How the modular freight wagon became the standard

Ten years ago, manufacterer Wascosa presented its first modular freight wagon. Recently, the 500th wagon was delivered.  Today, the trend is firmly towards modular freight wagons, the company says, adding that this was much different ten years ago.

The company markets its wagon as the Wascosa flex freight system  or ‘ffs’. It is a multi-purpose Sgmmns type wagon, which with its various superstructures for rail-based construction site logistics, will go into service with Sersa Switzerland, part of the Rhomberg Sersa Rail Group.

Rudi Hoz, Head of Customer and Market Support at Sersa Group AG (Switzerland), has some very enthusiastic words for the flex freight concept: “The flex freight system from Wascosa meets our requirements for flexible and versatile wagons in every respect. The proven innovative expertise that has been the hallmark of Wascosa in the freight wagon market for many years, makes it an ideal partner for Sersa”. Wascosa is currently delivering additional modular freight wagons to other industry sectors such as the steel and chemical industries.

From innovation to the new standard

According to the company, the histry of thi sunit shows how much time innovations in the European rail freight market take. “When Wascosa took the pioneering step of presenting the first modular standard freight wagon at the Munich transport logistic trade fair in 2009, the reaction from industry was one of considerable reticence and scepticism. But over the years that followed there was a clear change of minds: The freight wagon industry changed its thinking and a growing number of industry players became convinced that the concept of modular freight wagons was going to be an important part of the future of rail logistics.

The breakthrough came in 2017 when German giant, the Ludwigshafen based BASF, unveiled in partnership with Wascosa, the first modular tank wagons which were set to replace their tank wagon fleet. This came as quite a wake-up call to the freight wagon sector, to the extent that over the last three years, various other industry players, including the very biggest such as DB Cargo, VTG and RCA have also been developing modular concepts.

Irmhild Saabel, Head of Business Development at Wascosa, is understandably proud of the success of this innovation: “10 years after the first presentation of the Wascosa flex freight system, modular freight wagons are today firmly established in the market. In the future, they will account for a substantial share of new purchases made to replace old rolling stock. This will be the case for standard freight wagons, but also for specialist freight wagons”.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is the editor-in-chief of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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