Freight Tracks issue #8

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MAY 23 2022


Etihad Rail signs MoUs


CZ LOKO modernises class 742





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headline news Will ERTMS derail Dutch rail freight DFDS acquires primeRail Etihad signs MoUs news review NS’s green bonds fund low-carbon Ukraine needs your wagons! GEFCO introduces road-rail solution Right Royal Rail Freight Old King Cole dethroned

REGULARS the Date 38 Keep Railway industry events of the Line: 40 End Save the ten!

Cover photo: News that the roll out of European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) in the Netherlands has run into difficulties will come as no surprise to those that have been following the saga since 2017

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Press releases: May 23 2022 n 3

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ews that the roll out of European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) in the Netherlands has run into difficulties will come as no surprise to those that have been following the saga since 2017 – when the first warning signs that it wouldn’t be a smooth process were readily apparent. Five years ago, RailGood, the largest interest group for rail and intermodal freight operators in the Netherlands, demanded that the government halted the roll out of ERTMS Level 2 baseline 3. Dutch rail freight operators were worried that developing the project, coupled with an increase in infrastructure pricing, would severely impact on their competitive position. They claimed that ERTMS would not only undermine the competitiveness of Dutch ports, but place at risk the Netherland’s position as a freight distribution hub for the rest of Europe – RailGood even going as far to say that the halting of ERTMS was the only way for the country’s rail freight to survive. Matters were further complicated in 2017 by the fact that three versions of European Train Control System (ETCS) level 2 were in use on the Dutch rail network – ETCS being the signalling and control component of ERTMS

Bleak prediction

In May this year, in the progress update, Improvement Initiatives for Rail Freight, the Dutch secretary general for the Min-

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istry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Jan Hendrik Dronkers issued a bleak prediction that introducing ERTMS will devastate the Dutch rail freight market – slashing traffic by 23% from the predicted target of 62.6 million tonnes if urgent measures are not taken to properly prepare for the installation of the new signalling system. However, it wasn’t all bad news, as Dronkers reported that a further warning in 2020 regarding a predicted mass shortage of ERTMS-equipped freight locomotives had been heeded and that positive developments were being made and that a significant number of freight locomotives will have ERTMS installed in time for the opening of Kijfhoek -Belgian border section between 2026-2028.

Last Mile

In the report that accompanied the May 2022 progress update, it is stated that approximately 18% of the predicted 23% decline is as a result of the Netherlands forbidding shunting unless train protection is in place – shunting not yet being possible with ERTMS. In 2020 Wim Knopperts, Director of the Dutch ERTMS Programme, discussed the solutions that the programme is working on to overcome this problem. One solution being explored is the use of ETCS-light, for use on maintenance trains and also for the last mile, such as shunt moves. According to Knopperts, mobile ETCS-light would consist of a trolley conveying the essential ETCS equipment onboard a train or locomotive, making everything much cheaper. Knopperts also confirmed that the UK and France were examining this option.

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DUTCH RAIL FREIGHT? Dronkers touches on this in the latest report by saying: “It is good that the impact is now quantified and it is essential that this dilemma is now resolved,” and continued by saying: “Fortunately, there are solutions available for shunting with and without ERTMS, for example by modifications to the track or by the deployment of auxiliary equipment, which will be used to control this risk.” The use of ERTMS on long distance services has been ruled out.

Operational costs up by 8%

One problem for which there isn’t a cheap technical solution is that installing ERTMS increases the operational costs of freight transportation by 8% on average – a cost that is not included in the current ERTMS subsidy scheme. While such an increase is able to be absorbed for long distance international traffic, Dronkers reiterated that there is no easy solution for freight being carried over a shorter national distance, saying that such additional costs cannot simply be passed on to rail freight customers. This puts other forms of freight transport, such as road and water, at a clear advantage over rail and, according to the report, particularly in relation to multi-modal transport due to the flexible pricing that such a mode can offer. Tackling this economic problem would be extremely costly, to just halve its effect would cost approximately €180m, plus state aid rules could hamper any proposals for government assistance. Contracts to install ERTMS equipment to almost 150 freight locomotives were signed early last year. Funding is from Europe and the Netherlands, who are jointly subsidising 90% of the costs of the prototype and 50% of the series conversion.


According to Dronkers, the acquisition of Bombardier Transportation by Alstom in 2021 is having a significant impact on the rollout of ERTMS, due to the French company choosing to only fit its own ETCS equipment. Dronkers commented: “As a result, the conversion of about 90% of these freight locomotives is delayed,” continuing by saying: “It is expected that the rolling stock will be ready in time for the Kijfhoek - Belgian border line to open, but this could result in the loss of European subsidies. As a result, I have sent a letter to the European Commission requesting an extension of the subsidy period.” He added “In addition, a request for a European CEF subsidy for the conversion of some 370 other freight locomotives was also submitted in early 2022. It remains to be seen whether this subsidy will actually be granted.”

ERTMS in the UK

The first line in the UK to have ERTMS installed was the Cambrian coast route. This saw a new control centre constructed at Machynlleth in 2010 and the abolition of the last semaphore signals and signal boxes, although the new control centre does fringe with the manual signal box at Sutton Bridge Junction, just outside of Shrewsbury. While there were a few teething problems, once the system settled down it has proved to be reliable. It has subsequently been installed on Thameslink – to enable up to 24 trains an hour to operate through the core – and is being installed on the Moorgate branch. The next big ERTMS project is on the East Coast Main Line between King’s Cross and Peterborough. May 23 2022 n 5

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FDS and primeRail have signed an agreement to become one company as DFDS acquires the German rail operator company. The acquisition strengthens DFDS’ rail offerings and is a testament to DFDS’ ambition to find sustainable ways to continue providing reliable and valuable services. The acquisition also marks the launch of a new rail business area in DFDS. primeRail operates continental and maritime transport logistics concepts

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in a combination of rail and road and was founded in 2019. In 2020, DFDS launched a new “Intermodal Transport Competence Center” in Cologne, in partnership with primeRail, to provide intermodal solutions for DFDS customers. The acquisition is an important step to realising our large ambitions within intermodality by combining ferry and rail transportation. Peder Gellert Pedersen, Executive Vice President and Head of Ferry Division at DFDS, says: “For DFDS, this is an important strate-

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gic step. We have been looking for the right partners with the same value set and commercial orientation as DFDS. primerRail fulfills this, and it is, therefore, a perfect match. We connect our ports by rail to inland terminals. Thereby offering a smooth and environment-friendly transport network to the benefit of our customers and society.”

New DFDS business unit rail

primeRail will operate as a new business area Rail in DFDS covering prim-

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eRail and the existing DFDS intermodal business. The rail business area is organised within the Mediterranean business unit and headed by Patrick Zilles, currently CEO of primeRail.

