Transporting a challenging cargo to Kijfhoek

Railway tracks in the sunset

Transporting a challenging cargo to Kijfhoek

DB Cargo is transporting retarders for the modernisation of the largest marshalling yard in the Netherlands.

The Kijfhoek marshalling yard near Rotterdam is known as the hub of Europe. As the largest marshalling yard in the Netherlands, it serves as an important link for all rail freight traffic between the port of Rotterdam and Europe's industrial regions. To ensure that the yard can deal with growing freight volumes in the future, Siemens Mobility was commissioned two years ago to modernise the 50-hectare site with 14 entry sidings, 41 sorting sidings and 12 stabling sidings. It is a mammoth project, and not just in terms of sheer size. 


A large and complex project

Even transporting the new parts poses a logistical challenge. The retarders have to be transported in one piece, despite measuring 15 metres in length and almost 4 metres in width. Together with Siemens Mobility, DB Cargo Regional Sales and DB Cargo Nederlands accepted the challenge and have been working on a plan to transport the retarders since January of this year. 

Track brakes on a DB Cargo freight wagon

Good planning key to success

The team had to take a few special factors into account. As the cargo has an excess width of one metre, the secondary tracks had to be closed for this special train. "There is also limited track serviceability on the Betuweroute now", says Sebastian Hepner, Sales Manager Regional Sales Duisburg at DB Cargo. "This route is currently being upgraded to three tracks and is always fully closed between Duisburg and Emmerich at weekends. So we have to plan very carefully." The train also has to switch locomotives three times in total, from a shunting locomotive to a German DB Cargo long-distance locomotive and then again to a Dutch locomotive at the border. This all requires extra stabling sidings. There are also precisely defined time slots for crossing the border. "The most important factor in our planning and operations is making sure the retarders arrive just in time for installation, because large parts like these are difficult to unload and store", says Hepner. But thanks to its expertise in transporting retarders, DB Cargo successfully carried out the first just-in-time special transport with six flat wagons via the Bad Bentheim – Oldenzaal crossing in August.


A strong team

From left to right: Markus Hendricks (Siemens Mobility), Stephan Dau (Siemens Mobility), Maximilian Gutzeit (DH Student, DB Cargo Regionalvertrieb), Sebastian Hepner (DB Cargo Regionalvertrieb) und David Boczek (DB Cargo Network Management).

Reaching the goal together with DB Cargo

The plan envisages one transport per month until late summer of 2024, each with an average of six to seven wagons. This means that a total of 51 retarders, along with the four hydraulic units needed to operate them, will be transported in the space of a single year. 
"We are very pleased to be able to support the modernisation of this important marshalling yard", says Stephan Dau, Team Leader Warehouse/Dispatch & Logistics at Siemens Mobility. "For projects of this size, it is important to have reliable partners like DB Cargo on board. The cooperation was excellent. DB Cargo worked meticulously to help us plan the transports and have provided valuable support during the operations themselves. We always find a solution to every challenge so that we can keep to our schedule."

Get in touch with our expert.

Sebastian Hepner

Sales Manager Regional Sales Duisburg, DB Cargo AG