Rolling highway

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Rolling highway on the southern Lötschberg ramp, pulled by two BLS Re 465
ÖBB Class 1044 banking a Rolling highway on the Tauern Railway in Spittal-Millstättersee

In rail transportation, a rolling highway, or rolling road is a form of combined transport involving the conveying of road trucks by rail. The concept is a form of piggyback transportation.

Special wagons are used: wagons are usually close-coupled flatcars with small-diameter wheels and may provided a driveable track along the entire length of the train for loading and unloading purposes.

During a rolling-highway journey, the truck drivers are accommodated in a passenger car with seats or beds. At both ends of the rail link there are purpose-built terminals that allow the train to be easily loaded and unloaded.

Examples of rolling highways[edit]

Rolling highways are mostly used for transit routes, e.g. through the Alps or from western to eastern Europe.


In Austria, rolling highways exist from Bayern via Tyrol to Italy or to Eastern Europe. Traditionally, Austria is a transit country and therefore the rolling highway is of environmental importance. In 1999 the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) carried 254,000 trucks, which equals 8,500,000 tonnes (8,400,000 long tons; 9,400,000 short tons) of freight (158,989 trucks in 1993). The rolling highway trains in Austria are operated by Ökombi GmbH, a division of Rail Cargo Austria, the cargo division of ÖBB. There is a direct rolling highway between Salzburg and the harbour of Trieste, Italy, where the trucks arrive on ferries from Turkey. In those cases, drivers arrive by plane via Ljubljana airport, to take over the trucks.


Trucks on the Konkan Railway Rolling Highway

In 1999, the Konkan Railway Corporation introduced the Roll On Roll Off (RORO) service on the section between Kolad in Maharashtra and Verna in Goa,[1] which was extended up to Surathkal in Karnataka in 2004.[2][3] The RORO service, the first of its kind in India, allowed trucks to be transported on flatcars. It was highly popular,[4] carrying about 110,000 trucks and bringing in about INR740 million worth of earnings to the corporation until 2007.[5]


In Switzerland, rolling highways across the alps exist for both the Gotthard and Lötschberg - Simplon route. They are operated by RAlpin AG, headquartered in Olten.[6]


In Italy, Trenitalia and Trasposervizi signed an agreement between Italy, Austria and Germany for a new rolling road that connects the inland of Roncafort (north of Trento) with Regensburg (north of Munich) and previously managed by the Austrian Ökombi.[7]


Two rolling highways are currently in operation in France, both using French Modalohr technology: the 175 km Autoroute Ferroviaire Alpine, connecting the Savoy region to Turin through the Fréjus Rail Tunnel owned and operated jointly by SNCF and Trenitalia, and the 1,050 km Lorry-Rail which connects Bettembourg, Luxembourg, to Perpignan operated by SNCF. Lorry-Rail only carries trailers, while the AFA carries accompanied and unaccompanied trailers. Since June 2012, these two are operated under the brand "VIIA" by SNCF Geodis. Plans have been announced to add two more routes in France.[8]

One will link Dourges (near Lille) to Tarnos (near Bayonne) and the other is an extension North from Bettembourg to Calais


Canadian Pacific Railway runs a rolling highway service between Windsor, Ontario and Montreal (and further east). This corridor is normally truck serviced on the Interstate 75, Ontario Highway 401, Quebec Autoroute 20 line, but this route becomes heavily congested in several areas, especially around Toronto and Montreal. CP's service also means the trucks are only driven for short distances on either end of the route, avoiding overnight stops and greatly reducing costs in some situations. This service now accounts for a considerable percentage of CP's traffic along its Lake Ontario mainline route.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ROAD-RAIL SYNERGY SYSTEM". Press release, Press Information Bureau, dated 2004-20-05. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  2. ^ "New Konkan Rly service begins". Online edition of the Business Standard, dated 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  3. ^ "RORO Service Again on Konkan Railway". The Hindu Business Line. 11 June 2004. 
  4. ^ S. Vydhianathan. "Convergence on the Konkan Railway". The Hindu, dated 2003-14-11. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  5. ^ "Roll On Roll Off (RORO) Service on Konkan Railway". Official webpage of the Konkan Railway Corporation. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  6. ^ RAlpin AG
  7. ^ Ferrovie: autostrada Trento-Monaco su ANSA
  8. ^ "More lorries to move by rail". 19 Sep 2013. Retrieved 26 Jan 2014. 

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