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Competitiveness of Freight Traffic by Rail Strengthened in 2020

Intelligent and digitalised carriages and rail yards will already be put into operation on a smaller scale next year. The new intelligent freight train traffic will thus elevate its competitiveness and can be a decisive factor for achieving climate goals. This is the result of the EU project FR8HUB, which was presented at the transport conference Nordic Rail in October.

The European freight train project FR8HUB, which is led by the national arena for transport efficiency, CLOSER, introduces, together with a number of other projects within the EU's railway drive Shift2Rail, several new technological solutions in Swedish cargo train transport that surpass Europe and the rest of the world in many respects. 

janbergstrand.jpgAmong other things, a digitalised form of automatic connection of carriages will be introduced with the support of four different suppliers.

-"Europe has been behind much of the world thus far with respect to automatically connected carriages, but when our digital automatic couplings are introduced, we will turn the tables and suddenly find ourselves at the leading edge," says Jan Bergstrand of the Swedish Transport Agency.

In addition to the purely mechanical coupling of the carriages, which is technology that the rest of the world has worked with for a long time, air, electricity and IT have been added to the coupling, which creates new possibilities for intelligent trains.

New Technologies Tested in Sweden

FR8HUB began in 2017 and concrete results were already presented at the industry conference Nordic Rail in Jönköping.

-"We have now reached the implementation stage at which our new technologies will start being used. In addition to smart, automatically connected trains, we are also presenting an intelligent port, a so-called Intelligent Video Gate that talks with the digitalised carriages, and thus creates additional possibilities for smart, sustainable transport and optimised processes in intermodal terminal operation," says Jan Bergstrand.

A Major Competitive Boost

The intelligent port is positioned at important train hubs, starting with Malmö, but soon in Gothenburg and other locations in the country. One of the big advantages of digitalised cargo train traffic is that control over both carriages and loads is strengthened, which creates additional value for the customer and improves efficiency.  

-"Taken as a whole, the update of freight traffic on the railway entails a significant boost in competitiveness and possibilities for intermodal solutions increase - that it to say transport that extends across multiple different types of transportation," says Jan Bergstrand.

Technological development that is currently in progress within Shift2Rail also applies to modular freight carriages in lightweight material that can be adapted to the load and trains having lengths exceeding one kilometre, which provides and additional boost to competitiveness and efficiency.

FR8HUB and Shift2Rail
Shift2Rail is the first European collaborative railway technology project for the railway system of tomorrow. By commission of the Swedish Transport Administration, CLOSER at Lindholmen Science Park serves as a cluster coordinator for Swedish players within the scope of the work in Shift2Rail Innovation Programme 5 - Freight Transport and assists the Swedish Transport Administration as project manager in the FR8HUB project. Read more about Shift2Rail