Medway Train. Source: Medway Iberia

MEDWAY Portugal: 82 million euros for SMART wagons

Medway Train. Source: Medway Iberia

MEDWAY Portugal is leading a consortium that is planning on investing over 82 million euros to improve the Portuguese railway infrastructure. One of the main goals of the consortium is to implement SMART wagons, which would allow for more efficient maintenance and lower CO2 emissions.

Bruno Silva, MEDWAY managing director told RailFreight.com that “the SMART wagons initiative aims to generate cost competitive advantages to the entire lifecycle of the wagon and contributes to a more sustainable product. Therefore, it includes a new design, incorporation of more sustainable materials and manufacturing processes, sensoring to provide better inputs of the behaviour of the wagon to sustain reliable condition-based and predictive maintenance models, implementation of such maintenance processes and training programs to prepare people”.

State-of-art technology

He highlighted that “MEDWAY is making a strong bet on Research and Development: this project materialises this bet resulting in the reinforcement of endogenous competitiveness factors by applying state-of-art technologies ensuring significant increases in the efficiency of the management of the fleet of wagons”.

As Silva pointed out: “SMART wagons will also allow the optimisation of loading/unloading operations at the terminals resulting in an increase in the efficiency of terminal operations and the operationality of the wagons”.

He continued: “We aim to increase the efficiency, reliability, competitiveness, and sustainability of a wagon for rail freight transportation by tackling all steps of its lifecycle. We have joined forces with the best engineering universities and institutes, technological and metallurgic companies specialised in the railway sector”.

The consortium led by MEDWAY and PFP

The consortium is made up of 10 entities. There are 5 companies (MEDWAY Maintenance & Repair, MEDWAY Terminals, MEDWAY Railroad Operator of Goods, Nomad Tech, and EVOLEO Technologies) and 4 Non-Business Entities of the Research and Innovation System (Instituto Superior Técnico, Faculty of Engineering of the do Porto, INEGI – Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering and ISQ).

The Portuguese Rail Platform (PFP), an IAPMEI Rail Competitiveness Cluster since 2017, completes the consortium. PFP was created in 2015 as a support to bring together Portuguese railway companies and associations to increase the country’s rail competitiveness and capacity.

“This consortium, of which MEDWAY is a part, intends to transform the Portuguese profile, enhancing the productive capacity of freight wagons and sensing systems, as well as the implementation of predictive maintenance methodologies, reducing waste and increasing the availability of this asset,” said Bruno Silva, General Director of MEDWAY.

Relaunching the Tagus region to boost rail infrastructure nation-wide

“It is a country-wide program in the sense the initiative is pushed forward by a consortium of 10 entities, including highly reputable universities, institutes, Portuguese companies from technology to metallurgic industries, and the Portuguese railway cluster. The Tagus region is where the production and maintenance during the wagon lifecycle will be carried on,” Silva stated.

“65 direct jobs will be created in the Tagus region. A particular less populated region impacted by the closure of a major coal power plant where alternatives are needed in order to generate new jobs and economic activity to allow a fair transition for the local society”, he added. The coal power plant mentioned by Silva is the Pego Thermoelectric Power Station, which ceased all operations in November 2021.

Silva emphasised that MEDWAY is planning on taking over activities that are usually carried out outside of Portugal. “We also expect to carry out maintenance operations currently carried out abroad as well as the national manufacture of currently imported wagons which translates into a positive impact on the country’s foreign trade”.

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Author: Marco Raimondi

Marco Raimondi is an editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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