Turkish route network

As Vice President and Head of Rail, Patrick Zilles reports to Head of Mediterranean, Lars Hoffmann, who says: “Since we acquired our Turkish route network in mid-2018, we have learned how much value train solutions can add to our busi-

ness model and network. “We extend our network, and with the increasing focus on green solutions, it’s a natural step to develop our train set-up further. “We have since 2018 doubled our number of weekly trains; it is, therefore, natural to take the next step. “We see an increasing demand for rail transport combined with our ferry routes and logistics services. Partnering with primeRail allows us to offer additional intermodal solutions. “Customers can drop off units at our

terminals in Turkey and pick them up in Europe very close to the end destinations.” Zilles stated: “I am proud that after successful co-operation with DFDS, primeRail will now become an important part of one of the leading ferry networks in Europe. primeRail will be integrated into DFDS, maximising mobility with cost-effective and innovative intermodal transport solutions.” The complete integration of primeRail into DFDS is expected to be completed within the year. May 23 2022 n 7

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railMybox digitalises inte container transport T

o simplify rail-road combined transport, EUROGATE Intermodal (EGIM) is launching the cloud-based, all-in-one booking platform railMybox. This end-to-end product digitalises the entire transport process – from capacity planning and pricing to booking and billing. Useful web analysis tools are also integrated into the platform. With railMybox, customers not only benefit from faster, easier and more sustainable container transport, but also gain visibility and control, says the company. railMybox’s booking platform offers a range o f user-friendly transport solutions, all from a single source. Customers can get their containers moving in a few clicks. As early as the booking stage, users are shown real-time capacities, rates and transit times for various climate-neutral transport options. Meanwhile, intelligent filter functions ensure transparency and enhance simplicity. In addition, railMybox offers a fixed price guarantee with no hidden costs or subsequent fees after booking. railMybox markets EGIM ’s own capacities. The platform operates entirely independently, which ensures maximum booking security for customers. Container transports can be tracked in real time through a user-friendly dashboard. In addition, all commercial documents, such as waybills and invoices, are digitally stored. Finally, automatic notifications keep customers up to date with the latest status of their transport. With railMybox, EGIM is responding to increasing demand for sustainable container transport. The new platform combines climate -neutral rail connections, which use 100% green electricity, with efficient last-mile road transports from an incorporated partner company. If desired, customers can eliminate their carbon footprint by fully offsetting all emissions for a fee. railMybox sets industry benchmarks for smart intermodal transport and digital logistics. The new technology is designed to support all customers along the supply chain. “We are proud to be a market pioneer and to further advance digital transformation in logistics with railMybox. This comprehensive platform sets a new industry standard and makes our customers’ transport processes faster, easier and more sustainable than ever before,” says Christopher Beplat, Managing Director of EUROGATE Intermodal GmbH.

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Etihad Rail signs MoUs with Europea

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an companies in the railway sector E

tihad Rail has signed three Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with Renfe, Spain’s national railway operator; High Speed 1, the first high-speed railway in United Kingdom (UK); and GB Railfreight, the British rail freight company. The MoUs are based on exchanging knowledge, expertise, and best practices in freight and passenger rail services and operations. This comes as part of Etihad Rail’s efforts for developing railway services as part of the UAE National Railways Programme.


The MoUs were signed during the second day of Middle East Rail 2022, which was hosted by Etihad Rail and held under the patronage of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and in partnership with the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure and the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi. The two-day event was held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre (ADNEC). The MoUs were signed by Shadi Malak, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Rail, and Juan Matías Archilla, Senior Manager of International Business at Renfe, Dyan Crowther, Chief Executive Officer of High Speed 1, and John Smith, Chief Executive Officer of GB Railfreight, in the presence of officials from both sides. Spain’s national railway operator, Renfe, a leader in rail transport for passengers and goods, operates the largest high-speed rail network in Europe and the second largest in the world. High Speed ​​1 is a British company that operates high-speed passenger trains in the UK and has the concession

to own, operate and maintain the UK’s only high-speed railway. In addition, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight company in the UK, and one of the fastest-growing companies in the railway sector, moving 22% of the UK’s rail freight. Shadi Malak, CEO of Etihad Rail, said: “Etihad Rail is committed to achieving the goals of the National Railways Programme and completing the Etihad Rail project on schedule. “We are constantly working to sign agreements and build partnerships to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the National Rail Network, as part of Etihad Rail’s diligent efforts for bolstering co-operation and exchanging

expertise with some of the global leaders in the railway network, to provide the best world-class services.” The MoUs centre on exchanging knowledge, expertise, and the best practices in the railway sector, rail maintenance, and managing technical development such as the planning, development, design and commissioning. Etihad Rail hosted the 16th edition of Middle East Rail, which was held in Abu Dhabi for the first time. Middle East Rail is the largest transport event in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, brought together leaders of the entire transportation community, forward-thinking senior executives, key decision makers, and government representatives to convene, discuss the most pressing topics in the global railway and transportation sector and highlight the latest innovations in the industry. The commercial event brought together more than 600 industry VIPs, relevant government officials, transport and infrastructure industry experts from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), There were more than 6000 attendees, more than 200 speakers, and more than 250 exhibitors at the event enabling significant industry networking.. May 23 2022 n 11

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FS Group reveals €190 billion 10 year indu


long-term strategic and in dustrial vision supported by an investment plan of more than €190 billion over the next ten

years. The 2022-2031 Industrial Plan of the Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane Group, which also envisages a profound redefi-

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nition of governance and a new organisational structure, was presented today in Rome by the Chairwoman of FS Italiane, Nicoletta Giadrossi, and the CEO, Luigi Ferraris. The ten-year plan aims to ensure that infrastructure works are completed on schedule; prioritise multimodal collective

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transport over private transport; double rail freight compared to 2019; make rail and road infrastructure more sustainable, accessible, effectively integrated and resilient, expanding the network to reduce the gap between the country’s north and south; increase the group’s level of energy autonomy through re-

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ustrial plan newable sources and contribute to the ecological transition in this area as well. In order to fully exploit the potential of all group companies and make a decisive contribution to the sustainable development of the country which is already experiencing extraordinary events such as the pandemic and international

conflicts, the need emerged to redefine the governance and revise the organisational structure into four business hubs, each with clear strategic objectives: ‘Infrastructure’, ‘Passengers’, ‘Logistics’, and ‘Urban’. The new organisation aims to strengthen the synergies of all the companies operating in the group and to increase their efficiency, also in terms of planning and design. The international landscape and the geopolitical tensions behind rising inflation, the effects of the pandemic and those of climate change on infrastructure, all combined with an awareness of the role that transport, logistics and infrastructure can play in the sustainable development of the country, have also contributed to shaping the new corporate reorganisation. The enabling factors of the 20222031 Industrial Plan, which are key to its implementation, are innovation, digitisation, connectivity and development of the group’s people. Particular attention is paid to the ecological transition, with activities to improve efficiency and reduce consumption combined with new initiatives to leverage assets by installing plants to produce electricity from renewable sources, to ensure that at least 40% of the group’s needs are covered. In the international arena, the FS Group wants to ensure sole control over the business, aiming to generate further value in the countries where it is already present: France, Spain, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands and the UK. Outside Europe, Ferrovie dello Stato also plans to export integrated know-how through partnerships. FS Group revenues in 2031 are expected to grow to around €22.5 billion and EBITDA to €3.9 billion, with an average annual growth rate (CAGR) over the plan period of 6.9% and 8.2%, respectively. “The goal of the 2022-2031 Industrial Plan is to accelerate investments and provide more certainty that works will be completed on schedule thanks to a longterm vision. “We are working to make our infra-

structure more modern, interconnected and resilient, and our mobility services tailored to the different needs of our customers. “We intend to promote a multimodal, collective transport that is more sustainable even in urban areas, double the share of freight transport by rail, and contribute to the ecological transition not only by making the use of rail – the most environmentally friendly means of transport par excellence – more attractive, but also by self-producing at least 40% of our substantial energy needs from renewable sources. “The plan envisages the recruitment of 40,000 people over ten years and sees

