Intermodal Railcar – Shift Everything to Rail


Discover a novel intermodal rail vehicle to shift any semi-trailer from the road to rail in a price competitive, fast and secure manner.

The technologies used in intermodal transport today, focus on cranes that load containers and are thus unable to handle large volumes of standard semi-trailers. But semi-trailers account for the majority of European road freight traffic. In addition, semi-trailers are perfect for the last mile operations and integrated well with pallet-based logistic centers. Different innovations like Modalohr and CargoBeamer aim to solve this dilemma and operate on a number of corridors. On these corridors, logistic companies benefit from a price competitive, fast and environmentally friendly transport system.

The “Schienentieflader” belongs in the same category of intermodal transport systems.  Its unique selling proposition is a competitive rail vehicle which swaps semi-trailers in a quick, secure and profitable manner. The rail vehicle can also be designed in a way, that accommodates piggyback transports (Rollende Landstraße). An extra-long design version allows Gigaliners to be shifted to rail. The design is flexible and fully integrates with the European terminal and railway system.

Other intermodal vehicle designs like CargoBeamer or Modalohr are competitive products but have significant disadvantages compared to the “Schienentieflader”. Here the rail vehicles are expensive and usually very heavy (25-30 tons per vehicle). Additionally, the capital expenditure (fixed costs) for custom-built terminals is high. In contrast, the “Schienentieflader” offers a solution that can smoothly integrate with existing terminals and thousands of rail freight locations within Europe. The swap functionality is built into the rail vehicle, not the terminal and the only requirement is a plane surface elevated 25-30 cm above the rail tracks.

This gives freight operators multiple advantages. One is the flexibility of using existing terminals, which enables operators to built new routes and networks quickly. The construction of the railcar brings together the worlds of aerospace and railways, resulting in an ultra light (12-15 tons) and robust design. This reduces energy consumption ins operations and allows for heavier loads to be transported. Furthermore, automated couples not only allow for longer, heavier trains but also provide electricity on each vehicle to power the loading system and refrigerated loading units. One more thing. The energy also powers robust industrial sensors which gather all the relevant data for optimal predictive maintenance. With predictive maintenance, then highest levels of system reliability and availability can be guaranteed to operators. As a result, to decarbonise and decongest the European road network, the Schienentieflader provides a simple and elegant transportation system which allows the shift of freight from road to rail on a large industrial scale.

Advantages for freight forwarding companies like DB Schenker, Kühne und Nagel, DHL, Panalpina, etc. include: local traffic and shift operation for trucks, higher productivity of assets, no risk of congestion on highways, lower dependency on diesel, toll and tax price increases, no need for driver resting or searching for parking slots any longer, shipments on weekends and holidays, less wear on vehicles, higher gross load weight (44 to instead of 40 to). This results in a higher flexibility (same rolling stock, less cost of capital) and growth in profitability of transport services.

To learn more about the “Schienentieflader”, please contact Dr. Helmut Binder.

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