Combined traffic

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Combined transport (short KV ) describes a multi-link transportation chain , the different modes of transport integrated. This form of organization is also known as broken traffic and is used both for the transport of people and for the transport of goods . In contrast to direct traffic (uninterrupted traffic), combined traffic involves (multiple) transfers or transfers of people or goods. Examples of split transport in the passenger transport sector can be found especially in public transport - transport associations . Combined cargo traffic (KLV) and container traffic are well-known examples of goods transport .


Six-axle flat wagon for ISO containers (articulated wagon)

The term combined transport is often equated with the terms multimodal and intermodal transport . This approach falls short, especially for freight transport, and the European Conference of Transport Ministers therefore introduced a definition (not generally recognized):

Combined transport is intermodal transport in which the majority of the distance covered is covered by rail, inland or sea ​​shipping and the pre- and post-carriage on the road is kept as short as possible.

It should be noted that various modes of transport are involved in the CT in the transport of goods, without the transported goods leaving their transport container when changing. This means that with combined transport, it is not the actual transport goods that are reloaded, but rather the transport containers that “transfer” during the transport chain: between truck , rail and ship .

Combined transport can therefore be carried out if standardized loading units are used as transport containers. The dimensions and technical characteristics of the transport containers must be designed in such a way that they can be reloaded easily and that various modes of transport can be used without problems. These standardized loading units are mainly containers, swap bodies or semi-trailers . A special case is the so-called piggyback traffic or the “ Rollende Landstrasse ” (RoLA); whole trucks are loaded here


Development of total combined transport for railways (red) and inland waterways (blue) since 1996

In combined transport, a distinction is made between accompanied (independent loading unit ) and unaccompanied (dependent loading unit) transport processes.

Accompanied combined transport (also: piggyback transport) stands for the sub-area in which articulated and articulated trucks are transported using ships ( RoRo method ) or trains ( rolling country roads ). In rail transport this particular are low-floor wagons used and drivers traveling in a couchette with.

In unaccompanied combined transport (also: container transport) only the cargo units are handled without accompanying motor vehicles. These include containers , swap bodies and semitrailers . The loading process takes place at terminals, which are generally located in freight centers , sea or inland ports . This unaccompanied area makes up the greater part of combined transport.

Areas of application

Combined transport is used to make optimal use of the strengths of different modes of transport. For example, rail, inland waterway and ocean shipping can only be used economically from relatively long distances and high freight traffic . They are therefore well suited for combination with truck traffic, which is flexible in terms of time and location and takes on the small-scale distribution (pre- and post-carriage on the road).

Political funding in Germany is based on the opportunities that CT offers when it comes to shifting freight traffic from the road to more environmentally friendly modes of transport such as rail and shipping and to relieve congested transport routes (especially roads). In addition to regulatory relief (increased maximum truck weight of 44 tonnes, exceptions to Sunday, public holiday or holiday driving bans, exemption from vehicle tax for vehicles used exclusively for pre- and post -carriage ), there is financial subsidy, particularly in the area of ​​the construction of freight traffic centers ( Transshipment terminals) by the federal government and the EU ( TEN grants ). On January 1, 2017, the funding for handling facilities for combined transport was extended for the third time.

An overview of all available terminals for combined transport in Germany and Europe can be found on the intermodal map of the study society for combined transport (SGKV eV).

Technical developments

Modalohr wagon
Reach stacker with raised semi-trailer

As early as 1956, Kögel built a swap body for the DB consisting of a flatbed and tarpaulin body with a gable roof, which could be hydraulically transferred from a semi-trailer to a flat rail car next to it, which was also equipped with cross rails.

In addition to the classic combined transport of container handling on flat wagons and rolling country roads, there are a number of developments that are intended to accelerate and simplify the loading process.

For the loading of semitrailers using cranes and industrial trucks , semitrailers have been developed that can be lifted onto the pocket wagons using a tong handler . However, these semi-trailers have to meet increased strength requirements. The Rail Cargo Austria improved this method with the system ISU (Innovative semitrailer envelope). With these, the kingpins and the rear wheels of the semi-trailer are used as points of application of the crane gear . Due to their road use, these already meet the strength requirements.

Mobile truck being loaded onto an eight-axle wagon
ACTS loading

A major disadvantage of the Rolling Highway is its serial loading. For this reason, various systems have been developed in which the wagons can be loaded in parallel. Special pocket wagons are used in which the pockets can be pivoted. Thus, in can CargoBeamer the bag are shifted horizontally outwardly and the trailer directly up in parallel and without further aids and can be unloaded. Modalohr represents a similar system . Here the bag of the cart is swiveled to the side for loading. As a prerequisite for these systems, the terminal must be designed so that level access to the car pockets is possible. By lowering the wagon pocket to floor level, the maintenance of a track that is lowered from street level can be avoided. This is achieved in the “Megaswing” system, for example. Alternatively, as with the Flexiwaggon system, the difference in level between the wagon pocket and the road can also be overcome via the loading ramp .