The goal of the Industrial Plan is to accelerate investments people as its main enabler, along with innovation, digital transformation and connectivity. Un tempo nuovo, a new promising era is beginning for us all, and I am certain that our people, today as yesterday, will know how to turn this plan into reality, proving themselves equal to the challenges that await us”, explained Luigi Ferraris, CEO of the Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane Group. May 23 2022 n 13

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Boost for UK rail freight a to improve staff safety an


n a first for rail freight in Britain, Network Rail has joined with key industry partners to tackle delays and safety risks in a boost for the country’s thriving freight sector. Data analysis by Network Rail, freight operators and the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) has shown that most delays on the freight network are due to wagon defects, including various brake faults, wheel faults, decoupling and door faults. If undetected, these defects have the potential to cause delays and safety risks to rail traffic. The Condition of Freight Vehicles on the Network (CFVN) programme – funded by Network

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Rail’s £20m Freight Safety Improvement Portfolio (FSIP) – has developed processes for train preparation, wagon maintenance and the important role human factors play in performing safety critical tasks to reduce risk and improve performance across the network. David Ethell, independent project manager for the National Freight Safety Group (NFSG), which oversees the CFVN programme, said: “This is a sector wide project looking at learning and sharing good practice from across all the freight operating companies in Britain, to find where improvements can be made so we can introduce one common in-

dustry standard for the sa trains and vehicles. “The maintenance of scribed standards and the by qualified and compete requirements of operating resourcing the CFVN work try can collaborate and bu of the factors impacting th Speaking at the launc freight yard – one of the where on average around and depart the yard each

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as industry joins forces nd performance

afe preparation of freight

f freight wagons to pree safe preparation of trains ent staff are fundamental g a safe freight railway. By kstream the freight indusuild better understanding his risk.” ch at DB Cargo’s Margam e company’s busiest sites d 40 freight trains arrive h day – Dougie Hill, from

RSSB, spoke to the DB Cargo operations and engineering teams performing these safety critical duties and said: “We need to hear your experiences. Your roles are of key importance in the safe operation of freight trains and fundamental to assisting the sector in improving and reducing derailment risk. Having such expertise on the ground every day is critical in the safe delivery of freight traffic. “Sharing professional knowledge and understanding the challenges faced by the teams will be key in the development of CFVN risk mitigation action plans. “I am delighted by how engaged, positive and

motivated the ground staff and wagon fitters at Margam are in assisting us in this most important project.” Marc Binney, head of safety for DB Cargo, said: “This very much a collaborative approach being taken by the freight sector. The project is incorporating all the rail freight operators where we will be looking at things collectively to find what we can do better together as an industry. When I look at the other freight operators, I see that we are all doing some train preparation and processes slightly differently so this project will look at how we can introduce a cohesive industry wide standard.” May 23 2022 n 15

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CZ LOKO to modernise 25 class


Z LOKO won a tender to modernise more class 742 diesel locomotives for the largest domestic freight carrier CD Cargo. The contract provides for the delivery of 25 locomotives and an option for five more. The conclusion of the second contract was confirmed by Tomas Toth, Chairman of the Board of Directors of CD Cargo. The first contract was for 50 units. If the carrier uses the option, it will have a total of 80 mod-

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ernised class 742.71X machines. CZ LOKO also calls this class EffiShunter 1000M. CD Cargo did not specify the contract value; in the previous contract, the work on one locomotive cost below CZK 42 million ($1.7 million). The machines, built between 1977 and 1986, need to be modernised because of their unsustainability. Class 742 locomotives are the foundation of CD Cargo’s fleet, with 140 of them deployed daily.

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742 locomotives for CD Cargo

CD Cargo currently has a total of 37 converted class 742.71X locomotives. This is a complete modernisation, where only the main frame and chassis, which also undergo a major modification, remain from the original vehicles. The rest is new, including ETCS signaling system installation. The 1000 kW internal combustion engine allows a maximum speed of 100 km/h. It is approved for operation in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. May 23 2022 n 17

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he Business Report of Baton Rouge, LA is reporting on what it describes as a “dispute between Amtrak and two freight companies” that could threaten implementation of a New Orleans-to-Mobile passenger service. However, their fight should not impact plans for Baton Rouge-to-New Orleans service, reports the website, because in that case the important players are all on board, says John Spain, vice chair of the Southern Rail Commission. Amtrak has publicly committed to establishing a Baton Rouge-to-New-Orleans passenger route, subject to federal approval of Canadian Pacific Railway’s pending acquisition of railways Kansas City Southern owns. In April, governor of Louisiana John Bel Edwards, transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson, Federal Railroad Administration head Amit Bose, as well as executives with Amtrak, KCS and CP all rode on a train used to identify needed upgrades along the route. Spain says the trip demonstrates

their commitment to the planned project. “Canadian Pacific is Amtrak’s number one passenger partner,” Spain is quoted by the website. “They know how to deal with the combination of freight and passenger service.” While Amtrak does not have a similar relationship with CSX or Norfolk Southern, the rail giants that own most of the tracks the agency wants to use along the Gulf Coast. The freight companies argue that a resumption of passenger service could ensnare their routes with traffic, causing costly delays in the country’s supply chain at a time when businesses are already plagued by shortages and slowed shipments. “If CSX and Norfolk Southern are successful in blocking this, then dreams of expanded passenger rail will begin to wither and die in every part of the country,” John Robert Smith, the former mayor of Meridian, Mississippi, who chairs advocacy group Transportation for America is reported to have said.

NX China launches cross-border service with neighboring ASEAN countries


ippon Express (China). a group company of Nippon Express Holdings, on Friday April 1 launched a new multimodal transport service linking up China and neighbouring ASEAN countries via truck transport that utilises an international railway connecting China and Laos. This service is a multimodal service for transporting cargo by rail between Kunming, China, and Vientiane, Laos,

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and then by truck from Vientiane to Thailand and other neighboring countries across the international border with Thailand’s Nong Khai Province. This service provides a reliable lead time of five days. This eco-friendly express transport service reduces CO2 emissions by using rail transport and shortens lead time by half a day compared to conventional transport by cross-border trucks only.

Service development

Following the successful launch of a Nanning-Hanoi railway, a new Chi-

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na-Laos railway connecting Kunming and Vientiane was opened on December 3 2021. Cross-border trucking previously constituted the mainstream of ground transport connecting China and ASEAN countries, but Nippon Express China has developed a multimodal transport service using rail transport that avoids congestion on the China-Laos border, shortens lead times and enables bulk transport by using the new connecting railway to Vientiane. Trial transport has already been carried out from Kunming to Ayutthaya, Thailand.

