Freight train in Netherlands, source: ProRail

‘Engage with neighbouring countries for 740-metre long trains’

The Dutch trade and logistics business association Evofenedex has asked its government to engage with neighbouring countries to discuss the facilities for longer freight trains on all main European corridors. Trains of 740 meters instead of the current 650 meters, according to Evofenedex, make the railways more attractive for trade and production companies.

Last year, the Dutch government and infrastructure manager ProRail took steps to enable operations of longer freight trains of a maximum of 740 metres on Dutch rail freight corridors. On the German side, however, there was less enthusiasm. At the beginning of this year, a 740-meter-long freight train was stopped at the Venlo-Kaldenkirchen border crossing.

Insufficient coordination

The maximum length of freight trains used up to now is 650 meters. With the maximum length of 740 meters, an average of four extra wagons can be hung behind a single locomotive. The coordination over the longer trains between German rail network operator DB Netze and ProRail has apparently been insufficient.

The association believes that in the course of this year the minister of Infrastructure and Water Management should come to concrete coordination with neighboring countries in order to make all major rail freight corridors within Europe suitable for 740 meter long trains.

Cross-border challenges

Cross-border traffic via the railways is complex, the trade association admits. “Apart from the issue of longer trains, the rail sector does not have a single language, such as aviation. This makes it difficult to deploy a driver on an international route.

This is in addition to the differing rail infrastructure within Europe. A locomotive must have a different safety system in each Member State. The lack of a single European railway network makes that it is difficult for international rail transport to compete with other forms of transport”, Evofenedex said in a press release.

Author: Paul van den Bogaard

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