Information published on 18 June 2013 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 351.

The SPECTRUM EU funded FP7 Rail Freight project – mid-term update

  • Research

UIC, on behalf of its members, is involved in three EU funded rail freight projects: MARATHON, SUSTRAIL and SPECTRUM. Starting in May 2011 the project is now at mid-term, a good moment to inform our members and other interested parties about its progress towards its goal of an innovative rail freight logistics and vehicle solution for the transport of Low Density High Value (LDHV) Goods.

SPECTRUM’s objectives are to work towards defining rail freight services that consist of:

  • A freight train that performs like a passenger train in terms of speed, acceleration, braking, momentum: allowing full scheduling on inter-urban and suburban train networks with no excessive consumption of train paths or the inflicting of delay on other rail traffic;
  • Increased operational productivity through intensive asset management systems, integration of train, capacity management, infrastructure utilisation and integration through handling systems into the co-modal networks of modern logistics;
  • A freight train that is smarter by design in terms of the on-board array of systems for condition monitoring of the train technology, cargo status and tracking and tracing;
  • A standardised and universal power supply system for the delivery of power to temperature controlled containers (reefers) in a controllable fashion;
  • Delivering a standard for power supply to refrigerated containers, system concepts and first pass design work for further development by the system builders.

Recent achievements:

Most recently the project derived a number of innovative rail freight concepts. These were subsequently evaluated using qualitative (SWOT) and quantitative (Life Cycle Costing) methodologies.

This report draws extensively from all previous project deliverables and adopts a traditional design process methodology. Having previously identified the concept requirements the report formulates a design brief from which concept generation, evaluation and selection processes are derived.

A total of seven SPECTRUM concepts were derived and are broadly described as:

  • Concept A – Multi Purpose Intermodal
  • Concept B – Liner train – containers – Metro Cargo
  • Concept C – Multi Purpose – no semi trailer (innovatrain) – see picture*
  • Concept D – Semi Trailer (Kockums MegaSwing)
  • Concept E – Palletised
  • Concept F – Self Propelled (1)
  • Concept G – Self Propelled (2)

The concept evaluation consisted of two main elements; a quantitative life cycle costing methodology and qualitative SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis.

Despite the two forms of analysis producing varying results, a summary of both analyses suggested that concept C – multi purpose, no semi trailer and incorporating “containermover3000” transhipment technology – be taken forward for further development.

The project will now assess the feasibility of these concepts for a service area encompassing Sweden and Denmark. A full economic assessment will be made and the likely impact of the proposed new service evaluated. This will take place over the coming months.

Dissemination of the project has also continued through a number of user group workshops and conference presentations. Most recently NewRail researcher Dr Emmanuel Matsika presented the project to delegates at the Railtex 2013 exhibition in London, UK. Dr Matsika’s presentation emphasised how the business case for railway transportation of LDHV goods is driving the development of technology to meet the logistics requirements for the door-to-door delivery of goods.

The next SPECTRUM project assembly is also due to take place on 9 and 10 July in Istanbul, Turkey at the TCDD Training Centre. Day 1 of the event will be used to update partners on the most recent project developments with a number of workshops being held on day 2. The meeting will also be a chance for the advisory board to meet, where UIC’s Dennis Schut will give feedback on the thoughts of the board to the consortium.

Recently the 2nd SPECTRUM Newsletter was issued, which can be downloaded from the project’s website www.spectrumrail.info. Besides information about this project, the newsletter also provides information about the progress in the two related EU funded freight projects MARATHON and SUSTRAIL.

For the newsletter and more detailed information please contact Dennis Schut, UIC Research Manager: schut@uic.org