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he World Socialist website has urged North American railroaders to organise themselves to fight against the threatened implementation of one-man crews. “Railroaders should establish a network of rank-and-file committees, building upon the establishment earlier this year of committees at BNSF and Canadian Pacific, to unite workers at all seven Class I railroads in the US, Canada and Mexico,” said a website statement. In public remarks, BNSF CEO Katie Farmer declared that the company was using “aggressive measures,” including a possible move to single person crews, to deal with labour shortages and service issues that are plaguing the industry. This followed similar statements by railroad executives last month at a federal hearing on the freight rail industry. These problems, to a large extent, are “self-inflicted, the result of the profit-driven frenzy to squeeze every last cent out of the railroads. Even as reliability has plummeted, BNSF reported an operating income last year of $8.8 billion, a 13.7% increase from the pre-

vious year. BNSF also saw their revenue increase to $22.5 billion, 11.6% more than last year’s total. The real reason the railroads are in shambles is because they are controlled by giant hedge funds and super-rich individuals who view them not as critical components of public infrastructure but as personal piggy banks, said the website.

Limits of human endurance

To the extent that they have any solution to the crisis facing the railroads, it is by “exploiting the workforce past the limits of human endurance. Things were bad enough before. Now, after the institution of the Hi Viz attendance policy, which destroys any possibility of engineers and conductors having a family or personal life outside of work, hundreds have left the profession.” The website feels It was likely this was the plan all along—to trigger a worsening manpower crisis through the policy in order to justify a push for single-man crews, which the railroads have been demanding for years.

Hi Viz, “super pools,” which send crews down routes where they have little experience and lax safety measures during the Covid pandemic have created conditions in the railroads that are dangerous both for workers and for the public at large. Crews are running trains exhausted and stressed out, creating conditions for mistakes and deadly accidents. One-man crews, under which only one single overworked engineer rides trains that are 8000 feet long or more, will lead to tragic and preventable deaths. “The railroads have the full backing of the courts, the Biden administration, Congress and both big business parties. The upholding of Hi Viz by a federal judge this year, who also banned workers from striking against it or engaging in “self help,” recalls the hated “government by injunction” of more than a hundred years ago,” says the website. Hi Viz is stuck in arbitration, where it will stay tied up potentially for years until a federal mediator inevitably issues a ruling favorable to the company.

Southern Railway of India operates its first Parcel Cargo Express train


he Chennai Division of Southern Railway as part of its Business Development Unit (BDU) initiatives started the first service of leased Parcel Cargo Express train (PCET) o­n a round trip basis from Royapuram to Guwahati carrying cloth bales, motorbike spares, car tyres, fans, chocolates and other commodities. The anticipated minimum revenue from this PCET is Rs.45.75 crores during the contract period of six years and freight charges per round trip is 21.9 lakhs for 15 parcel vans of 24 tonnes capacity.

This parcel cargo train will take 62 hours to cover a distance of 2,716 kms

twice in a month. This round trip Parcel Cargo Express train services will consist of 15 parcel vans of 24 tonnes capacity each and o­ne brake van for the first six months of operation. Going forward, the number of parcel vans would be increased to 20 parcel vans until completion of a six year contract period. This new service will attract loose traffic benefitting traders, businessmen and industrial units thus enabling a wider market for their products in North Eastern States. May 23 2022 n 19

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n a new southern Trans-Caspian route, the first fulllength container train from Nurminen Logistics departed May 10 2022, from Chongqing, China. The route starts from China and runs via Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Romania to Central Europe. The route avoids entering Russia territory. The company built the route in two months from scratch in co-operation with Kazakh railroads. It should be noted that earlier, on March 17, the company temporarily closed its office in Russia. Nurminen Logistics built the route in two months from scratch together with the Kazakh railways, which speaks about the company’s extensive expertise and ability to react quickly to customer needs in a changing global logistics field. The Trans-Caspian route, which combines rail and sea transport, responds perfectly to the needs of modern transport chains, where time and environmental friendliness play a significant role; transport time from China to Central Europe is approximately three times faster than sea freight. “Opening the route required strong confidence from China Railways in our operations and, above all, our customers’ trust in us. “In addition, Nurminen’s international railway team also

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showed excellent expertise and implementation in a difficult and fast-paced situation,” says Olli Pohjanvirta, CEO of Nurminen Logistics. There is strong demand for the new route and the first train is full. The next train, which leaves on May 25, is almost sold out, as there are only a few spaces left.

Wide range of products

Weekly departures are scheduled to begin in June. The first train has containers with a wide range of products from European customers. The containers include components from various industries and summer products from jacuzzis to outdoor sports equipment. The Trans-Caspia route strengthens Nurminen’s current door-to-door rail service between Asia and Nordic countries and container train services between Norway, Sweden, and Finland. “The route will also increase the company’s customer base in Central Europe and enable the further development of the company’s multimodal transport solutions.

NS’s green bonds fund low-carbon initiatives

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orfolk Southern Corporation has released a report on projects funded by the $500 million in green bonds issued by the company in 2021. The report provides a comprehensive overview of the funded projects, as well as expected environmental and social benefits. “Sustainability is in our company’s DNA,” said Mark George, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Norfolk Southern. “Our industry-first green bond offering funds projects that align our efforts to reduce carbon emissions and advance sustainable business practices, all while delivering longterm value for our customers, communities, and shareholders.” Norfolk Southern is a leader in delivering the low-carbon economy and was the first Class I railroad in North America to issue green bonds. The company allocated $496 million in net proceeds from its green bonds to fund eligible projects, as defined under Norfolk Southern’s Green Financing Framework. Projects include:

n $275.6 million to fund DC to AC locomotive power conver-

sions: Modernising an existing locomotive avoids approximately 200 tons of total carbon emissions versus producing a new AC locomotive. This also improves fuel efficiency up to 25%. n $99.5 million in Intermodal facility improvements: Will further support efforts to shift millions of tonnes of freight onto the railroad to decongest US highways. n $10.9 million to further locomotive fuel management initiatives: This directly supports Norfolk Southern’s science-based target to reduce carbon emissions intensity 42% by 2034. n $3.4 million to build upon the company’s nature-based solutions that restore and protect vital stream and wetland ecosystems. “Norfolk Southern intends to build on its industry-leading position in delivering the low-carbon economy while helping customers reduce their supply chain emissions,” said Josh Raglin, Chief Sustainability Officer for Norfolk Southern. “From improved fuel efficiency of our locomotive fleet to ecological projects that restore natural landscapes, we believe these funds are driving a sustainable future and long-term value for all our stakeholders.”


AP (Verband der verladenden Wirtschaft) is calling on its members to urgently help out on the current troubled Ukrainian rail situation. After a meeting with over 300 members on the topic “Ukraine Solidarity Lanes” it became clear that Ukraine urgently needs freight wagons in the coming weeks to transport the harvest of millions of tonnes of grain. Dr Frank Furrer, VAP general secretary, said: “Do you have rolling stock that can be made available to Ukraine? “We are looking for rolling stock (older or decommissioned wagons from existing production) that can be made available for a few weeks or up to two years. Any support is welcome, other agricultural goods are also needed. “The EU will soon provide information about the so-called “matchmaking” platform, where the exchange of all actors will take place. “Information on questions such as insurance, coordination of wagon transfers and details on how to proceed will follow promptly. In this step, it is necessary to determine whether and which cars can be borrowed. “Please let Jürgen Maier, from the logistics department at the VAP, know whether you are able to provide wagons or anything else and to what extent. We thank you in advance for your support in this exceptional situation.” If you are able to assist, contact May 23 2022 n 21

