Russian Railways starts tests for high-speed freight train
Russian Railways (RZD) and Russian Post are cooperating to test a high-speed freight train. The first convoy left Vorsino, 100 kilometres south of Moscow, and headed towards the port of Novorossiysk, on the Black Sea. As RZD pointed out on Telegram, the train should cover the Moscow-Novorossiysk route in about a day, which is “twice as fast as conventional container trains”.
Made up of 20 high-speed freight wagons and carrying 80 containers, it can reach a speed of 140 km/h. This project might have international importance as well. This is because Novorossiysk is Russia’s second-largest port and has sea connections to India, the United Arab Emirates, and Southeast Asia. RZD developed the timetable and prepared the locomotives for this project, while the wagons were provided by its rail freight subsidiary, the Federal Freight Company (FGK).
High-speed freight trains
When it comes to rail freight, many agree that speed is not the main issue and that resources should be channeled into enhancing capacity and punctuality. Nevertheless, some countries are experimenting with high-speed and even bullet trains to transport goods. Examples of the latter are China and Japan. China has been running a daily rail freight service between Chengdu and Kunming on trains that can reach up to 250 km/h since July. Japanese rail operator East Japan Railway is working on implementing full-scale freight deliveries in bullet trains by April next year.
When it comes to Europe, high-speed freight trains have existed but were not significant enough to stay. The Italian national rail freight company Mercitalia launched Mercitalia Fast, a service between Marcianise, north of Naples, to Bologna in 2018. However, this service was discontinued in November 2022 due to a lack of demand. A different approach in Europe might have surfaced with companies such as Nevomo, who are developing hyperloop-inspired technologies that can be applied to rail freight as well.