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As part of the EU and rail industry funded Shift2Rail programme’s ‘FR8RAIL II’ project, on 18 April an 835-metre-long freight train was operated between Hamburg and Malmö via the Øresund Link between Denmark and Sweden. The test train was designed to demonstrate the viability of longer trains with a single locomotive on the route. The 2,300-tonne test train was hauled by a DB Cargo Scandinavia Class EG six-axle Siemens Eurosprinter electric locomotive at a top speed of 120km/h.

Freight trains on the route between Germany and Sweden are currently restricted to 630 metres, and by increasing the length to 835 metres, a further 14 45-foot containers (equivalent to around 28 twenty-foot equivalent units, or TEUs) can be carried. In Sweden, national infrastructure manager Trafikverket already permits longer 750-metre freights on the northern Swedish ‘Ore line’ between Luleå and Narvik (Norway), whilst 835-metre-long freights have operated between Hamburg Maschen and the Danish border at Padborg since 2013.The EU has set a target length of 740 metres for freights on the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) by 2030. The trial was designed to prove longer trains can be operated routinely with one locomotive and driver, which would improve the economics of rail freight operation between Sweden and the rest of non-Scandinavian Europe.

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