headline news

GEFCO introduces road-rail solution for Toyota Motor Europe


EFCO has created an innovative road-rail solution to save Toyota Motor Europe in CO2 emissions. Drawing on GEFCO’s multimodal logistics expertise, this service transports automotive parts in reusable containers from Spain to the north of France in two daily return journeys. Compared with the previous road-only transportation, this solution enables Toyota to significantly reduce its carbon footprint. This latest logistics solution builds on GEFCO’s strong 20-year partnership with Toyota Motor Europe to supply factories with parts in France, the United Kingdom and other European countries. Yvon Pasquiou, Sales and Marketing Director for GEFCO France, explains: “One of our priorities is finding solutions to help our supply chain partners reduce their carbon footprint. In true partnersship, unlimited spirit, our teams worked closely with Toyota Motor Europe teams to design a tailored transport flow that reduces our customer’s carbon footprint. We’re delighted to able to rise to the challenge of helping Toyota in Europe adopt more sustainable logistics practices, and strengthen our partnership in the process.” GEFCO’s multimodal solutions are

designed to meet growing demand for logistics flows with a reduced environmental footprint, as well as optimised, secure transit times. They also cushion clients from the impact of rising energy prices and the shortage of long-haul truck drivers.

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news review

Norfolk Southern CEO shares vision

UNITED STATES Norfolk Southern will deliver long-term value to shareholders by becoming more customer-centric and operations-driven, President and CEO Alan H Shaw said at the company’s annual meeting. “My first priority, and the top priority of every member of the Norfolk Southern team, is to restore service to the quality our customers expect and deserve. We have a great team and we’re taking the right steps: accelerating our new TOP|SPG operating plan and hiring the conductors we need to execute the plan reliably,” said Shaw. “Being customer-centric means making it easier for our customers to do business with Norfolk Southern and delivering innovative solutions to help them compete and grow. “Complementing our commitment to customer centricity is our focus on being operations-driven, which means that our success depends entirely on our ability to run a safe, reliable, and resilient railroad. “Every department at Norfolk Southern is aligned as we serve our customers. “Delivering safe, reliable and resilient service with competitive pricing, helping our customers achieve their sustainability goals, and making it easier for our customers to ship by rail will enable Norfolk Southern and our partners to capitalise on market conditions that remain favorable for truck to rail conversion,” said Shaw.

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Caledonian Sleeper names locomotive in honour of Railway Heritage Trust

UNITED KINGDOM Caledonian Sleeper has named one of the engines which powers its iconic cross-border service in honour of the Railway Heritage Trust (RHT) as a token of thanks for supporting the company’s major restoration project at Perth station, Scotland. A historic building that dates back to 1848, Perth Station was designed on a grand scale in keeping with the Tudor Gothic style of the time. However, in 2018 the vast size of the station meant that many rooms were lying empty. Caledonian Sleeper restored the interior décor of an unused waiting area to create a luxury guest lounge as well as a staff training centre. The RHT provided a generous grant to help fund the refurbishment. In recognition of this support, Caledonian Sleeper has teamed up with GB Railfreight, which operates the fleet of Class 92 engines that help power the company’s iconic overnight rail service, to name one of the engines in honour of the Trust. A plaque was unveiled on the engine at London Euston to mark the occasion. Kathryn Darbandi, Serco’s Managing Director for Caledonian Sleeper, said:

May 23 2022 @freighttracks

“We’re honoured to be naming one of the Class 92’s after the Railway Heritage Trust and proud to have worked with the Trust on our restoration project at Perth Station. “It’s incredibly important that we protect the heritage features of the UK’s iconic railway network, while also ensuring the network is fit for use in the 21st Century, so it can be enjoyed for many years to come.”

Vital infrastructure

Andy Savage, Deputy Chairman of the Railway Heritage Trust, added: ‘We are deeply grateful to Caledonian Sleeper and to GB Railfreight for allowing one of their Class 92 engines to carry the Railway Heritage Trust name. John Smith, CEO of GB Railfreight, said: “We share the Railway Heritage Trust’s ambition to protect the UK’s historic railway network while modernising the vital infrastructure we all rely on. Given the cultural significance of Perth Station, we’re grateful for the support they’ve provided to Caledonian Sleeper and are proud to have one of our Class 92 locos carry the Trust’s nameplates.”

news review

PAST Adif tenders lease of spaces in the MISSED ISSUES? Albacete Goods Transport Terminal


SPAIN SPANISH rail infrastructure operator Adif has closed the tender forlease of various spaces in the Albacete Freight Transport Terminal, which must be used by the successful bidder to carry out services related to rail transport. The spaces object of the tender occupy an area of ​​39,365 sq m and are configured by the following infrastructures: • Plot of 10,600 sq m, unpaved, in the northern area of ​​the facility, attached to the Renfe Manufacturing and Maintenance workshops. • Access area and vehicle parking. • Logistics Zone: Reinforced concrete beach, 340 m long, for intermodal treatment of trains, storage and transfer to trucks, with an area of ​​approximately 8000 sq m. The tender contract establishes a duration of 10 years and a minimum tender budget of €3,879,780 (VAT not included). This contract may be extended for an additional five years, prior agreement between the parties, for a minimum amount of €2,247,600 (VAT not included). The successful bidder must make investments of a minimum amount of €10 million in the spaces and facilities that are the object of the tender. These investments must be carried out in the first five years of the term of the contract. Potential bids had to be submitted to the East Logistics Services Area Management, located at C/ Bailén, nº 5, 2nd

floor CP 46007 Valencia, until April 28 2022 at 11:00. Once the deadline for submitting these has passed, a public opening will be held, scheduled for May 5 2022, where all the offers received were announced. The Albacete Freight Transport Terminal, owned by Adif, is located on Calle




#7 Felipe V, northeast of the city, between the A-31 and A-32 highways, and the Albacete-Los Llanos station, and connects directly with Madrid, Valencia, Alicante and Murcia. May 23 2022 n 25

news review

SECR operates 237-wagon train in Indian coal crisis

INDIA The New Indian Express is reporting that India’s South East Central Railway (SECR) zone, headquartered in Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, linked together four freight trains into one unit to ease the crisis of coal shortage faced by the thermal power plants. Amid the ongoing coal crisis on the sub-continent, the website has reported this is the first time a single long haul freight train was operated by SECR as ‘Super Shesh-Naag’. Powered by four electric locomotives, it amalgamated four freight trains supplying the coal to power plants with critically low stock. Twelve crew members operated the single goods train comprising of 237 wagons loaded with coal that initially covered a distance of 350 km from Korba district in Chhattisgarh to Nagpur on Tuesday. Korba happens to be India’s biggest coal and power-producing district and alone produces 17% of the India’s coal. The Chhattisgarh-based South Eastern Coalfield Limited (SECL), an undertaking of Coal India Limited, has been pressed into action to further increase daily production by 125,000 tonnes. SECL supplies coal to seven major states.

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Keeping tags on freight to improve safety across the UK railway UNITED KINGDOM A new safety scheme has launched which will fit more than 15,000 of Britain’s freight locomotives and wagons with technology that enables the condition of wheelsets – a pair of wheels mounted on an axle – to be monitored in real-time. Defective or worn wheelsets can cause broken rails and damage to wagons if left untreated and can lead to safety issues and delays on the railway for both passenger and freight trains. The two-year project, part of the Freight Safety Improvement Portfolio’s

locomotives, which means we are harvesting data every time a train or vehicle operates – much of which has not been visible before. “It’s a collaborative effort which delivers joint benefit. “We are introducing improved systems and processes for data sharing with freight operators and freight customers to provide a cohesive approach to wagon maintenance leading to even further safety for our railway and ultimately less disruption and delays to passengers and freight trains.”

