Heavylift / Breakbulk
From a flirt to a kiss
Stadler is currently manufacturing 25 of its Kiss-type double-decker passenger trains for export to Russia, to fill an order from Aeroexpress. The spectacular transport from Switzerland, where four of the trains are being built, started in early September in eastern Switzerland, and included an intermediate stop in the Auhafen inland port in Muttenz.
The order from the Russian firm Aeroexpress for 25 double-decker passenger trains from Swiss train manufacturer Stadler – which also makes the Flirt-type train – was placed in February 2013, but the transport of the first unit only began recently. The new units, nine six-car and 16 four-car trains in all, will run between the Moscow city centre and the airport. Four of the units are being manufactured in Altenrhein, in eastern Switzerland, and the rest will be produced in a Stadler plant in Minsk (Belarus). The complete commissioning process will take place in Minsk.
The planners opted for intermodal transport, because the dimensions of the trains made in Switzerland made delivering them by rail unfeasible. A total of 20 individual railcars will be delivered by road over three nights from eastern Switzerland to the Auhafen inland port in Muttenz, in western Switzerland. The railcars have a length of nearly 50 m, a height of 5.2 m and are 4.2 m broad at their widest point. This means that they cannot even be transported the full distance on those exceptional routes designated type I routes by the authorities.
In the canton of Aargau, for instance, the trucks had to take a detour along a residential street between Endingen and Würenlingen, and after that made their way along a partially unpaved rural road. From the cantonal border between Thurgau and Zurich to the cantonal border between Aargau and Solothurn the vehicles have to cover 120 km instead of the standard 88 km.
Three legs: road – barge – rail ferry
In order to plan the sequence of such a complex heavy transport, the proposed route was measured with a 3D laser scanner. Special software combined the measurement data from the scan with the specific vehicle data, in order to generate an assessment that enabled the planners to say conclusively whether – and where – problems could crop up over the course of the trip.
The leg from Basel to Amsterdam will be handled by a inland barge on the river Rhine. A six-car train can be transported in a single trip. For the third leg of the voyage, a coastal shipping vessel will transport the cargo to the Sassnitz Mukran ferry terminal, via the Kiel canal. In Sassnitz Mukran the individual cars will be placed on their broad-gauge bogies and assembled into four or six-car trains.
At this point, the trains will not be able to travel under their own power. Some of the tracks on Sassnitz Mukran have been laid in the 1,520 mm Russian gauge, which makes it possible to manoeuvre the complete trains onto the rail ferries that travel to the port of Ust-Luga, near St Petersburg, which is naturally equipped with Russian broad-gauge tracks. From there, the trains will be transported to Minsk, where they will be commissioned. The transport of all four trains is expected to be completed by spring 2015.