Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New Rail Freight Wagons For Channel Tunnel Intermodal Service

First Time New Rolling Stock Approved for Eurotunnel
Shipping News Feature

FRANCE – UK – EUROPE - Following our story last month telling of the adoption of WH Davis built ‘Superlow 45’ rail wagons were making the carriage of high cube containers possible comes the news that Eurotunnel has now sanctioned the use of Modalohr rail wagons which enable faster intermodal transfer of four metre high semi trailers loaded with cargo to and from freight trains for transit through the Channel Tunnel.

The Modalohr ‘piggy-back’ wagons were developed by Lohr Industrie, with a low floor and articulated properties specifically to enable rapid transhipment of standard semi-trailers from the road to the rail which the manufacturers claim mean an entire average freight train can be loaded or unloaded in just 40 minutes. A short video demonstration can be seen HERE.

The wagons, which run on the gauge GB1 used by most railway tracks in Europe utilise standard wheels and bogies and enable side loading of trucks at special terminals. They do not have canopies or superstructures of the type until now imposed for Eurotunnel’s Shuttles and this is the first time since the opening of the Tunnel in 1994 that new railway rolling stock has been approved by the Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC).

The project has been part of Eurotunnel’s strategy to apply the European Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSI) to the Channel Tunnel to enable the growth of rail freight traffic between the UK and continental Europe. Eurotunnel say this new adoption is an essential addition to their open access policy which has, they claim already seen the halving of access charges. Importantly the authorisation of the Modalohr wagons will allow the planned Autoroute Ferroviaire Atlantique to be connected directly to the Channel Tunnel, potentially bringing significant new traffic to the UK.

Jacques Gounon, Chairman and Chief Executive of Groupe Eurotunnel commented:

“The application of the European Technical Standards for Interoperability to the Channel Tunnel will enable the development of rail freight traffic which could alone meet up to a quarter of the French Government’s environmental objectives.”

Photo: Modalohr wagons discharging.