Knowledge Hub / Trains to power a green freight revolution

Trains to power a green freight revolution

The author: Yvonne Dahlberg


Written by Yvonne Dahlberg

Over the past year, SilverRail Technologies has run a project funded by Vinnova, the Swedish innovation agency, to investigate whether spare capacity on passenger trains can be used as a green alternative for transporting the ever-rising number of e-commerce packages. The pilot project is now complete and the final report has been submitted.

With the world facing the Coronavirus pandemic, SilverRail, together with Snälltåget (a Swedish train operator), and Airmee (a delivery company), started a project last year to investigate the possibility of using passenger rail from Stockholm to Malmö to move smaller freight packages. The goal was to find green alternatives that would be flexible enough to suit the requirements of e-commerce, whilst at the same time offering new revenue streams for train operators.

The project, which was part-financed by Vinnova, a government agency that administers funding for research and development, is now complete and it's clear that there is strong market interest in using train freight as an alternative for transporting goods over medium to long distances.

There is strong demand from both e-commerce and logistics companies and there is sufficient freight volume and spare capacity on trains to create a sustainable business model.

It has been an incredibly exciting project and the interest from the market has been great. The pilot is an example of how it’s possible to respond creatively to the changes that the pandemic has brought to the travel and transport industries
Maria Perman Business Developer at SilverRail Technologies

By combining freight with passenger train traffic, especially on night trains, rail operators can generate additional income, whilst providing positive effects for passengers in the form of more frequent trains. The project has demonstrated that there is an opportunity to take the pilot further and develop a service that creates a more dynamic train freight solution than the one that exists today
Evelin Skeppström, Director Product Management at SilverRail

As the market today is fragmented and train freight requires a multimodal solution to transport goods from a central warehouse to the end customer, a well-established delivery partner is required to expand the solution to other regions. As a result, SilverRail has started discussions with a freight broker to explore next steps.