Rola terminal opens in Freiburg im Breisgau

Following a construction phase that lasted around two years, the new Rola terminal in Freiburg im Breisgau was completed in March 2017. During a small celebration at the terminal, the operator RAlpin AG, together with the Federal Office for Transport and the City of Freiburg, formally inaugurated the building. The main attractions are most definitely the new operational buildings and the 600-metre-long single carriageway road that southbound trucks now use to reach the access ramp for the trains.

By changing the direction of loading, the renovation of the Freiburg terminal has led to a significant optimisation in operations. Trains are loaded more efficiently and do not then have to be turned around prior to their journey through the Alps. "The layout of the facility is clearer and security has been improved. And with the new operational buildings, we can offer our customers and service providers a modern, pleasant atmosphere," explains René Dancet, CEO of RAlpin AG.

The Rola rail link is already transferring over 100,000 transalpine trucks per year from road to rail. In so doing, it is pursuing the top-level socio-political aim of shifting freight transport onto trains. With the new terminal, RAlpin AG is continuing to lay the foundations for optimizing and strengthening this modal shift. Over 100,000 trucks are transferring from road to rail each year, cutting CO2 emissions by around 30,000 tonnes.

The regional population are benefiting too, since switching the direction of loading now enables the Katzenberg tunnel to be used. This means a great deal less noise on the old route and therefore an increased quality of life. "The 15 million euros spent on renovation represent a future-oriented investment in transferring freight shipments through Switzerland from road to rail," says Erwin Rutishauser, Chairman of the Board of Directors at RAlpin AG. He goes on to explain that "Thanks to the superb cooperation of all concerned, the renovation was completed quickly and without any accidents."

Facts and figures on the Freiburg Rola terminal

  • 62 trains are loaded and unloaded each week
  • Over 1,000 trucks arrive in and depart from Freiburg every week
  • Over 1.7 million tonnes of goods pass through the Freiburg terminal each year
  • The renovated terminal can take trains consisting of up to 25 low-floor wagons
  • Around six service companies with approximately 50 employees work on site to safeguard Rola operations. These include check-in, technical inspections, loading, safety, cleaning and supplying the accompanying carriages plus maintenance.
  • The facility is owned by Deutsche Bahn, whose subsidiary Deutsche Umschlaggesellschaft Schiene-Straße GmbH allocates the usage rights.

RAlpin AG at a glance

RAlpin AG is headquartered in Olten and operates rolling highway rail links between Freiburg im Breisgau and Novara, and between Basel and Lugano. Each year, it shifts more than 100,000 trucks from road to rail. The truck drivers load their vehicles onto low-floor wagons at the terminals, and travel in an accompanying carriage. Since the journey time is the same as the prescribed rest time for truck drivers, they can get straight back behind the wheel as soon as they arrive at their destination. With this service, RAlpin AG is making a significant contribution to shifting freight from road to rail and protecting the sensitive Alpine region.

RAlpin AG shareholders are BLS AG, Hupac SA, SBB Cargo AG and Trenitalia SpA.

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