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Railhub Archive
1996-08-29 DoT-001
Department of Transport


Watts launches prototype rail freight wagon

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piggyback wagons
Thrall Car

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Department of Transport

Watts launches prototype rail freight wagon

29 August 1996
source Department of Transport
type Press release

note 276/96

John Watts, the Minister for Railways and Roads, today unveiled a new
prototype rail freight wagon which will be used to carry lorry
trailers. This "piggyback" wagon has been developed by Thrall Car, a
US company, and Babcock Facilities Management, a company based at

During his visit to Rosyth Royal Dockyard in Scotland, to see the new
wagon, Mr Watts said:

"This is one of a number of exciting developments in the British rail
freight industry. Babcock, Thrall, and the other members of the
Piggyback Consortium, are to be congratulated for their enthusiasm in
pursuing this innovative project which in time could help transform
the freight industry.

"We are currently considering widening the present restricted
44 tonne weight limit, and the inclusion of lorries used in piggyback
operations is one option which will be put forward in the forthcoming
consultation paper on lorry weights."

The wagons are expected to enter commercial service, carrying lorry
trailers between London and Glasgow, and eventually between Great
Britain and the European mainland via the Channel Tunnel. Existing
rail services between the UK and the continent are restricted to the
movement of containers and swapbodies.

Note to Editors

1. Piggyback is a common term used to describe the movement by rail
of lorries, or lorry trailers on specially designed rail wagons.

2. The Piggyback Consortium includes about 40 private and public
sector interests, its most significant members being Railtrack and

3. In 1994, the Government introduced a 44 tonne gross weight limit
for six-axle lorries engaged in the movement of containers and
swapbodies to and from railheads; lorries used in general purpose
road haulage are subject to a gross weight limit of 38 tonnes.


Railhub Archive ::: 1996-08-29 DoT-001


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