Swiss rail freight traffic grows with automation

Swiss rail freight traffic grows with automation

The automatic coupling between wagons and locomotives, in agreement with the EU, will modernize the SBB CFF FFS cargoes through a pushed digitization

A cargo train of the Swiss Federal Railways in Lugano
A cargo train of the Swiss Federal Railways in Lugano

On the occasion of the arrival of the train “Connecting Europe Express” in Basel, theFederal Office of Transporti (FOT) of the Swiss confederation and the representatives of the rail freight traffic presented a declaration of intent for the introduction of theautomatic digital pairing, in agreement with the European partners.
In this way, rail freight traffic becomes more competitive, to the benefit of one increased climate protection.
La close cooperation among the players in the sector, the coordination at European level and the considerable effort on the part of SBB CFF FFS Cargo are important success factors.
The “Connecting Europe Express”, a special train ofXNUMX-XNUMX business days, stopped at the freight station of Basel Wolf.
Indeed, 2021 is “European Year of Railways”, an initiative organized by the European Commission and part of the EU strategy linked to Green Pact, which aims to make Europe the first continent a zero CO2 emissions by 2050. rail freight transport plays a key role in achieving this goal.

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A cargo train of the Swiss Federal Railways with the Ceneri tunnel logo
A cargo train of the Swiss Federal Railways with the Ceneri tunnel logo

They will improve the preparation and composition of convoys

The central element for making rail freight traffic pass the test of the future is theautomation, in particular theautomatic digital pairingwhich makes it possible faster and safer procedures in preparation and train composition, as well as faster and more convenient deliveries.
Today the FOT, theUnion of Public Transporti (UTP) and theShippers' Association (VAP) have approved a common commitment so that all wagons and locomotives in Switzerland are equipped with automatic digital coupling.
Peter Fuglistaler, director of the FOT, commented with satisfaction: “This is an important step: the new coupling technology has the right potential to tangibly improve the competitiveness of rail freight traffic.”

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Adina Vălean, Commissioner for Transport of the European Union, inside the Connecting Europe Express train
Adina Vălean, Commissioner for Transport of the European Union, inside the Connecting Europe Express train

Climate move: over a third of goods traveling by rail

In addition to September 2021 the sector and the railways of all over Europe they agreed on one uniform coupling head, which will come in the future used throughout the continent.
It is a fundamental step on the road of standardization, which represents the only tool to enhance the rail competitiveness in cross-border freight traffic and consequently increase the modal split.
In Europe the share of rail freight traffic must pass from 18 to 30 percent by 2030.
SBB CFF FFS Cargo plays a pioneering role in the automation sector in Europe: since May 2019 auto pairing is employed in some parts of the network for the combined traffic.

This happened last June conversion of the entire network of the internal combined traffic, with a significant involvement of wagon owners as key partners.
Desirée Baer, CEO of SBB CFF FFS Cargo, welcomes the European agreement very much: “It is a further step in the project aimed at making rail freight traffic more competitive, which is essential for achieving national climate protection objectives”.
Looking to the future, he also states: "Together with its partners, SBB Cargo wants to continue to accelerate the modernization and consolidate rail freight traffic in its role as the logistics backbone of Switzerland and Europe."

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A cargo train of the Swiss Federal Railways in a tunnel
A cargo train of the Swiss Federal Railways in a tunnel

Automatic coupling of carriages and locomotives - the real breakthrough

Along with upgrades like the automatic brake test or the digital control logic, this coupling technology represents themain innovation, as it allows that wagons and locomotives are hooked up automatically.
Thanks to the automatic digital pairing, the same will also happen for the future power lines, data linesie le pneumatic pipelinesand freight wagons.
Today many operations occur again manually: Fitting and testing brakes are tiring, demanding and demanding activities long walking distances around the freight train.
Automatic pairing is a vital step on the road tooperation with a single operator; increased efficiency increases the competitiveness of rail freight traffic.

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The cabin of a Swiss Federal Railways cargo train
The cabin of a Swiss Federal Railways cargo train

Towards a wave of… retirements among the so-called “baby boomers”

Un further phenomenon to keep in mind is thewave of retirements among the so-called "baby boomers" busy today maneuvering operations, very expensive in terms of personnel.
Automation can partly offset this surge. Thanks to new technologies, one is being created very interesting professional figureand in the maneuvering sector and at the same time increases safety e improves health of collaborators and collaborators.

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Adina Vălean, Commissioner for Transport of the European Union, in front of the Connecting Europe Express train
Adina Vălean, Commissioner for Transport of the European Union, in front of the Connecting Europe Express train