Towards programming and planning required infrastructure (WP 3)

Work package 3 addresses rail infrastructure, to be realised in the long term. Its objective is:

a) to clarify what rail infrastructure is required to make the Twin hub network, expanded to a substantial scale, ultimately successful;

b) to interest key decision-makers in the field of infrastructure and spatial planning and programming for such infrastructure, wherever it does not already have advocates.

Focus on hub regions
The work package focuses on the hub regions - Antwerp and Rotterdam - and not on the infrastructure of the entire network in other European regions. This focus is due to the spatial concentration of rail activities in the hub regions. As for all hub-and-spoke networks, the performance of infrastructure in the hub region is likely to have a strong effect on the train performances throughout the entire network and therefore needs to perform well. The main rail infrastructure elements in the hub regions are the hub and the tracks to and from the hub. Antwerp has the Mainhub terminal, which was developed specifically for rail-rail transhipment. Rotterdam has no such terminal, but only rail-road terminals and shunting yards. They are useful in the short term, but eventually a true hub terminal would need to be built. Some options have already been explored in other projects.

Overview of hub terminal options
This WP presents an overview of hub terminal options and of the best location at the East side of the port. Antwerp's hub is close to saturation, but the hub has a very engaged problem owner, namely IFB. The development of this hub therefore is not the subject of this WP. As far as the tracks to the hub are concerned, the capacity should be sufficient to allow punctual simultaneous visit at the hub by Twin hub trains belonging to the same exchange group. Secondly the tracks should support routes with minimal detours. The WP presents rough overviews of routes and performances which can be used in roundtable conferences with key decision-makers in the field of infrastructure development.

The WP has two actions. These are to demonstrate the infrastructure requirements in the hub regions Rotterdam (Action 9) and Antwerp (Action 10) and interest key decision-makers in both regions to organise such infrastructure. This means gradually incorporating the required infrastructure in exploration schemes, spatial and development plans and investment programmes.

Key decision-makers are the politicians and civil servants involved in the mentioned schemes, plans and programmes. The central platforms for stimulating interest with the key decision-makers are two roundtable conferences, one in Rotterdam, the other in Antwerp, both organised by the project.

Anticipating the findings of this work package, the infrastructure needed in Rotterdam will probably be a newly built hub terminal. International research has already provided the arguments for why a hub terminal is superior above other types of rail-rail exchange (e.g. TERMINET, 2002; Kreutzberger, 2008; Kombiconsult et al., 2007; UIC, 2008). The arguments need to be presented and adapted to the Rotterdam situation. The project needs to be able to explain how the envisaged hub terminal can be related to other bundling developments in the port due to the increasing number of rail terminals and the Maasvlakte developments. The project will investigate the best location for the hub terminal at the East end of the port. The central arguments are network performances, land and noise capacity, and the appropriate embedding of the terminal in the track network. The infrastructure at stake in Antwerp and addressed by the project is the tracks to and from the hub. The existing tracks imply larger detours to the northern corridor, and their capacity deserves attention as the hub flows are growing. The Twin hub developments increase the size of the challenge.

Within the project organising the required knowledge and argumentation mainly consists of recapitulating existing research and policy documents, interviewing experts, and structuring the whole within WP meetings.

Main outputs
The central output of work package 3 is to interest key decision-makers in the projected Twin hub infrastructure, namely the Rotterdam hub and the track infrastructure to and from the hubs Rotterdam and Antwerp. Their interest is stated by an increased willingness to take preparatory actions to incorporate Twin hub infrastructure in their development plans and investment programmes. These actions very likely still include further explorations. Waking the interest takes place at two roundtable conferences, one for Rotterdam, the other for Antwerp, to which the key decision makers are invited.
The capability to interest decision-makers is based on vision and knowledge in this field. The intermediate results and roundtable findings will be documented in a brief report.

Project meeting

Project meeting
WP 2 (business plan) meeting
15 March 2013, Delft, Netherlands

Last project meeting
Plenary meeting Twin hub project
8 February 2013, Delft, Netherlands

Last Conference presentation
Ports, Terminals & Intermodal Transport 2013; Strategies, developments & Innovations
6-7 February 2013, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Download presentation