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French Railways testing 1000m freight trains

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Fret SNCF, the freight transport arm of France’s national rail operator, is conducting a series of new trials with 1,000-metre freight trains.

As continuation of last year’s Marathon long freight train project, Fret SNCF will run 12 trains between October and December between Somain, in the north of France, and Woippy in the north east.

‘Marathon’ completed a series of tests in 2014 using diesel and electric locomotives to haul 1.5-kilometre freight trains. Following the success of this project, Fret SNCF launched a commercial study into the use of kilometre-long freight trains.

Fret SNCF has said commercial operation of 1,000-1,500m freight trains could be feasible from 2018.

The main advantage of running the longer trains is that it allows an operator to move twice the volume of freight, whilst expending just 20 per cent of the capacity taken up by a complete additional train.