Eurasian rail link tested
A freight train Tuesday started a 10,000-kilometer trial run from Beijing to Hamburg for a proposed “Eurasian Land Bridge” service that could eventually connect Northern Europe and the Far East twice as quickly as ocean services.
The test is a being undertaken by six rail company partners: Germany’s Deutsche Bahn AG, the Russian and Chinese Railways as well as the national railroads of Mongolia, Poland and Belarus. The train will travel from the Chinese capital through Mongolia, along the Trans-Siberian Railroad, through Belarus and Poland before arriving in Hamburg in just under 20 days.
“We want to demonstrate that we can get a train like this one to its destination fast, safely and reliably under real-life conditions. The train will provide experience crucial for the intended launch of regular Eurasian transport services. The potential for such transport services is extraordinarily high, given the forecasted trade flows,” said Hartmut Mehdorn, Deutsche Bahn’s chairman.
Norbert Bensel, Deutsche Bahn’s management board member responsible for transportation and logistics, added: “We’re aiming to achieve a journey time of 15 to 18 days in the future — that’s twice as fast as a seagoing vessel from Germany to China and Asia. At the same time, we’re considerably cheaper than air freight for many types of cargo. Of course, many details still need to be tackled, such as providing a high level of vehicle technology and accelerating customs formalities at the borders.”