VTG and DB Cargo join forces for energy-efficient freight research

Two of Europe’s leading rail cargo transporters are teaming up for a major research project on energy-efficient freight wagons. DB Cargo and VTG Wagen have been commissioned by the German government and will receive around 17 million Euros for developing projects between now and the end of 2017, before trials begin.

The ‘Innovative Freight Wagon’ scheme, instigated by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, is designed to examine how quiet, energy-efficient wagons, with low operating costs, can make rail freight the preferred logistics choice of the future.

Energy-efficient wagons

By taking this step, the Government says it underlines its commitment to moving freight off the roads and onto the rail network. Various manufacturers’ components and technologies will be developed and tested during the project, and DB Cargo and VTG Wagen will use a variety of models, such as car-transport wagons, container-carrying wagons, flat wagons and tank wagons. The partners are looking into bogies that minimise rail abrasion on bends and save energy due to reduced friction loss. To reduce rail noise, DB Cargo and VTG are also testing several innovative components, including noise aprons that, in combination with whisper brakes, reduce rail operating noise at the source.

GPS monitoring

The project will also assess the possible application of GPS monitoring for more efficient freight wagon management and sensors to monitor the cargo. The trial period, including test journeys for these freight wagons will start in 2018.

Steffen Bobsien, Asset Manager and Head of Technology Rail Freight Transport at DB Cargo, said: “The freight wagons are our most important resource at DB Cargo. Together with VTG we asked ourselves how we can optimise the next generation of freight wagons in terms of noise reduction, energy efficiency and economical deployment, and we’re delighted that the Ministry of Transport shares our vision of developing innovative freight wagons. We firmly believe that rail freight transport needs exactly this kind of initiative if it is to employ innovative assets to remain and become more competitive in the multimodal logistics market.”

Dr Heiko Fischer, Chairman of VTG, added: “At VTG we believe that rail is the solution for constantly growing transport volumes. That’s why we’re so keen to innovate to make rail the backbone of an intelligent and sustainable logistics solution. For us, the development of innovative freight wagons is a decisive step in this direction.”

Author: Simon Weedy

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

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