(FSIP’s) £22m fund, will see 30,000 radio frequency identification (RFID) tags being fitted to both sides of freight locomotives and wagons. When the tagged train passes a reader on the side of the track – at one of 22 sites – information regarding each wheelset is captured. This is then sent to engineers via cloud-based technology to see if any maintenance work is needed. Steve Rhymes, Head of Network Management at Network Rail, said: “This is a prime example of how the rail freight industry works together to continue to innovate and put safety first using technology. “Each freight operator is fitting them to each side of their wagons and

The scheme has been welcomed by freight operating companies and freight customers. Freightliner Group has already fitted 73% of the tags, funded by FSIP, to locomotives and wagons. Deanne Haseltine, the company’s head of engineering compliance, said: “This scheme has already made a positive difference to the whole industry by helping us to accurately pinpoint and identify defects to individual wheelsets at the earliest opportunity. “Having the ability to identify faults and plan repairs to wheelsets in advance means we can safely remove a wagon from service if needed and avoid unnecessary disruption on the network and to our customers.”

May 23 2022 @freighttracks

news review


SWEDEN TX Logistik AB, the Swedish subsidiary of Germany’s TX Logistik AG, has run a train with a length of 838 metres in Sweden. The rail logistics company, which is part of the Mercitalia Group (Gruppo FS Italiane), operated the fully loaded train on the approximately 500 km route between Malmö and Frövi in Örebro province. Foodstuffs from the Swedish retail chain Coop were transported. The Swedish transport infrastructure authority Trafikverket was the third partner involved in the test run. So far, only trains with a maximum length of 630 metres are permitted on most routes in Sweden. “An expansion to 838 metres would significantly increase transport capacities and thus make rail freight transport even more efficient and attractive for shippers,” says Lars Winther Sørensen, Managing Director of TX Logistik AB in Sweden. This is in turn an essential prerequisite for shifting more goods from road to rail. Even for goods that have so far been transported almost exclusively by road, Lars Winther Sørensen believes that more extensive use of rail is possible. The use of longer trains is also an important impulse for climate-smart rail transport. In particular, the combination of

high load capacity per train and high speed ensures a highly productive transport system. The test train carried 48 semitrailers and travelled at speeds of up to 120 kilometres per hour. This was faster than trains in comparable test runs in other countries. It was driven by a four-axle locomotive, which is normally used in rail freight transport.

Round trips double

Coop has transported food and other goods by rail in Sweden from 2009. Since 2012, TX Logistik has been running for the retail chain between Bro, 30 kilometres northwest of Stockholm, and Malmö. Just two years ago, the number of round trips was doubled from ten to 20. “Today, 30% of our transports are handled by rail,” explains Peter Rosendahl, transport manager at Coop Logistik. The retail chain would like to increase the share further. “That’s why we participated in this forward-looking project and hope to be able to extend our trains in the near future.” TX Logistik, Coop and Trafikverket worked closely together to plan and implement the two test runs on May 8 and 9. Further tests in Sweden are planned. May 23 2022 n 27

news review

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The Art of Railway Publishing


This no holds barred book looks at incidents, some A Funny Thing Happened humourous, some rather on the Train to London less so, that have happened Limited edition during the rail commute into London over the years.

RIGHT ROYAL Princess Elizabeth, the heir to the British throne, was staying in Kenya with her husband Prince Phillip when she heard of the death of her father King George VI. Without delay, she returned home where she was proclaimed Queen Elizabeth II’ aged just 25.

THE BIG FOUR london midland & scottish rly london north eastern railway great western railway southern railway

1952 30 n

A snapshot of Britain’s nationalised railway on the day of Elizabeth’s to terms with melding four main private railway companies – the Big F & white pre-Beeching, pre-modernisation PLAN, pre-TOPs, pre-privatisati


s Britain and its Commonwealth celebrate the Monarch’s 70 years on the throne, the modern rail freight industry is well documented and the lived experienced of the present railway community. How was it, though, in Britain on the day that Elizabeth ascended the throne? Helpfully, a booklet was published by the nationalised British Railways organisation gives a ‘state of the union’ review of that year. “Facts about British Railways” is a small, 36page booklet which was published for British Railways by the Railway Executive, then based on the Marylebone Road in the former Great Central Railway hotel. In its foreword, the authors remark that the publication mirrors the 1947 booklet compiled by the “former railway companies.” It must be remembered that the ascension took place just four years, five weeks from the January 1 1948 nationalisation of the railways in Britain. So the organisation was still very young and this booklet was very much an attempt by the Railway Executive to spell out its assets to the public that now owned the railways.

Unceasing activity

The publication started with a chipper comment that “the object of re-issuing the booklet is to make available once more the principal facts and figures that mirror the unceasing activities of the busiest railway system in the world.” The authors were keen to start with some uplifting facts about British Railways for the reader. Britain had the first and busiest railways in the world. It carried a million tons of freight each weekday, helping to generate daily revenues of £1,000,000 (about £30 million in 2022’s values). It was also one of Britain’s largest employers at almost 600,000 employees and moved 77% of all deep-mined coal dug up in a typical year.

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On a 17,500 miles (28 ish Railways trains covere those of any other coun than three times the mile ways together. As revealed in the pu the previous year are ey ing that £1 in 1952 is the the entire operation earn Rail freight accounted f incredible £8 billion of th 71% of total income. In values, rail freight gener £33.05 million in parce passenger trains; £99.77 lion in merchandise and stock; £36.76 millions in m als; and £91.32 million in and coke. With receipts in 195 £373.72 million and cos £337.7 milllion, British ways enjoyed a profit of £ million that year. This a ly was the largest profit 1947, the last year of p ownership. In 1951, British Rai carried 285 million ton freight. This volume was m on some of the 16,000 trains and handled at of the 958 marshalling then in operation. The b marshalling yard was at H England’s east coast which dled 45,000 wagons a we inherited some 1.1 millio some 24,000 “road-rail co Total staff numbers we


ascension on Wednesday February 6 1952 shows a new operation coming our – into a coherent state-controlled entity. This is a faraway black ion world that welcomed the new monarch.

8,000 km) network, Brited a greater mileage than ntry in Europe and more eage of all Canadian rail-

ublication, the figures for ye watering. Remembere equivalent of £30 today, ned £11.18 billion income. for an hat, or 1952 rated: els by 7 mild liveminern coal

vour of the pre-#MeToo world at the start of the 1950s, the number of females employed by British Railways was pulled out of the total: 37,664 or 5.2%. It is fair to imagine that they were employed in the pre-IT offices of the railway.

