German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, DLR) developed an innovative holistic locomotive concept – the NGT CARGO, aims to make European rail freight more appealing and hence increase its market share. The automatically driven NGT CARGO trains will be made up of single wagons and powerful end cars, automatically coupled together as required. In this way, the train can transport a vast range of goods flexibly, and with low use of resources, minimal deployment of personnel and short transport times, said DLR researcher Joachim Winter, who is leading the Next Generation Train (NGT) project.
Intelligent freight wagons in the NGT CARGO concept have a separate drive based on electric motors and a battery that stores energy recovered during braking. This makes it possible for the single wagons to shunt autonomously, without the need for shunting staff and shunting locomotives or overhead lines. Furthermore, the individual wagons can travel the final kilometres to the respective customer automatically and autonomously. Each single wagon is equipped with the appropriate sensors to do so. The wagons can also be driven directly into ports, transshipment stations or logistics terminals, right up to the high level racks, where they are also then loaded or unloaded automatically. DLR researchers plan combination with the NGT HST high-speed passenger train for enabling existing line capacities to be used optimally.
Image source: DLR