Skip traffic, save money, and protect the environment – all good reasons more people choose city trains or subways for daily trips. However, it takes significant resources to keep all the railway parks of Europe and the CIS up to date. For example, Russia plans to invest 280 million euros in the renewal of the countries’ train fleet. Lithuania plans to invest up to 300 million euros, and Ukraine 2.7 billion euros. The AsstrA transportation and logistics corporate group recently became involved in these significant investments by transporting three passenger casrs from Fanipol, Belarus, to Berlin, Germany.
Przemysław Boroński, Head of the Oversized and Specialized Transport Department at AsstrA, talks about the project preparation process and related challenges.
Transportation of oversized cargoes of this type is difficult primarily for technical reasons. Infrastructure constraints necessitate the search for suitable rolling stock for the safe delivery of cargo. Here, route development taking into account all the requirements took one and a half months. This was a record short time, considering that the route changed six times while we were working on developing it.
The German capital is one of the busiest cities in Europe. To ensure that the transportation project did not cause road infrastructure complications or inconvenience city residents, even the smallest nuances were taken into account. Steel plates were laid along the tram tracks so that the rolling stock did not damage the asphalt road. The last leg of the route ran through a residential area where special road signs were installed during the week. Special thanks to the residents of the Pankov district in Berlin, who did not park in front of their houses for several days prior to the arrival of AsstrA transport! The project proceeded under the constant supervision and accompaniment of pilot drivers and road services. The fault tolerance for critical changes was +/- 2 cm. This means that each section of the route was first checked by the accompanying crews and only then did the cargo vehicles follow.
In oversized transport projects a route can be studied well in advance, with everything thought out and agreed, only to have a bridge repair or new asphalt paving job began the day before the shipment. That means a critical two centimeters might be lost and cargo might not be able to pass under a bridge, for example, and the risk of damage is too high. Therefore, inspections are carried out not only before but also in real time during transportation.
Help from the German police was also a key success factor. Despite the fact that the urban transportation took place at night, the traffic was still intense. Two motorcycle police brigades and four police minibuses ensured our access to the necessary streets from midnight to 4 am."
Oleg Bykov, Director of AsstrA Weissrussland, shares his impressions:
An order from a such an important Customer is a great responsibility. Therefore, the company's specialists applied all of the knowledge and experience they have gained over the years.
The group of AsstrA experts examined the potential ways to reach the Client’s plant in Berlin. Since the streets of Berlin are so narrow, it took three weeks to inspect the route and bridges, organize the steps to clarify the route, and coordinate with the police. Developing the optimal door-to-door route required temporarily moving traffic lights, signs, pillars, and tram stop shelters. But the result speaks for itself: after 12 days, three cars were delivered to the recipient with absolute integrity and safety. Transport itself took 7 days, with 5 days devoted to customs and breaks for weekends and holidays.
The most challenging aspect of the project was the last leg, when we had only four hours to move all the cars – at night when the electricity for the trams had been switched off. In addition, at one of the crossings the car cleared the pavement by less than the height off a matchbox! The Client highly appreciated the service and is looking forward to working with the AsstrA team for the next delivery of cars.”