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After France, Germany, and more recently Britain , the private Italian firm ISC – Interporto Servizi Cargo – would like to use the Italian high-speed lines at night for intermodal trains. This company is installed on the site of Nola, not far from Naples, not far from the depot of AGV of the trains operator NTV Italo. And besides, the boss of ISC is precisely Giuseppe Sciarrone, the very man who managed NTV Italo until recently! That’s this fine connoisseur of the railway business who put on the table this intermodal rail project on AV lines (Alta Velocita).
The Interporto Servizi Cargo carrier has its own tracks – well border marked by a concrete wall (photo) – on the site TIN, the Terminal Intermodal Nola, which is actually a private concession granted by the Campania. The ISC project includes the establishment of fast intermodal trains to transport trailers only by “mega trailer” wagon, between the Nola Interporto and northern Italy, where there are connections to and from Northern Europe. The project supports the extension of the famous railway freight corridors TEN-T launched by the European Commission. Four of these corridors lead to Italy, hence the importance of the project.
The feasibility study has been launched and plans provide, from 2018, to circulate the overnight trains on the Italian high speed lines in commercial speed of 160 km / h. But he must first adapt the rail infrastructure at the PC80 gauge. The AV network already has these features, but this is not the case everywhere in the classic lines of the Italian railway network. The PC80 template is required for the transport of road trailers 4 meters high at the corners of angle, which is also one of the criteria of the TEN-T corridors. Moreover, the idea is to operate these trains outside the passenger services, so only at night.
The other aspect is the length – and therefore the load – of trains. As shown in the table presented at the Convegno FerCargo of February in Milan (first conference on freight), the project ISC also concerns the extension lengths of freight trains in Italy, carrying the current 450-550 meters to 750 meters, thereby increasing the capacity from 1600 to 2000 tons, in favor of rail freight companies to reduce costs through greater competitiveness with road transport.
Finally, there is the rolling stock. For now, ISC has three TRAXX F 140 DC Series E 484, with dual voltage 3 kV DC / 25 kV AC rented from MRCE (photo). However, they must be equipped with ERTMS Level 2 to circulate on the “AV” line of the Italian network. As for wagons, the company wants to acquire a series with a speed of 160km / h maximum envisaged. However, the TRAXX F 140 are not capable of this speed, as indicated by their model number.
In the past
The Italian idea is not new. In Germany, some freight trains are operated on the ‘neubaustrecken’ network, but it is true they have a long profile designed from the outset for this mission, ie with more gentle profile. In France, there was once in 1997 a closer idea of the Italian experience, when the fast freight was operated on the LGV Sud-Est with the MVGV code (goods to travelers plan Grande Vitesse). The traffic was operated during the night,in order to avoid to interfere with the TGV traffic and the trains consisted of BB 22200 already equipped for operation on the LGV as well as freight wagons class G02 with Y37A bogie. But about the load, the trains were limited to some 300 small tons, which could not be commercially competitive. The experiment ended in 2010. In 2012, Europorte made a brief demonstration of feasibility with an intermodal train between Antwerp and Barking via the HS1 in Britain. More recently, DB Schenker Rail UK has launched in January 2014 a new regular intermodal train for six months between the Spanish terminal of Silla, near Valencia, and also Barking, near East London. Industrial John G. Russell also plans to invest more than £ 500,000 in wagons with 90-foot modified, to meet the requirements of a train of 1,600 tons on HS1. The company would work with the AAE renter for the provision of ad hoc wagons. Originality of these projects: traffic borrows British LGV HS1 which has the European P400 gauge from the beginning, instead of restrictive gauge in force throughout the UK. But the traffic window available is only of six hours, again at night.
It will be interesting to follow the Italian project to see to what extent freight can benefit from infrastructure originally designed for high-speed passenger.