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Press release

The longest rail freight journey ever

Euro Cargo Rail is the traction provider in France of the first train to make the world's longest rail freight journey, from China to Spain.

InterRail Services GmbH (IRS) is the logistics operator for this project, while DB Schenker Rail is the rail operator in charge of transport in the European territory, between Poland and Spain.

Euro Cargo Rail, a subsidiary of DB Schenker Rail group, is responsible for the traction of the train between Forbach and Irun.

The success of this operation could lead to the first regular rail freight service between China and Spain, enabling a direct transport service to be offered through France.

Enlarge imageECR-Longest train, ECR

Paris, 6 December 2014 – IRS (InterRail Services GmbH), assisted by the European rail expertise of DB Schenker Rail, has launched the first direct freight train from China to Spain, making it the longest rail journey in the world for a freight train.

The 600-metre-long freight convoy, comprised of 40 containers* and weighing more than 1,400 tonnes, left Yiwu in China on 18 November and should reach its final destination in Madrid on 9 December, after travelling more than 13,000 kilometres. After leaving Yiwu, China, the train continued its journey by travelling through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, and France. It will reach its final destination, the Abronigal freight terminal in Madrid (Spain), after 21 days of travel. Once the train had crossed the Polish border at Malaszewicze, its was DB Schenker Rail that delivered the transport services in every country, thanks to the teams at DB Schenker Rail Polska and DB Schenker Rail Deutschland.

In France, this initial test service is currently running on the national rail network thanks to the French subsidiary of DB Schenker Rail, Euro Cargo Rail (ECR), the leading alternative operator for rail freight in France. The train starts its journey through France at Forbach and will travel to Irun, where once again a subsidiary of DB Schenker, Transfesa, will take over and carry the convoy to Abronigal, the biggest container terminal in Spain.

Throughout the journey, the engines were changed approximately every 800 kilometres and the containers were transshipped three times en route, at the border crossing points between Alashankou (China) and Dostyk (Kazakhstan), Brest (Belarus) and Malaszewicze (Poland), and Hendaye (France) and Irun (Spain).

Following this trial journey, a study on the possibility of establishing a regular service between China and Spain will be made, which could be operational from spring 2015, with two round trips planned per month. Currently, regular connections are offered by DB Schenker Rail between China and Europe, and in particular between Shenyang and Leipzig, Chongqing and Duisbourg, and Zhenzhou and Hamburg.
Alain Thauvette, President of Euro Cargo Rail and Managing Director of DB Schenker Rail Region West, said: "DB Schenker Rail's role in this first train between China and Spain is further evidence that rail provides a competitive, reliable and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional modes of transport, and shows the synergies and strength within our group's European network. Taking the train down the Atlantic Corridor, which is supported by the European Union, shows how the measures taken to facilitate the transport of goods by rail and to promote the rail network could bear fruit in the future. At Euro Cargo Rail, we are also very proud to be the first traction provider to carry this extraordinary convoy in France." 

Tufan Khalaji, Managing Director of IRS InterRail Services GmbH, said: "We are pleased to be able to offer this new service to the consumer goods sector. It has a great deal of potential, as the demand for the supply of these products is high. We chose DB Schenker Rail as our partner due to the quality of its service, its comprehensive logistics solution and its highly developed European network." 

*In Brest, Belarus, 10 containers (out of a total of 40) were unloaded, whilst the remainder (30) were modified in order to adapt the convoy to the European gauge, so that it could continue its journey to Madrid. 

Last modified: 17.06.2014

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