Original Research

Operational and tegnological requirements for the profitable provision of rail freight transport

Wessel J. Pienaar
Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie | Vol 36, No 1 | a1482 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/satnt.v36i1.1482 | © 2017 Wessel J. Pienaar | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 September 2017 | Published: 17 November 2017

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Wessel J. Pienaar, Department of Industrial Engineering, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

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This article provides an overview of the most pertinent operational and design requirements of rail freight transport technology that could be instrumental in the profitable participation of rail transport in an economically deregulated freight transport market. The following three aspects are addressed: (1) The market segments that are serviced profitably by rail transport in industrial countries; (2) comparative cost of rail transport and the specific operational methods employed to make rail transport more cost advantageous; and (3) the most pertinent technological requirements set upon rail transport systems to operate commercially viably. Regarding technological requirements, the following aspects are elaborated upon: (1) train types and purpose-built wagons to appropriately serve specific market segments; (2) the type of freight terminals employed to effectively support rail transport operations; and (3) the types of handling equipment needed to enable rail transport to operate smoothly. The purpose-built wagon models and the types of train compositions to optimally adhere to rail transport operators’ specific needs, as well as the the most important factors that underlie wagon design, are discussed. Subsequently the functional requirements of the main terminal facilties that receive freight trains are discussed. Lastly, the handling equipment needed to load, unload and transload transportable freight on, from and between wagons and other modes of transport swiftly, safely and at lowest cost per freight unit are discussed.


Bokkraan; buidelwa; goederetrein goederetrok; grootmaatspooreindpunt; gryphyser houer; intermodale eindpunt kanteltrok; kanthyser; koeltrok laaipuntaanwysing; losmaatspooreindpunt; lossertrok; middelafskortingtrok; motorkartrok; oop trok; opry-afry-spoore


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