Railway Gazette – 23 October 2015:
FRANCE: A terminal for loading lorry semi-trailers onto Modalohr swing-tray wagons was officially opened at the Port of Calais on October 23. Costing €7m, it has been funded by the combined operating company for the ports of Calais and Boulogne as well as the European Union.
From January 12 2016 the new terminal is due to become the northern railhead of a service to Le Boulou near the Spanish border, operated by SNCF subsidiary VIIA. Initially running daily in each direction, it will be the first VIIA service to use the new generation of Modalohr wagons with slimmer lateral beams in the loading platform, bringing dimensions within the UIC standard envelope.
Described as ‘the longest rail motorway in Europe’ and avoiding a journey of 1 200 km by road, the new service is forecast to carry 40 000 semi-trailers a year. It is expected to remove 50 million truck-km from the roads and reduce CO2 emissions by 50 000 tonnes/year.
‘We are proud to be the first European port to possess a terminal of this type’, said Port of Boulogne-Calais CEO Jean-Marc Puissesseau. ‘This investment brings the port new prospects for development.’
‘We are delighted at the opening of this terminal, which testifies to the vision that we share with the Port of Boulogne-Calais of developing cross-Channel traffic in unaccompanied semi-trailers’, added VIIA President Thierry Le Guilloux.