Modal shift in European Rail
That’s the view of Samuel Kenny, Freight and Rail Transport Officer at Transport & Environment, a Brussels-based NGO that works on EU transport policy. He outlines his views in a guest column for RailFreight.com.
So what can be done to increase freight volumes on rail?
In Europe, 50 per cent of rail freight crosses borders while only six per cent of passenger rail is international. This means that seamless travel between European countries is crucial if we are to increase the amount of goods that are transported by rail.
A big factor in ensuring this is making infrastructure managers work together to communicate bottlenecks, delays and capacity. Each country in Europe has a unique infrastructure manager and these are not known for being good at speaking with one another.
The EU initiative known as the ‘Rail Freight Corridors’ has improved such relationships but more needs to be done. This policy is scheduled to be reviewed later this year, which provides a big opportunity for the EU to improve such collaboration. The European Union Agency for Railways could play a bigger role in ensuring that infrastructure managers are working together more.
Beyond communication, smarter infrastructure investments are needed to remove bottlenecks at borders. The European Court of Auditors published its ‘Special Report – Rail freight transport in the EU: still not on the right track’ in 2016 that found how a lot of EU money being spent on rail infrastructure did not sufficiently address ‘the low speed of freight trains, administrative and technical constraints, and obsolete infrastructure’.
It continues to recommend that the EU ‘target as a priority bottlenecks and missing links such as rail connections to ports and cross-border areas, as well as other measures with a potentially high impact on rail freight transport competitiveness such as the renovation of point infrastructure and last-mile facilities’.
One example of such infrastructure is the Betuweroute line, which connects Rotterdam with Germany. This freight-only infrastructure is part of the EU’s TEN-T network that aims to improve the ease at which trains can cross borders. EU investment in rail freight should be focused on reducing the waiting times at borders, improving electrical traction and enhancing technical interoperability across Europe.
Freight trains will always play second fiddle to passenger rail. When there is a problem with infrastructure that causes trains to be delayed, the passenger trains will be the first to move once the problem is solved. Furthermore, passenger trains pay far less for track access charges than freight trains.
This is how it should be and is good for promoting passenger rail but bad for the cost competitiveness and speed of rail as a means to transport freight (if we compare it to road transport where there is no preferential treatment for cars over trucks in the...
Dutch government wants GPS on hazardous goods trains
A failure of proper registration procedures means freight wagons carrying dangerous goods in The Netherlands should be fitted with GPS trackers to ensure their location is always known, the Dutch Transport Secretary has said.
Sharon Dijkstra says too many rail yards are unaware of the cargoes aboard stationary freight trains, and both operators and the emergency services must be able to locate them quickly in the event of an emergency.
GPS trackers are necessary because too many yards are not complying with the mandatory registration of hazardous substances aboard trains while stationary in locations such as freight interchanges and sidings, she says.
The recommendations come after a meeting between Secretary Dijksma and representatives of the rail freight sector in Dordrecht, and follows a similar call by her last year for a total compulsory registration system for hazardous materials on trains.
The carriage of dangerous substances in The Netherlands is subject to strict national and international safety rules, but in an inspection the Dutch Environment and Transport Inspectorate found that only 75 per cent of stationary wagons carrying such materials were correctly registered last year.
While this is an improvement on the 60 per cent recorded in 2015, Secretary Dijksma is adamant that much faster action is needed: “It is in the interests of everyone living and working in and around rail yards that, in the event of an emergency, the emergency services can always see what is located where,” she said.
Much of the shortfall in the registration figures is down to a lack of organisation when wagons are being disconnected, moved and reconnected in the yards. The proposal to install GPS tracking equipment would enable operators, with the touch of a button, to know the precise location of wagons, and therefore lessen the potential for human error.
Dutch national railway infrastructure manager ProRail says carriers who repeatedly offend and do not take steps to contribute to improvements in procedures could be denied access to the rail network. The ILT inspects intensively on compliance of registration requirements, and there is the possibility that fines could also be imposed.
ProRail recently launched a new system for sending out alerts when there are small spillages of hazardous substances. The system is able to inform the emergency services about the nature of the spillage, so they can respond accordingly.
Last year there were 60 incidents involving spillages on the track, the majority of which (54) were at the Port of Rotterdam and Kijfhoek freight yard near Rotterdam. Of these, 50 involved only very small fluid spillages from freight wagons.
A ‘code red’ alert for these incidents meant firefighters in protective clothing were obliged to attend on each occasion because the nature of the spill was unknown. But on many occasions it was later deemed to have been unnecessary, as ProRail’s own staff were trained to deal with small leaks. Under the new syst...