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Freight tram research in Karlsruhe and Frankfurt

An AVG tram-train carrying a special livery to emphasise its environmental credentials. Image courtesy of P. Gaertner

The LogIKTram research initiative to explore moving city-based freight traffic from road to rail was launched on 1 March.

Funding of EUR2.75m has been made available from Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy to project partners the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Offenburg University, MARL Consultants, SimPlan, INIT, Thales, DB Engineering & Consulting and Albtal-Verkehrs-Gesellschaft (which provides regional tram-train services).

The technical concept is based on the ‘Karlsruhe Model’ which has been in operation for almost 30 years. The region’s rail infrastructure is ideal for developing new types of goods deliveries, and the effects on both road and rail traffic will be studied through the creation of simulation models for the movement of people and goods, including temporal separation.An ICT platform and technical infrastructure will be developed, as well as a prototype load carrier using a withdrawn AVG car that will be adapted to carry goods with automatic loading and unloading. A final report is due in 2023.

Meanwhile, the Land of Hessen has given a grant of EUR346 000 to the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences for an environmental logistics study that will include a ‘Cargo Tram option in co-operation with city transport operator VGF and parcel delivery service Hermes.

A previous project found that regular passenger trams were not suitable for freight transport;  the latest grant will be used to explore options for dedicated vehicles.