Modernising railway freight transport European researchers have come together to develop larger, more efficient train wagons adaptable to the emerging needs of the EU freight market. Industrial Technologies © Thinkstock The volume of goods transported in Europe is increasing, as is the complexity of logistics chains. This means there is potential for growth in the rail freight sector if it can adapt to changing needs and provide efficient and competitive logistics. An EU-funded research project, 'Versatile, efficient and longer wagon for European transportation' (VEL-WAGON), is aiming to help the sector maximise opportunities through the development of larger, more efficient and adaptable train wagons. Research institutes and industry partners from Germany, Slovakia and Sweden made up the project consortium. Members looked at the technologies needed for more efficient freight wagons and suitable for use in intermodal transport systems – that is, those that combine road, rail and sea transport. They factored in market needs and future trends in intermodal transport in Europe. Efforts enabled the development of technologies for larger wagons that have fewer elements and less dead weight than existing models. The solution, consisting of four-axle rigid platforms around 24 metres long, increases loading capacity by 10 % and reduces train weight by 7 %. VEL-WAGON's concept achieves a balance between increased efficiency and capacity of freight transport and the needs of infrastructure and markets. Project outcomes will make a major contribution to smarter and more efficient logistics chains in Europe, helping to improve the competitivity of businesses across the EU.