Various developments are also being advanced in classic container loading, such as the KV scooter (formerly Mobiler ), in which, similar to the CargoBeamer, the truck is parallel to the train and pushes the container onto the train using special devices. This means that a container crane is unnecessary. The system remains compatible with this crane technology. The roll-off container transport system (ACTS) has established itself as a further possibility , in which a container can be loaded and unloaded onto the railway wagon via a laterally pivoting rolling device.

Side loader rail handling 20 ft

By means of side-loading (Fig: ISO container handling means BOXmover page loader carriage Trang DB) ISO containers can at sidings are folded parallel to the track between the truck and carriage. By placing the foot on the wagon, no adaptations to the wagon or loading unit are necessary.

Profile code

One of the most important parameters for the transport of loading units in combined transport is the clearance profile of the route traveled and the corresponding vehicle gauge of the vehicle. The wagon including the loading unit must not cross the vehicle gauge. Due to the rectangular cross-section of the loading unit, the upper corners of the loading unit are usually the critical points, as these would exceed some of the vehicle boundary lines curved in the upper area.

To ensure compliance with the vehicle gauge, the Union Internationale des sociétés de transport combiné Rail-Route (UIRR) has therefore developed a profile code for uniformly identifying the loading units. In this, the combination of width and corner height of the loading unit is codified. The profile code consists of a letter as the wagon identification code in conjunction with two or three digits:

  • Swap bodies receive the wagon identification code "C" (French caisses et conteneurs for box and container)
    • Swap bodies with a width ≤ 2550 mm are given two digits. The corner height of the swap body in centimeters results from adding the number with 245.
    • Swap bodies with a width> 2550 mm but less than 2600 mm have three digits. The corner height of the swap body in centimeters is obtained by subtracting the number with 85.
  • Semi-trailers are given the wagon identification code "P" (French poche for bag)
    • Semi-trailers with a width ≤ 2500 mm are given two digits. The corner height of the semitrailer in centimeters results from adding the number with 330.
    • Semi-trailers with a width> 2500 mm but less than 2600 mm are given three digits. The corner height of the semitrailer in centimeters corresponds to the number.

For example, if a loading unit is marked with the profile code P70, this means that it is a semi-trailer (P) with a maximum width of 2.5 m (two digits) and a corner height of 70 + 330 = 400 cm.

The profile code must be written on all loading units approved for rail traffic on both sides by means of a code number plate. The code number plate also shows the nationality of the Kombiverkehrsgesellschaft, the number of the road transport company at this Kombiverkehrsgesellschaft, and the serial number of the loading unit. Only ISO containers do not receive a profile code, as their dimensions are already standardized.

In relation to a standard wagon, this profile code can be used to check whether a combination of wagon and loading unit is allowed to travel a certain route. The rule here is that the profile code of a loading unit must always be smaller than or equal to the profile of the route. The UIRR publishes a European route map with the routes approved for combined traffic, which shows which profile code is necessary for which route. If a flat wagon deviates from the dimensions of the standard flat wagon, an agreement grid is also written on it. In this, correction numbers are written with their respective scope. The respective correction numbers are offset against the profile code of the loading unit. A positive correction number results from a low contact height and thus allows a loading unit with a larger profile code. A negative correction number, on the other hand, results from a higher contact height of the car and accordingly only allows a smaller profile code.


  • BMVBW (Ed.) (2001): Report on Combined Transport; Berlin - online ( Memento from August 16, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  • Gerd Wolff: Combined cargo traffic . Güterwagen-Lexikon DB, Volumes 5 to 7 (Parts 1 to 3). EK-Verlag, Freiburg (1996, 1998 and 2000), ISBN 3-88255-659-5 , ISBN 3-88255-661-7 and ISBN 3-88255-663-3
  • Gerd Wolff: Supplementary brochure for volumes 1–7 . Güterwagen-Lexikon DB, EK-Verlag, Freiburg 2002, ISBN 3-88255-665-X
  • Special issue Rail Business Spezial on the subject of combined transport in Europe , May 2010.

Web links


Individual evidence

  1. KV funding for companies: you need to know that . In: Alliance pro rail . January 10, 2017 ( [accessed January 10, 2017]).
  2. Archived copy ( memento of the original dated December 30, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. Chronicle> 1950s reconstruction and enlargement, 2014, accessed January 8, 2018 - "Image: 1956 - Vehicle for combined transport"
  4. "ISU - Innovative Semi-trailer Handling" , Rail Cargo Austria
  5. "MegaSwing - your own intermodal terminal" , future mobility
  6. "Flexi wagon - flexible without terminals" , Future Mobility
  7. Trafico traffic planning "Handling systems for combined traffic" (PDF; 2.9 MB)
  8. a b Piggyback traffic - Technical organization - Conditions for the codification of piggyback loading units and piggyback routes . In: UIC (Ed.): UIC Code . UIC 596-6, 2006.
  9. Hans Wenger: UIRR 30 years . Ed .: UIRR. Brussels 2000 ( ).
  10. Intermodal loading units - Marking - Part 1: Markings for identification . DIN EN 13044-1, April 2011.
  11. Railway infrastructure. In: . UIRR, accessed April 25, 2020 .