Posted 21st September 2021 | 1 Comment

'Rolling motorway' launched for cross-Channel rail freight

'Rolling motorway' launched for cross-Channel rail freight

Eurotunnel is launching a new rail freight service between France and Britain via the Channel Tunnel which will convey unaccompanied cargoes, dubbed a 'rolling motorway'. A partnership has been formed between Eurotunnel and freight handler CargoBeamer to run the new service between Calais and Ashford. Eurotunnel said the extension of the 'rolling motorway' from Perpignan to Ashford was a 'logical step' in developing a future international intermodal network between the Channel and the Mediterranean. A second route from Domodossola, in the Alps region, to Calais will also be extended to Ashford after its launch early next month. Both the new rail services combined will avoid 8,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions, Eurotunnel said, which supports to the move to decarbonise freight and promote modal shift. An unaccompanied freight service also eases the shortage of HGV drivers in the UK and Europe as well as relieving road traffic congestion. Eurotunnel freight commercial director Christian Dufermont said: 'The signature of this partnership confirms our freight commercial strategy and is concrete proof of our customers’ increased interest in an unaccompanied cross-Channel service that helps decarbonise their logistic chains and improves flexibility.'

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  • david c smith, Bletchley

    The "cargo beamer"technology is a German innovation that is able to side- load standard semitrailers onto rail vehicles,to run within the tighter European loading guages, and that aren't specially built to withstand being lifted by crane. There is also "Modalohr" , a French system that also has the same advantages, using a similar technology to the British "Charterrail" briefly used in 1990/ 91.All three of these systems need only some flat ground for mode change.

    I have thought for some time that there is a gap in this country in the provision of intermodal "merchandise" freight transport. We have done very well in the provision of ISO container transport to/ from the main ports, but inland ( including via the Chunnel) , HGV's reign supreme.

    The mere fact that "Charterail" was able to run within the British loading guages, indicates these need not be a barrier to the systems named above, not forgetting that some freight routes have already been "guage enhanced". There will, I think, be an additional relevance for those factories and warehouses that are configured for semitrailers rather than for containers.