Image: courtesy VTG

VTG expands rail tonnage capacity out of Hungary

VTG Rail Logistics’ Austrian arm has operated its first heavy haul rail freight train out of Hungary, achieving a payload increase of 350 tonnes on a service which went through Croatia and Slovenia and onto Italy. With a gross weight of some 2,075 tonnes and a cargo weight of just over 1,500 tonnes, it marked another milestone for the Hamburg-based pan-European carrier.

Special permission was needed from Hungary and Italy, as well as the transit countries, to haul this special service comprising 26 VTG-owned 102 square metre hopper wagons and 94-96 sq metre bulk freight wagons. They were loaded with maize and wheat in Kaposvar, Hungary, and then transported across the Gyekenyes/Koprivnica, Savski Marof/Dobova and Sežana/Villa Opicina borders to Carmagnola in Italy. CER provided traction in Hungary, CER, while RCC provided transit from Croatia to Slovenia, and RTC delivered the train in Italy.

Greater loading capacity

Gunther J Ferk, Managing Director of VTG Rail Logistics Austria GmbH, said: “We are delighted to offer our customers an even more attractive range of services by way of the new heavy haul train. It enables us to make more efficient use of loading and unloading points and our customers benefit from cost savings owing to the greater loading capacity.”

The company said it hoped this would now be a regular service out of from Hungary, while it also intends to extend its heavy haul train services and expand to include additional routes. A project to transport goods from Slovenia or Romania is already underway. VTG added that, depending on the respective infrastructure, it anticipates full heavy haul gross weight capacities of up to 2,200 tons and approximately 1,600 tons in cargo weight.

Important economic centres

Meanwhile the VTG-owned sibsiduary EVU Bräunert rail freight divisions have both been consolidated under a newly-created brand known as Retrack GmbH & Co. KG. From its Hamburg base, the Retrack network connects the most important economic centres within Europe. Thanks to its own locomotive pool, consisting of both diesel and electric trains, VTG Rail Logistics can carry out freight transportation just as flexibly on the network as single wagonload traffic as it can with groups of wagons or block trains.

This restructuring goes back to 2007, when an alternative concept to the national railway’s single wagon system was devised within the context of an EU project –  and what emerged was Retrack. Multiple railway undertakings joined forces with the aim of simplifying single wagon transport and offering customers a new cross-border European portfolio with a reliable running schedule.

Entrepreneurial risks

Gunther J Ferk explained: “In 2014, after several partners had withdrawn from Retrack, VTG decided to take control of the project. With our Bräunert RU, which is approved through a railway operations management license, we, and the partners that remained, organized the trains and assumed all the entrepreneurial risks associated with the business,” explains Günther J. Ferk, Managing Director of VTG Rail Logistics. The change of name will allow the full extent of Retrack’s strong presence in the market to be felt.”

In addition, following a successful audit carried out by TÜV Rheinland, VTG Rail Logistics now possesses certification as a specialized waste management company as a carrier of hazardous waste. The company may now also transport hazardous waste within Germany, and this applies to all classes of hazardous goods except explosive, infectious and radioactive materials..

Author: Simon Weedy

Simon is a journalist for - a dedicated online platform for all the news about the rail freight sector

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