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Successful completion of Capacity for Rail (C4R) project

The CAPACITY4RAIL ‘Increasing Capacity 4 Rail networks through enhanced infrastructure and optimised operations’ project is successfully completed with the four years long duration starting in October 2013 and finishing in September 2017.

The project delivered coherent, demonstrated, innovative and sustainable solutions to pave the way for the future railway system. It achieved the following aims:


  • Track design:
    • transversal approach for infrastructure solutions for conventional mixed traffic and very high speed, integrated monitoring and power supply
    • reduced maintenance
    • new concept for highly reliable switches and crossings
  • Freight service optionswith:
    • longer trains
    • lower tare loads
    • automatic coupling
    • enhanced braking
    • modern, automated, intelligent, fully integrated systems
    • providing efficient, reliable and profitable freight operations
  • Operation and capacity:
    • traffic capacity computation for freight and passenger models and simulators for planners: capacity generation, traffic flow, resilience to perturbations, ability to recover from disturbance, computerised real time information to customers and operators at any time.
  • Advanced monitoring
    • Integration of Advanced Monitoring Technologies in the design and building process, for an easier-to-monitor (self- monitoring) infrastructure with low cost and low impact inspection.


NewRail was primarily involved in research and development (R&D) work, exploring new concepts and options for an integrated pan-European rail freight services. The important result includes deliverables titled:


Requirements toward the freight system of 2030/2050

  • Novel rail freight vehicles
  • Co-modal transhipments and Terminals
  • Catalogue: Rail Freight Systems of the Future


The study finding suggests that it is possible to reduce GHG emissions for all modes but rail will still be the most efficient mode by 2050. An estimation of the effects of a mode shift (as noted above) to rail transport, applying the world’s ‘best practice’, shows that such a mode shift to rail can reduce EU transport GHG emissions over land by about 20%, compared with a baseline scenario. In combination with low-carbon electricity production a reduction of about 30% can be achieved. A developed rail system, as suggested in different deliverables, can thus substantially contribute to the EU target of reducing GHG emissions in the transport sector by 60% compared to 1990 levels. To enable such a mode shift and to manage the demand for capacity, there is a need for investment at national and European level.

An important outcome of the R&D was the publication of journal paper:

  • Islam, DMZ, Ricci S, Nelldal B-L (2016) Islam, DMZ, Ricci S, Nelldal B-L (2016) How to make modal shift from road to rail possible in the European transport market, as aspired to in the EU Transport White Paper 2011, European Transport Research Review, Vol. 8, Article, No. 18

published on: 17 November 2017