New direct train connection between Antwerp and ‘Four-Country Region’
As of 15 December 2020, Antwerp will acquire a new connection with the ‘Four-country Region’ of Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. The new link will start operating with three trains per week, while plans for further expansion are already on the table due to the expected growth of demand.
The new connection is an initiative of rail operator Lineas, which is expanding its Green Xpress Network in Europe. The trains will connect Antwerp with the logistics company Langweit-Foret terminal, near Augsburg, in the Swabia region of southern Germany. From there, they will be able to move forward to Wolfurt in the Austrian Vorarlberg region. Additionally, the route will provide a direct link with the Ruhr region with a stop at Recklinghausen.
Modal Shift and prospects
One of the main objectives of the connection to Swabia is the facilitation of a modal shift from road to rail. The existence of such a train route will enable many external customers to transport their cargo by train and thus contribute to the de-congestion of roads.
Furthermore, the possibilities that open for these regions are even more. Since their connection with Antwerp’s Main Hub, they will allow them to gain access to other essential ports and hubs such as Antwerp Zeebrugge, Ghent, and Rotterdam.
According to Olivier Perez, head of Network Management and Alliances at Lineas, the expansion was a result of a “strong demand of the customers to offer our rail services in Swabia and Vorarlberg”.
By adding these new destinations, the Green Xpress has now twenty-three in total all over Europe. “The trains can transport all types of cargo and shipments from and to Western Ports and the rest of the hinterland”, commented Perez.