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 last-mile operations and are integrated well with pallet-based logistic centers. Different innovations like Modalohr and CargoBeamer aim to solve this dilemma and operate on several corridors. Logistic companies benefit from a price-competitive, fast, and environmentally friendly transport system on these corridors.

The “Schienentieflader” belongs in the same category of intermodal transport systems.  Its unique selling proposition is a competitive rail vehicle that swaps semi-trailers quickly, securely, and profitably. The rail vehicle can also be designed to accommodate 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.” The rail vehicles are expensive and usually very heavy (25-30 tons per vehicle). The capital expenditure (fixed costs) for custom-built terminals is also high. In contrast, the “Schienentieflader” offers a solution that integrates smoothly 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, enabling operators to build new routes and networks quickly. The construction of the railcar brings together the worlds of aerospace and railways, resulting in an ultralight (12-15 tons) and robust design. This reduces energy consumption in operations and allows for transporting heavier loads. Furthermore, automated couples allow longer, heavier trains and provide electricity for each vehicle to power the loading system and refrigerated units. One more thing. The energy also powers robust industrial sensors, which gather all the relevant data for optimal predictive maintenance. With predictive maintenance, operators can be guaranteed the highest levels of system reliability and availability. As a result, to decarbonize and decongest the European road network, the Schienentieflader provides a simple and elegant transportation system that 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 higher flexibility (same rolling stock, less cost of capital) and growth in the profitability of transport services.

To learn more about the “Schienentieflader”, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Helmut Binder.

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