Czech freight network adds military hardware to portfolio
The army of the Czech Republic teamed up with national rail freight carrier ČD Cargo for a major logistics exercise aimed at testing operations in freezing conditions. In a further demonstration of how military hardware is increasingly utlilising the efficiency of rail freight, a fleet of military vehicles was transported hundreds of kilometres to Lithuania.
Describing itself as a ‘reliable partner’ to the Czech army, ČD Cargo said ‘Training Bridge’ 2017 was a three-month exercise involving the transportation of military hardware for the 74th Light Motorized Battalion along the national freight network.
In sub-zero temperatures, soldiers loaded the vehicles and other equipment into prepared containers at Bûcovice station, some 230 kilometres south east of Prague, before it was carefully lifted onto freight wagons on a special military train. It was then taken hundreds of kilometres cross-country, through Poland and into Lithuania, before ending its journey at the port city of Klaipeda.
The exercise was another example of a NATO operation to test the transportation of multinational forces across eastern Europe and into the Baltic States. This is a result of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the perceived threat it could pose. Both the UK and USA recently carried out operations to move military hardware into Europe using the rail freight network.
ČD Cargo carries around 70 million tonnes of goods every year, much of which is solid fuels and minerals. This puts it among the five largest railway transport providers within the European Union. As demonstrated by this latest operation, it also has a highly diverse portfolio, including a highly successful seasonal ‘sugar beet service’ and the recent movement of a fleet of passenger trams in the city of Liberec.