RailTech Europe to showcase freight innovation

Three exciting freight innovations will go under the spotlight at the forthcoming RailTech Europe 2017. They are all vying for the Rail Cargo Innovation Award, just one of the many highlights at the high-level conference and exhibition being held in The Netherlands.

RailTech Europe 2017, from March 28-30th, brings together rail professionals from across the world, attracted by more than 20 expert speakers on all aspects of rail innovation, plus an exhibition of more than 60 interactive workshops, trade stands, tech visits and even a career clinic.

Rail Freight Square

The conference side comprises three dedicated topics: Day 1 – European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS); Day 2 – Digitalisation in Railways; Day 3 – Maintenance of Rail Infrastructure. This year for freight professionals there is the added bonus of a dedicated ‘Rail Freight Day’, providing the opportunity for the exchange of good practice and innovations.

The annual RailTech awards have also, once again, proved a popular draw, with a host of entries for the various categories. In the Rail Cargo category, the shortlist comprises AeroTrail Solutions – Streamliner; Holland Container Innovations – 4FOLD Foldable Container; and Move Intermodal – Ultralight 45ft intermodal ‘swapbody’.


Aerotrail’s ‘Streamliner’ was designed on the back of work which identified a significant energy loss in freight transportation by trains. Trains’ blunt shapes and interrupted volumes of intermodal container freight trains were found to be causing a significant increase in aerodynamic drag, AeroTrail has developed a solution that improves the aerodynamic characteristics of intermodal container freight trains.

For its entry, Holland Container Innovations, a spin-off from the acclaimed Technical University of Delft, focuses on the inefficiencies of transportation of empty containers. On average, 40 per cent of containers transported on land are empty, and they say this is inefficient, uneconomical and causes pollution. Holland Container Innovations has developed the world’s first ISO-certified foldable 40ft high cube container. ‘4FOLD’ can be folded when empty and four such folded containers can be bundled with the same dimensions as one standard 40ft cube. This, they say, is a sustainable solution which cuts both costs and emissions.


Move Intermodal’s entry highlights the drive across Europe for a modal shift policy towards rail, to help address environmental and congestion issues. Intermodal traffic has increased its market share in recent years, utilising three types of load units: the closed ISO container; curtain-side swap bodies; and crane-able trailers. The latter serves the same markets as ’tilt swaps’, which also use the same markets as ISO containers. This, says Move, makes the tilt swap more practical for rail transport because the required wagons are more widely available, lighter, cheaper and more efficient in length. Working with partner Wecon, Move Intermodal has come up with an improved lighter tilt swap, part of a transport unit also consisting of a tractor and container chassis.

Freight also features elsewhere, including automatic freight wagon monitoring by RailWatch in the Rolling Stock category. Further details about all of the entries can be read on the RailTech website, The winners will be announced at the RailTech Awards Dinner on the evening of March 28th.

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). You can still secure your place by visiting the RailTech Europe 2017 website.

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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