First results of Innovative Freight Car project DB Cargo and VTG

The Innovative Freight Car project has produced the first results of the testing of four new types of wagons. The cars have been in operation since March and have already covered half of the 150,000 test kilometers. “Freight transport by rail may in future be quieter, more energy-efficient and more economical”, said German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer.

The Innovative Freight Car project is carried out by DB Cargo and VTG and financed by the German Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure (BMVI). Scheuer got a personal impression in the workshop of Berlin and concluded: “I am pleased with the results of the first measurements. They show that all cars clearly undercut the permitted noise limits and save energy. Freight transport by rail may in future be quieter, more energy-efficient and more economical. This is an important step in bringing more goods to rail and increasing the overall acceptance of rail freight.”


Various wagon types are considered within the scope of this project. VTG is testing an 80′ container car and a tank car, while DB Cargo is assessing a six-axle flat wagon for transporting steel products, such as slabs or coils, and a car-transporter wagon.

The multifunctional flat wagon was designed especially for customers of DB Cargo in the steel industry. It drives steel slabs to the rolling mill and brings with the same car finished coils again to the next receiver. “Instead of the two types of cars we have now come out with a car – a huge gain in the entire transport chain. And thanks to a lightweight construction method inspired by aircraft construction, we also save energy, “said Alexander Doll, DB Board Member for Freight and Logistics.

Potential rail freight

Heiko Fischer, Chairman of the Board of VTG AG noted: “The project already shows the great potential of rail freight transport, if all parties pull together.” The automatic brake test for example, enables a train to save about thirty minutes in the train handling. In this way, rail is becoming more and more attractive in the competition of modes of transport. The lower weight allows a higher payload and thus increases the efficiency of rail transports.”

The research project started in October 2016 and runs until the end of 2018. The test operation was launched in March 2018. The cars will travel another 75,000 kilometers through Europe to complete the test phase. Whether the developments also pass the practical test from an economic point of view will be shown by the remaining test drives.

Also read: These innovations hit the tracks in 2018

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of, online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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