International Railway History Made at St. Pancras as a Cargo Carrying TGV Makes First Visit to the Station

Published 22nd March 2012

Cargo Rail Express Operates the First International Rail Freight to St. Pancras

The Euro Carex brand is one the UK will become familiar with in a few years’ time after their yellow liveried TGV visited London on a proving run made under test conditions.

This train, which runs at up to 186mph/300kph, is the fastest freight train in the World and should become a common sight in the UK in five years’ time. It currently runs on mainland Europe linking conurbations with airports removing lorries from the roads and eliminating the need for short haul cargo flights.

Rail in competition with air, or working together?

The CAREX project is about working with the air market to offer a strong cargo carrying transport product while meeting the ‘green agenda’ head on. The train can carry 120 tons of freight which is the equivalent of seven articulated lorries or the same amount of Jumbo Jets.

The project

This collaboration, between European Airports such as Paris Roissy, Liege, Amsterdam and Lyon along with Eurotunnel, High Speed 1, and SNCF.

The train tested the logistics of all companies plus cargo carriers such as FEDEX, TNT and UPS who transferred cargo from Roissy to the train and on to London.

Noise and carbon reduction

Much cargo is carried on overnight flights when there is capacity at airports and the same is often true on the designated international rail routes in Europe.

The idea is that combining 186mph trains with regional air hubs, flights of under 500 miles will no longer be required as the TGV train can equal flight journey times.

CAREX trains will emit 35 times LESS carbon than the combined road and air services currently operated. Obviously, the trains will create less noise as well than lorries and planes.

Worldwide transport mode

The combined efforts of participating groups will allow worldwide freight to use rail to major air hubs so that freight will only be carried long distance and not on several flights in its journey.

2017 network expansion

London will join the network in 2017 after a bespoke depot has been built and by then, Cologne and Bordeaux will also have their own terminals. The 25 special cargo carrying trains are designed to be loaded or unloaded in just 30 minutes. These are being procured at the moment and will be able to operate across Europe and on the UK’s High Speed network.

So, once HS2 is opened, we will see yellow TGVs in action from the Channel Tunnel to the north removing many lorries from our overcrowded motorways and cargo flights from our airports.

Yellow – the new green?

Carbon emissions will also be reduced so in principle, everybody should welcome this project. If you are a road user, there will be less lorries to hold you up. If you are a flyer, airports will be less congested to get to and fly from. If you are a rail user, the trains will run on High Speed Routes taking slower freight trains off the congested networks.

Everyone really does benefit from this scheme.

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