rail4chem inaugurates train service Rotterdam-Brescia
Essen – rail4chem started its new container train link between Rotterdam
and Brescia in northern Italy on December 13th 2004 to coincide with the change
of timetable at the end of the year. After an intensive planning and preparatory
phase lasting several months, the service began smoothly with the first
trains duly reaching their destinations. The direct link through four European
countries is the largest project to date of the dynamic rail4chem,
which is still very much on the growth track.
The new service provides five round trips per week, with five trains in each
direction. Basically, the trains operate without stops en route, the only exception
being Ede in the Netherlands, where a group of wagons deployed
from the local terminal is uncoupled from or coupled to the trains. The trains
take 28 hours to cover the over 1,300 km route, thus achieving an average
speed of close on 50 km per hour.
In contrast to the previous division of cargo management, rail4chem assumes
full responsibility vis-Ã -vis its customers for the safe and punctual
transport of the containers over the entire route. The organization of all
haulage services, operative preparatory work and planning of the trains are
all effected by the train control centre of rail4chem, which controls and
monitors the trains over the entire international route. Haulage on the longdistance
route is provided in close partnership with the Italian rail company
Ferrovie Nord Milano.
With this form of locomotive deployment through four traditionally separate
state railway systems, the two rail operators are breaking new ground
within the European rail system. In the Netherlands, rail4chem hauls the
trains with its own diesel locomotives of the Vossloh series G 2000, its
Dutch subsidiary rail4chem Benelux B.V. being responsible for the operative
provision of the transport services. In Germany and Switzerland, haulage
is provided by rail4chem locomotives of the Bombardier series 185 in
the first phase of operation that has now commenced. These units are
equipped with safety packages for Germany, Austria and Switzerland and
with this design received their final registration only a few days ago. A second
BR 185 is coupled to the train between Basel and Chiasso for negotiating
the gradients on the Swiss Gotthard Massif. In Switzerland, rail4chem
transalpin AG is legally responsible for the rail transport and provision of
personnel. Haulage from the Swiss-Italian border station Chiasso is provided
for the time being by Ferrovie Nord Milano or rather its cargo subsidiary
Ferrovie Nord Cargo using diesel locomotives. However, the state railways
subsidiary Trenitalia Cargo has also stated that it is willing to assist
with equipment or personnel in the first weeks of operation if required.
At the beginning of next year, rail4chem and its Italian partner will deploy
Siemens series 189 electric locomotives provided by Ferrovie Nord for
through-going haulage from Emmerich to Chiasso. These units are already
registered in Germany, Switzerland and Italy.
Commenting on his company’s thrust south to Italy, the manager of
rail4chem, Matthias Raith, notes: “With the start of this new train system,
we are taking a great step forward on our not always easy path towards
becoming a service company providing pan-European rail links for industrial
and logistics companies. Our partnership with Ferrovie Nord is exemplary
in this respect.” Raith adds that in the very complex European rail
sector future-oriented newcomers with lean organizations could, by cooperating
closely with suitable operators from other countries, achieve quality
and reliability for long-running trains in a far more effective and faster way.
rail4chem Eisenbahnverkehrsgesellschaft mbH (Essen) provides national
and international rail freight services. The fast-growing company is a joint
venture of BASF AG (Ludwigshafen), Bertschi (CH-DÃ¼rrenÃ¤sch), Hoyer and
VTG AG (both Hamburg). The 100% subsidiaries rail4chem Benelux B. V.
(NL-Rotterdam) and rail4chem transalpin AG (CH-DÃ¼rrenÃ¤sch) have their
own registrations in the Netherlands and Switzerland respectively. With its
staff of over 100, rail4chem clocked up over 2 billion tonne km with its partners
in Europe in 2004.