From wasteland to loading yard, all thanks to teamwork

A timber truck stands next to the rail at the Rudolstadt-Schwarza timber loading station

From wasteland to loading yard, all thanks to teamwork

DB Cargo Logistics' transport concept for a new loading yard is helping to grow environmentally friendly rail transport for timber.

The story began with a forecast for an increase in timber damaged by bark beetles in the forests in the state of Thuringia in central Germany. This came at a time when local timber loading yards were stretched to their limit. There was an urgent need for action. DB Cargo Logistics and its customers agree that timber transport should cover as little distance by road as possible, and ideally reach the nearest rail access point via the shortest route. It was therefore clear that a new timber loading yard had to be built as quickly as possible. A daunting task. 

Finding the perfect space

After an intensive search, DB Cargo Logistics found what it was looking for near the railway station in Rudolstadt-Schwarza at the start of the year. The station still had tracks, which had lain unused for many years. There was also an area between the tracks that appeared to be the ideal loading lane and offered enough space for marshalling HGVs. It quickly became clear that the site in Rudolstadt-Schwarza was the perfect place to build a loading yard for locally harvested logs. The only question was how.

DB Cargo Logistics quickly determined who owned the tracks and premises, and rented the infrastructure. Making the project a success on schedule also meant finding the right partners. Together with its long-standing partner Erfurter Bahnservice GmbH, DB Cargo Logistics developed a plan for the site that would serve the large potential demand from interested customers. The DB Cargo subsidiary also managed to get the municipal government on board, as well as the paper manufacturer JASS, which owned one of the tracks. Work began immediately and the first train loaded with logs departed after only about three months. The loading yard in Rudolstadt has been operating ever since, mainly supplying sawmills in Germany and Austria. It therefore provides relief for the other timber loading points in the surrounding area.


Where previously there were overgrown tracks ...

Nachher, there is a loading station for wood.

A huge success with many advantages

Apart from its advantageous location, the site allows the use of the area between the tracks for loading on both sides. Block trains can also be loaded on site without intermediate shunting. The temporary storage area makes it possible to decouple road and rail transport. A HGV can therefore unload its timber and drive away immediately, without being bound to the dwell time of a train. This makes timber transport more flexible. Thanks to its various logistical options, Rudolstadt-Schwarza is not only a pure loading yard for timber, but also a timber port.


The facility has been well utilised since it opened at the beginning of June 2023. Reno Buchwald, Senior Account Manager at DB Cargo Logistics, sees the first few months as very positive: "Since it began operations, the timber loading yard here in Rudolstadt-Schwarza has been very well received. Two trains, each with 52 truckloads of timber, currently leave the station every week, but we have not yet reached the limit of our capacity. This means we can still respond to demand. So far, we and our customers are very satisfied."

Good cooperation leads to mutual benefits

The proudest achievement of those involved is just how quickly they were able to go from recognising the need to dispatching the first train. "It became apparent that the calculated amount of timber in the region would increase due to the bark beetle infestation. The existing loading points could no longer handle it, so we had to react quickly", says Clemens Pflästerer, Head of Sales & Operations Center Timber at DB Cargo Logistics. "Implementing the solution we found in Rudolstadt-Schwarza was then very straightforward. We worked together with our partners constructively and effectively within a very short period, to everyone's benefit." DB Cargo Logistics played a key role in coordinating and organising the project, and took the lead in ensuring consultation with the parties involved. This led to a good result for everyone: the partners, customers and the environment.

Get in touch with our expert.

Clemens Pflästerer

Head of Sales & Operations Center Timber DB Cargo Logistics