No shunting dangerous goods at yard in Rotterdam for now

For the time being, rail freight operators are not allowed to shunt with hazardous substances at the Waalhaven Zuid freight yard of Rotterdam. The Dutch infrastructure manager ProRail announced this on Thursday afternoon. The DCMR environment service and the Rotterdam Rijnmond safety region doubt the reliability of the temporary fire extinguishing facility and have set additional requirements.

ProRail tested an improved version of the temporary extinguishing system on Monday 13 January. Other than the previous fire extinguishing system, this one was functioning. Nevertheless, the DCMR environment service and the Rotterdam Rijnmond safety region do not yet agree with the (partial) resumption of shunting activity with with hazardous substances. This is partly because the extinguishing system does not yet cover the entire shunting site.

Conditions

The environment service and the safety region request, among other things, technical and safety specifications from the manufacturer of the system. For example, they want to determine whether the extinguishing system can withstand the maximum possible pressure

If this becomes evident, ProRail may resume shunting with hazardous substances on part of the yard, and under certain conditions. The environment service and the safety region do ask ProRail to build a permanent fire extinguishing water supply as soon as possible.

Consequences

The Waalhaven Zuid freight yard has been closed for freight trains transporting hazardous goods for the past four months, because a previous test proved that the fire extinguishing facilities were not up to date. Shunting activities have mostly been relocated to Kijfhoek, the largest emplacement of the Netherlands.

The temporary closure was received by the industry as a hard hit for the hinterland transport by rail. Waalhaven is a crucial yard for the transport of containers, tank containers, trailers and swap bodies that come in and out of the port and are forwarded to destinations such as Venlo, Tilburg, Coevorden and Duisburg, but also further on to Poznan, Milan, Vienna, Budapest and China.

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Author: Paul van den Bogaard

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