Noah’s Train makes final stop in Rotterdam

Noah’s Train is setting sail for the global UN COP25 Climate Change Conference in Santiago, Chile. The train is the ambassador of the Rail Freight Forward initiative. On Friday 11 October it celebrates its anniversary, after a year of travelling through European countries. At the APM terminal Maasvlakte II in the Port of Rotterdam, the last container will be placed on the longest mobile work of art.

Noah’s Train is an initiative launched by several European railway companies to promote freight transport by rail. Founded after the COP24 in Katowice a year ago, It is now 180 metres long and carries 17 containers, decorated by artists from all over Europe. The mobile artwork serves as an awareness campaign, defending the common goal of reducing the environmental impact of freight transport in Europe.

Long journey

Rail Freight Forward (RFF) has come a long way over the course of the year and are on track to mobilise Europe and reach our 30 by 2030 goal. “Driving a train through Europe must become as easy as driving a truck. RFF is driving this message forward”, says CEO of Rail Cargo Group and Chair of the Rail Freight Forward coalition Clemens Först.

The first step of RFF was to invite railway undertakings, stakeholders and politicians to actively participate in the initiative, thus formulating a joint road map for the next years to boost rail freight transport and formulate a concrete action plan. For that reason, the awareness campaign Noah’s Train was started as the successful voice of the RFF initiative.

Next campaign

RFF’s next campaign will be multimodality, a theme in which the Port of Rotterdam is a crucial partner. “Our zero-emissions freight trains arrive at the zero-emissions port terminals, where the goods are conveyed on their onward journeys by ship. This cooperation between rail and ship represents multimodality in action”, the RFF group stated.

Accordingly, Noah’s Train fits perfectly in the Port of Rotterdam’s aim to become a CO2-neutral port. “The Port of Rotterdam is the start and end point of over 250 international rail connections. It has an extensive network of intermodal transport connections: rail, inland shipping, road and pipelines. This ensures sustainable access to European destinations in the hinterland within 24 hours.”

Final stop

The train has now arrived at its final stop in Rotterdam. From here, one container will be shipped to Chile, where the climate top COP25 will take place. This will be celebrated on Friday, with presentations showing what the coalition has achieved this year and how the rail operators are moving their 30 by 2030 goal. One highlight will be the reveal of the Port of Rotterdam container that has been spray-painted by Dutch artist Nina Valkhoff and will be added as the last container of the train.

The journey of Noah’s Train started in Katowice and proceeded to Vienna, Berlin, Paris, Brussels, Rome, Munich, Leipzig, Luxembourg, Riga, Madrid and Barcelona.

Freight transport pumps 275 million tonnes of CO2 emissions into the air every single year. The 2016 Paris Agreement made clear that increasing rail freight’s share in freight transport is our best chance to dramatically reduce this figure. To do this, the railways’ share in freight transport needs to increase from 18 per cent to at least 30 per cent by 2030.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of, online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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