It’s good news in the freight industry right now, as freight train operators can now successfully pull more wagons per train, which helps to improve both efficiency and their environmental impact.
The new ability is all thanks to a research project which has been conducted by the Rail Safety and Standards Board, which has identified a new method that allows existing couples - the technology responsible for connecting freight wagons up together, to safely connect more loads together.
The new change means that a typical 34.5 tonne coupler rating can now increase by 16%, meaning that it can now handle 40 tonnes of weight. In addition, some existing 56 tonne rated couplers are now capable of increasing by 13%, making it easy to increase to a new 63% tonne rating, which offers a lot of new efficiency.
The best part about all of this is that the new values can be used for wagons that are already currently operating today, and they don’t need to do big changes or a proper engineering assessment. The board has said that because of the research, more than 50% of all the freight wagons in the UK, which totals more than 12,000 wagons, will receive an increase in the amount of weight they are safely able to transport.
The news is highly encouraging from an environmental standpoint. On a typical journey from England to Scotland, more than two tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions will be cut. There will also be a drastic decrease in the amount of nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions that are released into the atmosphere. Furthermore, it is only natural that by increasing the amount of weight they can be safely moved, there will be financial benefits to come from this process as well.
Many leading experts have given their opinions on the matter. Aaron Barrett is the Lead Research Analyst for the RSSB, and has said that:
“It's good to see the results of our research directly helping freight train operators. By enabling longer trains, more goods and materials can be hauled per journey. This will have a hugely positive impact on emissions and financial efficiency.
“This research project is the first in a series, funded by the Department of Transport, designed to help the rail freight sector in Great Britain. Our freight research programme is currently focusing on the safe operation of rail freight, raising the average speed of services, enabling the operation of longer trains and reducing emissions.”
Other individuals have also weighed in on the development. For example, Huw Merriman, the current Rail Minister, had this to say.
“This research is hugely promising. It’s great to see how we’re continuing to improve our freight network, so even more goods and materials can be moved with every journey, strengthening the UK supply chain.”
Naturally, this is positive news for the freight industry as a whole, and is growing evidence that the industry is capable of adapting and changing to new environmental directors as they become more pressing.