Position paper: Serious Limitations on Key North-South European Rail Freight Axis 20/02/12

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The Rotterdam-Genoa (or ERTMS Corridor A), commencing with the Betuwe line and terminating in Northern Italy, is the most important rail freight axis for CT trains, and European rail freight in general. The graph below shows the line (left side), while it also indicates targeted train length and weight as well as gauge-profile development in the coming years (right).

The Swiss government is conducting major investment projects (i.e. the Gotthard and Ceneri base tunnels) to enhance this rail axis.  Despite the considerable investment, however, a number of important aspects have been disregarded during the coordination process on how to improve connecting rail routes on the south side of the Alps, which will seriously curtail the ability of unaccompanied Combined Transport to competitively utilise the newly devised infrastructure elements.

Neglect of the Luino line, the Western bypass route of the Milan area for 80% of unaccompanied CT today, in favour of the “politically preferred” Chiasso line – where freight trains would have to pass through the busy Milan region – is a major mistake that will prolong the reaching of the train-length, -weight and profile-gauge extension targets along the entire ERTMS Corridor A into the indefinite future.

The Luino line not only allows for freight trains to avoid the Milan metropolitan area, but leads most conveniently to the major CT transhipment terminals of the region, the final destination of CT trains, and also features the smallest inclinations, all key to freight trains that are heavier than passenger trains.

“UIRR strongly encourages the affected parties, including the European Commission, to provide the required resources needed to facilitate the Luino line upgrades needed for a smooth flow of competitive CT trains along this key route.” – said UIRR Chairman, Rudy Colle


Graph - Luino Line (expectations)

Graph - Split of volumes

Graph - Running trains on different Swiss routes

Related documents
Position Paper DE EN IT
Press release EN