The German government has commissioned DB Cargo and VTG to carry out the “Innovative Freight Wagon” research project. The German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is directing €17 million for the project the end of 2018.
By taking this step, the federal government is underlining its commitment to moving freight off the roads and onto the rail network. “We are promoting innovation in trains and railways and we are strengthening the route network,” said Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt in March 2016, as he unveiled the “Quiet Rail” strategy. In addition to developing quieter and more efficient wagons, the existing wagon fleet and the tracks will also be made quieter.
Components and technologies by various manufacturers will be developed and tested over the course of the project. DB Cargo and VTG Wagen will be utilising a number of different models, for example car-transport wagons, container-carrying wagons, flat wagons and tank wagons. The research partners are looking into bogies that minimise rail abrasion on bends and that save energy due to reduced friction loss. To reduce rail noise, DB Cargo and VTG are testing several innovative components, including noise aprons that, in combination with whisper brakes, reduce rail operating noise at the source. The project will also assess the possible application of GPS monitoring for more efficient freight wagon management and sensors to monitor the cargo. The trial period, including test journeys, for these freight wagons will start in 2018.
“The freight wagons are our most important resource at DB Cargo,” says Steffen Bobsien, Asset Manager and Head of Technology Rail Freight Transport at DB Cargo. “Together with VTG we asked ourselves how we can optimise the next generation of freight wagons in terms of noise reduction, energy efficiency and economical deployment, and we’re delighted that the Ministry of Transport shares our vision of developing innovative freight wagons. We firmly believe that rail freight transport needs exactly this kind of initiative if it is to employ innovative assets to remain and become more competitive in the multimedial logistics market.”
“At VTG we believe that rail is the solution for constantly growing transport volumes. That’s why we’re so keen to innovate to make rail the backbone of an intelligent and sustainable logistics solution,” explained Dr Heiko Fischer, Chairman of VTG. “For us, the development of innovative freight wagons is a decisive step in this direction.” (an)