The project to produce this book on ‘Finished Vehicle Logistics by Rail in Europe’ was initiated during the ECG Land Transport Working Group meeting in January 2014. Initially it was suggested by the members of the group to prepare a short briefing paper about the current situation for rail freight and specifically for FVL by rail in Europe. It was to be a concise document explaining the complex nature of rail, its difficulties and challenges, main players, and their roles and responsibilities to be used by ECG’s members. However, it rapidly grew way beyond these simple objectives as you will see.

The first draft of the project was presented at the following Land Transport WG meeting which took place in May 2014. It received further support from the group and in order to gain more knowledge on specific rail technical issues it was decided that ECG should organise site visits with rail technical experts of ECG member companies at their railway operations sites. These were held with DB Schenker Rail Automotive in Frankfurt am Main, BLG Automotive in Bremerhaven, ARS Altmann in Wolnzach, and STVA in Valenton and Paris. As a result of these collaborations, and continuous research on various rail issues, the document was extensively enlarged.

The document consists of several parts, namely a historical section that covers railway development in Europe and specific EU countries; a technical section that discusses the different technical issues of the railway (gauges, electrification, controlling and signalling systems, etc.); a section on the liberalisation process in Europe; a section on the key rail players, and a section on logistics services provided by rail. A substantial part of the document is also dedicated to types of FVL wagons, various types of locomotives and their technical specifications. It also includes a section that tackles the question of European regulation of rail. It briefly presents the current EU projects and initiatives for rail transport. There is a section that discusses the key railway organisations and associations, and, finally, the additional supporting materials, such as maps, glossary, various tables and charts, useful links, etc. have been added.

The newly updated and extended version 2 contains an additional section dedicated to rail noise and wagon brake systems. This part briefly covers the EU and national regulations regarding rail noise, sources and measurement of rail noise, various solutions for its reduction, and, finally, a brief overview of composite brake block systems.

This detailed document on ‘Finished Vehicle Logistics by Rail in Europe’ is relevant not only to ECG’s members, but also to the whole FVL sector in Europe. It represents a unique undertaking to approach the rail transport sector from the perspective of FVL, taking into account the complexity of European rail. It can be used as an instructive manual for those who wish to understand the complexities involved in moving freight by rail in Europe even if they have no prior knowledge.

The document will require regular updating and improving so we welcome your input in helping us to achieve this. Should you consider that this publication needs to cover any other important issues related to FVL by rail, or in case you find information in it that is out of date, please feel free to provide us with your comments or suggestions either by completing the ‘Amendment Proposal’ page which you can find at the back of the book and returning it to ECG, or informing us by sending an e-mail to: info@ecgassociation.eu.

This document is freely available for everyone.  In case you would like to have a bound hard copy of this publication ECG maintains a small stock available for €50 per copy plus postage. To order a hard copy of the publication please download the form here and send it back to info@ecgassociation.eu.