The lighter wagon is an asset for the rail transport of the future
Rail transport is the key to meeting the European Union’s climate commitments.
In terms of capacity, we load an average of 70 tons of product in a wagon that weighs 20 tons when empty, which represents a ratio of 3.5. A lorry with a 44-tonne gross vehicle weight (GVW) weighs 15 tons empty (including tractor and trailer).
Only 29 tons of goods can therefore be loaded, the ratio being 1.93.
Rail therefore appears to be the most optimised means of land transport. However, the expected increase in the volume of goods transported will implicitly lead the sector to look for solutions that will further optimise the payload of trains.
We are actively working with our partners and our R&D department on a lighter freight wagon project to address this issue.
A lightweight wagon represents:
– for loaded trains: a better load capacity for the customer, thus a reduction in his transport cost per ton
– for trains that are not saturated with load: reduced wear and tear on the wagon components, which are less stressed by the load, maintenance costs are thus reduced
The gain in tare weight will have an impact on CO2 emissions.
Fewer trains will be needed to transport the same volume of goods and less energy will be consumed to pull the wagons.There are solutions for reducing wagon tare weight. One way is for equipment manufacturers to provide more optimised products. For example, equipping wagons with Compact Brake Units (CBUs) can reduce tare weight by between 500 kilos and 1 ton, depending on the braking configurations required.
Building lightweight wagons also means designing the wagon components from lighter materials that are just as strong as steel.
We will soon present our first lighter wagons for intermodal use to our customers.
We are convinced that the future of rail freight lies in innovation, including lighter, quieter, and more efficient wagons. These new generation wagons will be key to encouraging a modal shift from road to rail.