Freight traffic and facilities

“During 1951, British Railways carried nearly 285

51 of sts of Rail£34.95 actualsince private

ilways ns of

moved Ex-GWR South Wales main line. The short Class H freight of just four daily wagons is headed by Churchward 43XX 2-6-0 No. 6304. April 14 1962 some yards busiest Hull on h hanmillion tons of revenue-earning freight. Over half eek. British Railways had of this tonnage is coal traffic, upon which the main on rail freight wagons and sources of power for industry and the home are ontainers”. dependent,” the authors wrote. “The conveyance4 ere 599,890. Giving a fla-

2022 May 23 2022 n 31

RIGHT ROYAL of raw materials and manufactured products for all the principal industries in the country is but a part of the railways’ task, and the movement of agricultural traffic and fertilisers is an essential contribution to the drive for more home-grown food. In addition, the railways are called upon to carry large quantities of imported foodstuffs for the nation’s larder, and other commodities from overseas to maintain employment in the factories. Exports, vital to the stability of our national economy, also require the services of British Railways for the transport of goods from areas of production to the docks. “British Railways are now operating each weekday 425 express freight trains – 134 more than before the war. Express freight trains run every day between centres such as London, Birmingham,

and mineral traffics are ore mines and quarries a al plants and ports. Expe with coal trains with wago brakes, running at express


In an early taste of what modal operations, the b number of containers use growing. In 1952 it had 2 tionalisation it inherited 1 The authors wrote: “ tainers providing door-to for a wide variety of tra insulated containers for m cial types cycles, bu chemicals bulk. Exte of highly the conv requiring transport foods an services tween Gr tinent.”




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“By the e lections a the autho Ex-GWR Paddington - Bristol main line. No. 5002 Ludlow Castle 4-6-0. In the trunk service until 9/64. June 8 1962 ways affo port for g “Britis changing Bristol, Glasgow, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Mancheswork from horses to moto ter, Liverpool, Exeter, Plymouth, Cardiff, etc. In an accompanying ”Sixty per cent of the total freight revenue-earnuse of horses by British ing tonnage carried by railway is coal class traf1951, the railway had 32 fic, while of the total deep-mined coal produced hicles and Shunting.” Thi needing transport, 77 per cent is carried by British total of 8793 real horsepo Railways. To save shunting, complete trains of coal lie, the last horse used fo May 23 2022 @freighttracks


run between coalfields, and cities, large industrieriments are being made ons fitted with continuous s speeds.”

t we now consider interbooklet showed that the ed on British Railways was 24,286; on the day of na19,966 containers. “Open and covered cono-door services are used affics, also ventilated and meat, fish and fruit. Spes are also available for biuilding materials, cement, s, furniture and grain in ended use is being made insulated containers for veyance of commodities very low temperature t, such as quick frozen nd ice cream. Container are also operated bereat Britain and the Con-

n with real horsepower

extensive use of road coland delivery services,” say ors, “in conjunction with k haul by rail, British Railord door-to-door transgoods and parcels. sh Railways are rapidly over this part of their ors.” table, the extraordinary Railways is itemised. In 294 “horses for Road veis was down from 1947’s ower units! In fact, Charor shunting by British Rail-

ways, was not retired for another 15 years in 1967 at Newmarket, where he had been used to move special vehicles used for transporting racehorses.

Spending a penny

The authors were keen to point out how economical rail freight was. A fascinating table of “examples of the distances for which various items of the family budget are carried for one penny” include: 1 cwt* of coal (18 miles); 7lbs of flour (70 miles); 6 eggs (291 miles); 1lb of bacon (353 miles); and 1lb of sugar (477 miles). Within the total of well over a million wagons owned by British Railways are varieties designed to suit all kinds of traffics. The authors write: “They range in size from eight-tonners to a giant 56-wheel vehicle capable of carrying loads up to 150 tons. They have an aggregate capacity of 14,401,226 tons. Many of the most frequently used types are of standard design.” The names of the wagon types clearly spell out their traffics. The types are: open merchandise, covered merchandise, mineral, cattle, rail, timber, special trucks, brake vans and service vehicles. Between 1950 and 1951, there had been a small increase in the numbers of open merchandise, cattle and brake vans. Towards the end of the publication, it is pointed out that British Railways train ferries for rail service between Harwich and Zeebrugge and between Dover and Dunkirk were in operation. 4

*The hundredweight (abbreviation: cwt), formerly also known as the centum weight or quintal, is a British imperial unit of weight or mass. The imperial hundredweight is 8 stone or 112 pounds (50.80 kg) in weight. There are 20 hundredweight in a ton, producing a ton of 2240 pounds.

2022 May 23 2022 n 33

RIGHT ROYAL The decade to come

By the start of the 1950s, British Railways was still making a working profit, albeit a diminishing one. However, Britain had fallen well behind the rest of Europe in terms of dieselisation and electrification of its railways. There were political as well as practical reasons behind the resistance to dieselisation. The 1945 Labour Government of Clement Attlee did not want to significantly reduce the demand for domestically-produced coal in favour of imported oil, thus both affecting the balance of payments and potentially causing unemployment. Robin Riddles, who was effectively the British Railways’ Chief Mechanical Engineer, disagreed with the dieselisation programme, arguing that it would be too expensive to import oil given the large amounts of domestically available coal. He continued to order steam locomotives on a large scale and from 1948 to 1953, 1487 steam locomotives were built. In 1951, the British Transport Commission approved a new series of standard locomotives and coaches incorporating design features primarily from the London, Midland & Scottish Railway but also the other pre-nationalisation companies. These standard designs were designed to be long-lasting but in the event few served to their full potential before being withdrawn during the 1960s. By the middle of the decade, however, it was clear that British Railways were in trouble, particularly in the freight haulage business to which they were losing ground to road and air traffic (the latter thanks to a postwar glut of available transport aircraft). The government ordered a review.


Freight services


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The resultant Modernisation Plan failed to successfully redefine what the purpose of the railways was. British Railways remained bound by the Railway and Canal Traffic Acts which obligated it to provide carriage for virtually any type of goods, regardless of quantity (large or small) between any two stations on the network, at set and published May 23 2022 @freighttracks

rates. This legislation dated to the 19th century to pr the railways abusing the nopoly as the sole pr long-distance transport p er for much of the countr the growth of road tran had left the railways locke a highly disadvantageous tion. Road freight operator no legal restrictions and turn down work that wa economic, which BR coul and could easily undercu carriage rates which the r could not alter without consent. The Railway and Traffic Acts also saddled B the necessity to maintain sands of goods yards and facilities, plus rolling stoc staff to service them, ev er-decreasing demand for traffic as did exist was rar had been identified durin and the Big Four had cam


d back revent eir moractical providry, but nsport ed into s posi-

rs had could as unld not, ut BR’s railway t legal d Canal BR with n thoud other ck and ven when there was evr those services and such rely profitable. This issue ng the Great Depression, mpaigned for repeal of the

Railway and Canal Traffic Acts as a ‘Fair Deal’ during the 1930s. However, this did not happen until the Transport Act 1962 gave BR freedom of contract, and until then the Modernisation Plan had to commission locomotives, rolling stock and facilities to manage the ever-declining but legally-required wagonload freight traffic. The timing of the Modernisation Plan was also unfortunate, as just months after its publication the train driver’s trade union, ASLEF, called a strike that lasted for 17 days, causing major disruption to the network. Many of BR’s long-standing freight customers – especially smaller business and industrial users which provided much of the remaining wagonload and less than carload freight traffic – were forced by necessity to start using road transport and never returned to the railways, which hastened the decline in railway freight traffic and rapidly undermined the logic and business case for the Plan’s renewal and expansion of large marshalling yards.


