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Alpine transport picks up speed

DB Cargo's high-frequency shuttle trains reduce journey times between Italy and Germany.

When the market demands more, DB Cargo steps up its game – the company is significantly upgrading its service between Italy and Germany, adding more shuttle trains departing from Mannheim and the Swiss city of Chiasso. Since the last timetable changes took effect in December 2017, the frequency of DB Cargo's shuttle train service has increased considerably. Since the change, a shuttle departs every three hours. DB Cargo's direct train service links Germany's core network with DB Cargo RailNet Italy, a high-performance network in its own right. The entire transport chain is thus managed by a single provider bearing overall responsibility.

Increasing the frequency of these trains allows DB cargo to offer its customers even more capacity and faster transport on rail along the Rhine and through the Alps.

"Faster and more stable transport with more competitive journey times are only some of the advantages that this high-frequency shuttle will bring our customers", says Carolina Lasse, Vice President of Industrial Product Management at DB Cargo. In addition, a new turnaround cycle concept enables customers to build more stability and reliability into their European supply chains.
Beyond the environmental benefits, transporting goods through the Alps by rail offers a real competitive advantage over road transport. Switzerland aims to decrease the number of trips taken by lorries to transport goods, and increase usage of trains, which are much more environmentally friendly. The country has also placed stringent regulations on road transport, such as placing a ban on driving lorries at night, on Sundays and on holidays. The average permitted load is only 25 tonnes, and the transport of heavy loads is heavily regulated.

Access to the single wagonload network

The expansion of the route connecting Mannheim and the Dutch city of Kijfhoek has also created a rapid link to the large Western ports of Rotterdam, Antwerp and Amsterdam. This service also integrates the French market into the transportation network. As a consequence, transport to and from Italy has improved thanks to optimised journey times and smooth transitions between the networks; only rail service can guarantee this level of quality. Mannheim has a unique role to play here. Offering access to Europe's largest single-wagonload network, the Mannheim marshalling yard is one of the central hubs for rail freight transport. From Mannheim, many other direct service routes lead to the Netherlands, Belgium and ports on the North Sea. Destinations in France and Spain can be reached from Mannheim, as is the case for destinations in Sweden and countries in eastern Europe as well.

No other rail freight company in Europe offers such a comprehensive network for transporting single wagonloads. In Italy as in many other countries, DB Cargo also grants the local national company access to a dense local transport network, which connects to all key economic hubs.

Industrial customers who rely on this type of transport service between Germany and Italy can count on quicker and more reliable transport solutions. "The higher service frequency on this route shortens the distance between Italy's large economic hubs and the industrial regions in the rest of Europe even further", says Walter Herrmann-Schramm, the DB Cargo employee responsible for Southwestern Network Concepts. Since trains are operated by DB Cargo from start to finish, transport to and from Italy has experienced even more improvements as a result of optimised journey times and smooth transitions between countries.