Curing the Chiasso syndrome

first_imgCOMMUNITY of European Railways’ Chairman Heinz Dürr presented plans on April 14 to Transport Commissioner Neil Kinnock for putting into practice the concept of Freight Freeways. The proposals were discussed at a high-level Commission meeting in Brussels on April 17 at which launch of a pilot Freeway was likely to be given the go-ahead. It is not before time. For many years we have advocated dedicated management of international freight routes to give Europe’s railways the ability to stem the haemorrhage of cross-border freight to road hauliers. This may be about to happen.The CER’s report European Rail Freeways: Proposal to the European Commission assumes that separation of infrastructure and operations will proceed to the point where infrastructure managers will be able to offer licensed railway operators paths on a spot basis or over longer periods as part of a market-driven policy. The aim will be to provide ’seamless’ services from ’one-stop shops’ that offer ’consolidated infrastructure tariffs’ – initially the summation of fees for infrastructure use in each country but ultimately packages at attractive prices. The ability to respond flexibly and within hours to customers’ requests for price quotations will be vital to success.Taking two routes between Italy and Benelux countries (one via France, the other through Switzerland and Germany) as an example, the report identifies paths where simple measures can be implemented to cut journey times. Nearly 6h spent at frontiers in one case can be cut to just 1h 15min. Surprisingly, the report finds that it is not so much wagon inspection and administrative delays associated with customs that causes frontier delays, but mismatches between national timetables, although waiting for crews and locomotives, capacity constraints and the low priority given to freight trains also contribute.The first Freeway could be set up on an experimental basis this year – the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy have agreed voluntarily to test the concept. Perhaps it is wishful thinking for the moment, but the rows of wagons waiting at border yards such as Chiasso could become a thing of the past.Through working of locomotives and crews remains another worthwhile objective, and from September Dutch locos and drivers will be able to cross the Belgian border and continue to Antwerpen, so ending the need for four locos and four crew changes on the recently-launched NDX Shuttle between Rotterdam and Antwerpen.The European Shippers’ Council has meanwhile issued its own action plan in response to the European Commission’s White Paper, and suggests that ’the next few years represent a window of opportunity to develop pan-European rail freight that may not be available in the future.’ It calls for ’dismantling of the complex network of co-operative agreements that exists between European railway companies’ which ’potentially threaten the future development of an efficient and competitive rail market’. The ESC also demands better service levels with a named contact for business enquiries and problem solving, door-to-door market pricing, ring-fencing of assets such as locomotives and drivers used for international services and a realistic timetable for full deregulation of European rail freight. The Freeway concept is clearly a welcome step forward – we trust it is not too late. English Welsh & Scottish Railway had informal discussions with NDX Intermodal in March to explore the opportunities for increasing rail traffic between Britain and Germany, Britain’s largest trading partner.As part of the deal that EWS has made with the British government for taking over Railfreight Distribution, the British Railways Board will pay to Eurotunnel the whole of the British share of the Minimum Usage Charge attributable to freight until 2006, not as stated in RG 4.97 p214. olast_img read more

Update on the latest in sports:

first_imgThe former U.S. Olympian is asymptomatic but says she tested positive for the virus on Saturday. The rest of Mayer’s camp has tested negative, including her longtime coach. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditFOOTBALL-OBIT-RILEYFormer Bengals star Ken Riley dead at 72ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Ken Riley was a ball-hawk defensive back in the NFL before serving as a head coach and athletic director at his alma mater, Florida A&M. Matches will be streamed live with organizers saying every sight and sound will be captured. VIRUS OUTBREAK-MAYERBoxer Mayer tests positive for COVID-19, out of return boutUNDATED (AP) — Junior lightweight contender Mikaela Mayer has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been pulled from the co-main event of Las Vegas’ first major boxing card since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.Mayer announced her positive test on social media two days before her scheduled bout against Helen Joseph in the Top Rank show at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Update on the latest in sports: TENNIS-NEW TOURNAMENTNew tennis tournament in France aiming for younger audiencePARIS (AP) — With discussions ongoing over whether the U.S. Open or the French Open can even take place later this year, a new digitally friendly tennis tournament starts Saturday in southern France with four Top 10-ranked players involved.Co-founder Patrick Mouratoglou hopes the Ultimate Tennis Showdown can change the way tennis is viewed by allowing a younger audience to access the raw feelings of players.The UTS features ATP Finals winner Stefanos Tsitsipas and U.S. Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini. There will be 10 players with matches every weekend for five weeks in a round robin format. The school has announced that Riley died early Sunday morning at 72. No cause of death was given.Riley was a four-year starting quarterback at Florida A&M and a Rhodes Scholar candidate before he was taken by the Cincinnati Bengals in the sixth round of the 1969 NFL/AFL draft. Moved to cornerback by head coach Paul Brown, Riley had 65 career interceptions for 596 yards and five touchdowns in a 15-year career with the Bengals. He also recovered 18 fumbles, and his interception total ranks fifth in NFL history.Although named a First Team All-Pro three times and a second teamer on two other occasions, Riley still hasn’t been elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame despite his impressive statistics. He landed on the All-Pro First Team in 1983, his final season.Riley coached the Rattlers from 1986-93, going 48-39-2 with two Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference titles. He took A&M to the second-ever Heritage Bowl, losing to Grambling State in 1992.NFL-OBIT-ZOOK Ex-Falcons DE Zook diesATLANTA (AP) — Former NFL defensive end John Zook has died in his native Kansas after a long battle with cancer.Zook originally was taken by the Los Angeles Rams in the fourth round in 1969 but was subsequently traded to the Atlanta Falcons. He teamed with Hall of Famer Claude Humphrey to give the Falcons a dynamic combination at defensive end from 1969-75. Zook never missed a game during his tenure with the Falcons, starting 97 of 98 contests. He made his only Pro Bowl appearance in 1973, joining Humphrey in the all-star game.Zook played his last four seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals before retiring after the 1969 campaign.His brother, Dean Zook, confirmed the death to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Associated Press June 7, 2020last_img read more