The new queen may not have paid much attention to the contemporary rail freight scene in her new Kingdom but it was serving as a key foundation to the nation’s economy. Ironically she was a customer of British Railway’s freight arm: coal for the Royal Train, coal that generated the electric power that moved it in the south; even the fuel that powered the Royal Yacht, was all moved by rail.

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Old King Coal dethroned after 70 years

We asked the Rail Freight Group for their thoughts on Britain’s rail freight business seventy years since the Queen ascended the throne.

Today the freight railway is no longer powered by coal, nor does it transport much either since the phasing out of its use for electricity generation around 2015. Yet the volume of freight carried by rail is higher today than in most years since 1952. Two types of traffic dominate today’s freight scene and both present challenges for the network. The first is the increasing use of rail for moving construction materials, mainly from quarries in the west country and the East Midlands, to sites all over the country. Moving coal was an activity largely confined to the north between pit and power station and flows were steady and predictable. Moving materials for construction however requires inter-regional services and demand can vary depending on economic cycles and which major projects are in progress. Building HS2 is a good example. The second major market is intermodal, mostly maritime containers. Ever larger vessels carry

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freight into Europe mainly from East Asia, and so it is the southern ports of Southampton, London Gateway and Felixstowe that are the nation’s doorstep on what has become a massive milk round. The current generation carry up to 24,000 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units). If this cargo were discharged at a single port and the containers placed end-to-end, they would stretch for 91 miles! Adding a cab and a safe breaking distance every forty feet creates a 500-mile lorry convoy; no surprise that people are turning to rail. With 70% of this product bound for the Midlands and North new investment is needed to improve capacity. A good example is near Ely where the single line section to Soham was proposed for doubling in the 1947 programme, ten years before the invention of the shipping container. Seventy-five years later it still awaits funding. May 9 2022 n X

KEEP THE DATE: Railway industry calendar of events 30 May-01 June Berlin, Germany 11th International Railway Summit 31 May-02 June Munster, Germany 28th International Exhibition for Track Technology 31 May-02 June Barcelona, Spain SII, Barcelona 01 June Berlin, Germany UIC International Sustainable Railway Awards 06-10 June Birmingham, UK World Congress on Railway Research 2022 13 June Copenhagen, Denmark Danish Rail Conference 13-15 June Rome, Italy Smart Rail Europe 13-16 June Louisville, US Annual AAR Damage Prevention & Freight Claims Conference 14-16 June Birmingham, UK Multimodal 15-16 June Toronto, Canada Canadian Outdoor Transit and Rail Exhibition 15-17 June Paris, France UNIFE General Assembly 20-22 June Frankfurt, Germany VDV Annual Meeting 21-23 June Utrecht, Netherlands RailTech Europe 22 June Berlin, Germany VPI Member Meeting and Get Together 2022 22-23 June Valenciennes, France Business Meetings For The Railway Industry 23 June Berlin, Germany 22nd Technical Information Day 18 July Lake Geneva, USA Midwest Association of Rail Shippers (MARS) Summer Meeting 24-25 August Halberstadt, Germany CRSC Information Day and Member Meeting 07-08 September Warsaw, Poland Rail Freight Summit 08 September London, UK RFG Awards Dinner 14-16 September Munich, Germany 17th Conference on Critical Information Infrastructures Security 16-22 September Europe European Mobility Week 20-23 September Berlin, Germany innoTrans 27 September Worldwide World Freight Train Day 04-06 October Berlin, Germany EPCA Annual Meeting 05 October London, UK RFG Annual Conference 05-07 October Prague, Chezchia International Rail Forum Conference 12-13 October Germany Rail Infra Forum 19-20 October Debrecen, Hungary Rail Freight on Tour 19-21 October Berlin, Germany Deutsche Logistik Kongress November TBC Barcelona, Spain BCNRAIL Internacional Rail Forum 07-09 November Warsaw, Poland 9th International Transport & Logistics Exhibition Amsterdam, Netherlands Intermodal Europe 08-10 November 09 November Stockholm, Sweden Scandinavian Rail Optimisation 14-17 November Lisbon, Portugal Transport Research Arena 15-17 November TBC Intelligent Rail Summit 2022 29 Nov - 01 Dec Malaga, Spain Rail Live 2022 07-08 December Duisberg, Germany European Silk Road Summit

If you would like your event listed here free of charge, just send details to 38 n

May 23 2022 @freighttracks




In each issue of Freight Tracks we look at scale model versions of modern and old school freight rolling stock and infrastructure DAPOL O Gauge 6 Wheel Milk Tanker United Dairies


Limit Rail freight off-duty

Save the Ten! North Carolina railway museum relocates 10 historic railcars


he North Carolina Railway Museum (NCRM) is moving ten historic railroad cars by crane and flatbed trailers over public roadways from a Duke Energy property to its rail yard five miles away. The move of the train cars from the property of Duke Energy’s Harris Nuclear Plant to the rail yard of New Hope Valley Railway has been planned for a few years. Tightened security measures, Covid restrictions and fundraising efforts have postponed the move until recently. Nearly $200,000 has been raised for the effort from volunteers and the public, including a $50,000 grant from the North Carolina legislature state budget. NCRM is an educationally focused, all volunteer, non-profit organisation with a mission to preserve and share North Carolina railroad history with the public. NHVR, also known as the “Triangle’s Train,” is an operating arm of the museum, offering visitors an opportunity to ride in passenger cars pulled by locomotives. The move began on May 9 and will continue over the next week. The railcars are being lifted by a large crane onto flatbed trailers and road-going rubber tire dollies, travelling five miles down Old US Highway 1 to the rail yard in Bonsal. Once the 10 railcars reach their destination at New Hope Valley Railway, visitors will be able to view them. Volunteers will eventually restore them. For more than 20 years, the historic cars have been parked at a disconnected railroad track on the Duke Energy property. Many of the cars are weathered and more than 100 years old. Some are the last surviving relics of their kind, but all in solid condition and salvageable. “The roadblocks and logistics involved in transporting the

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May 23 2022 @freighttracks

railcars have been challenging but the move is finally happening, we’re bringing these cars home,” says Victor Varney, NCRM volunteer and project manager for Save the Ten—the name given to the effort. “Saving these railcars and having them as part of our rolling stock will help us preserve and share North Carolina railroad history, which is our mission,” adds Varneyj. Each of the 10 historic railcars have their own place in history. Dating back to the early 1900s, four of the railcars were used for various functions such as cooking cars, sleeping cars, carrying baggage or transporting vehicles and equipment. The other six railcars were used in the 1990s and 2000s to serve power plants in the Carolinas. These railcars, including two cabooses equipped with full living amenities and four flat cars, are being donated to NCRM by Duke Energy.



RAILROADS HAVE BEEN CARRYING FREIGHT SINCE DAY 1. IT’S NOW DAY 71,476. WORLD FREIGHT TRAIN DAY 2022 will celebrate the drivers, yard staff, loaders, planners and workshop staff who get the freight through. Freight Tracks will work with railroads and Freight Operating Companies to promote the importance of the modern freight train in the global supply chain. The date marks the day the world’s first public railway, the Stockton & Darlington Railway in England, opened. That was 71,406 days ago today. Join us as over the next seven months, we will plan a series of events and projects that salute the Freight Train in all its importance.


September 27, 2022

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