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Published 19th June 2012
LONDON - GB Railfreight and Europorte Channel, part of the Europorte Group and leading haulier of rail freight traffic, has unveiled a new-to-Britain concept at Ripple Lane Freightliner Terminal in East London.
The event, hosted on Tuesday, May 22nd, involved a demonstration of the “P400” trailers being loaded and unloaded into the wagons, as well as the provision of some exciting news about the new freight opportunities.
Dual voltage Electric locomotive No. 92032 hauled wagon 33 85 4992 001-9 from Calais’ Frethun yard to Ripple Lane Exchange Sidings near Dagenham. From here, Devon & Cornwall Railways provided 31601 and 31602 to haul the train into the Freightliner Terminal. The reason for this is that overhead electrification is not provided in these terminals, as lifting containers would conflict with wiring.
The wagon is special in that it carries the trailers at just 2.7cm above the height of the rail, and is around 75 metres long. One wagon carries 2 lorry trailers, each of which can be loaded with 100 tonnes of goods. This means that with the predicted 11 or 12 wagons on each train, 2200 to 2400 tonnes of goods could be transferred.
The train would naturally remove a vast quantity of road traffic if fully successful. The scheme currently lowers Carbon Emissions per trailer by some 20% in Mainland Europe, although that figure could rise drastically if a trailer were to run the entire length of Britain to Scotland as well.
Dennis Steegh, Ewals Cargo Care, noted that the company was “Proud to be the first (company) through the tunnel with Megatrailers”. The company currently has over 1100 trailers which can be transported by rail, each having to be specially engineered to allow them to be lifted at rail terminals and are specially re-inforced. The trailers also feature a pneumatic suspension which allows them to be further lowered once inside their pocket wagon, thus keeping the train in gauge.
Europorte’s representatives thanked Network Rail, High Speed One, Europorte Tunnel and AAE for ensuring that the wagons and their load were cleared at short notice, allowing for the event to be go ahead, and to gauge clear some infrastructure away from High Speed One on the National Rail Network in the Ripple Lane area.
Ewals and Europorte made specific reference to a copious demand for the service, which would start in Belgium, Luxembourg or the Netherlands, with the option to pick up further trailers in France. Europorte France is obtaining a freight operating licence for Belgium, thus the first new flow could be from Antwerp to Ripple Lane.
For other start points, such as Rotterdam, Eindhoven and Luxembourg, industry wide co-operation would be required, but is achievable. Ewals and Europorte did express that they want to create a new network of routes cleared for this particular train, allowing for further destinations in Britain. Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow were cited as key targets for this train.
The new service will, as Network Rail and other limitations permit, start in September with three trains per week operating to Ripple Lane. This would be almost immediately expected to rise to five trains per week. Motive power would be a Class 92 to Ripple Lane Exchange Sidings in Dagenham, followed by a diesel powered shunt movement into Ripple Lane Freightliner Terminal.