Nevomo and GATX Rail Europe entered into a partnership to develop MagRail Booster to innovate and significantly develop the rail freight transport. As part of the joint development of the new MagRail system capabilities, the newly introduced Booster components, being a part of the already known MagRail system, will be installed on conventional freight wagons supplied by GATX Rail Europe and then tested on rail infrastructure equipped with the system’s trackside devices.
MagRail Booster is part of the MagRail product portfolio and allows for a quick retrofit of existing rail cars with linear motor propulsion. Other MagRail products, dedicated both to freight and passenger transport, require new vehicles.
Nevomo’s MagRail Booster technology addresses the freight and logistics transport challenges faced by railway operators, terminal operators, and rail infrastructure managers. One key advantage of this system is that single Booster wagons can operate independently without being connected to the locomotive. This opens up possibilities for new applications in which wagons can be organised into small groups instead of full trainsets. This feature is particularly useful in “last mile” areas, such as terminals and industrial facilities, where a high degree of flexibility and movement automation is highly desirable.
“We are very proud to have GATX – one of the leading railcar lessors in Europe – as our partner for developing and testing the MagRail Booster technology. The first retrofits are already ongoing, and we will see the first fully electrified and automatic GATX MagRail Booster wagon on our test track this year,” Stefan Kirch, Chief Business Development Officer at Nevomo.
The cooperation between the companies will allow for testing on Nevomo’s test track in Nowa Sarzyna using conventional freight wagons and further development of the new functionality of the MagRail system.
“The attractiveness of Nevomo’s MagRail Booster technology is an opportunity to upgrade existing railways, both in terms of the infrastructure and the rolling stock. This will enable railways to grow faster, grow their capacity, which is urgently needed for sustainable and performant logistics, but at the same time to remain compatible and interoperable with the current operations,” Jörg Nowaczyk, Chief Commercial Officer at GATX Rail Europe said.
MagRail was designed to easily, quickly and cost-effectively extend the capacity of existing railway lines and increase efficiency in rail transport. The MagRail Booster has been developed to improve existing rail services allowing traffic automation and infrastructure electrification with higher flexibility, greater capacity, and enhanced dynamics.
Potential applications of MagRail Booster with retrofitted rolling stock for freight are currently being evaluated by major European railway companies, on increasing loading limits on inclines or quicker re-acceleration of freight trains after being passed by faster passenger trains. This concept allows railway traffic in non-electrified tunnels and under low-clearance bridges.
Both companies are committed to taking rail transport to a whole new dimension by combining proven solutions, used in rail transport, with state-of-the-art technologies, inspired by the hyperloop. The technology created by Nevomo is the missing link between the existing railway infrastructure and the brand-new digital railway systems. Its rapid, successful deployment and use on Europe’s rail network will not only bring significant benefits to operators and rail infrastructure managers but will support the European Green Deal’s objectives and modernizing rail transport, which remains a priority for the European Union.
To implement and test its new MagRail technology, Nevomo signed agreements with Rete Ferroviaria Italiana, duisport, and SNCF. The first 1:5 demo version of MagRail Nevomo was presented in 2019. Successful mid-size tests were conducted in December 2020 and in 2022, Nevomo completed the construction of the full-scale test track in Nowa Sarzyna in Poland, which is Europe’s longest track for testing passive magnetic levitation. The first tests already began and will be now extended to the MagRail Booster tests with the conventional freight wagons on MagRail infrastructure.