WIT Press

Deep well cars exclusively for high-cube 40′ containers on high-speed trains


Free (open access)


Volume 4 (2020), Issue 4



Page Range

368 - 378

Paper DOI



WIT Press


Frieder R. Haferkorn


About 1% or 2 % of the overall container traffic is run on the Iron Silk Road between Europe and China (with a long broad-gauge section Belarus–Russia–Kazakhstan and gantry crane transshipments in Brest and Khorgos) because trains are estimated to be faster and more reliable than container ships. There may be even a market for high-speed block trains for the most valuable and urgent 10% or 20% of these containers being part of just-in-time production or trade chains. These containers are worth to be shipped at express timetables and protected in deep well cars from falling neither off ships nor off trains. (On 1 January 2019 MSC_Zoe lost 342 containers washed ashore on Dutch and German isles of the North Sea [1], and on 2 January 2019 a freight train lost an empty semi-trailer on the Great Belt Bridge in Denmark which caused a collision with a passenger train and 8 persons killed [2]). In UT conference, Sevilla 2002 [3], I was mistaken believing that there is no limit for mass or speed of container trains. A diagram on sustainable maximal speed (Y) versus mass per length (X) shows dis- tinct sets for passenger trains near the Y axis and freight trains near the X axis and a cut set <3 t/m and ≤120 km/h. So there are limits for both speed and mass per length, probably because of dynamic stress between train mass and infrastructure. In order to quickly develop a high-speed container train, existing and proven locomotives and bogies should be made use of and only the deep well car structure is left. Together with bogies and container masses, this structure must not exceed the mass-per-length crite- rion of a high-speed passenger middle car, to make the infrastructure not feel the difference. For easy and fast unloading and loading containers by gantry cranes, deep well cars should stay topless and be designed exclusively for high-cube 40′ containers. First estimates seem to confirm a compound welded copper-steel alloy structure will be tough, long and light enough. A market analysis, a feasibility study including air resistance and a specification book are required before prototypes of the car body can be designed, calibrated and manufactured for tests and presentations.


Iron Silk Road, high-speed container train, deep well cars, mass-per-length vs. speed diagram, gantry crane transshipment