chapter  12
16 Pages

Intermodal Road and Rail Vehicles and Maritime Vessels

We have seen throughout this book, how road haulage vehicles form the backbone of most intermodal freighting operations. Almost all of the initial and final legs of intermodal journeys are undertaken by standard road haulage vehicles, comprising either articulated or road-train (i.e. drawbar) combinations fitted with platform or skeletal-frame bodywork specially equipped with quick-action twist-lock devices for securing containers and swap bodies. Besides these vehicle types, there are other variations from the standard vehicle theme. First, for piggyback operations, specially strengthened and equipped semi-trailers are necessary in order to withstand the ‘lifting-under-load’ stresses incurred during loading and unloading; and second, the combined road-railer semi-trailer, or bimodal system, comprising a road-going semitrailer that converts to run on rail bogies (see Figure 12.1). A number of such systems are in use or have been trialled in the UK and Europe, most notably the American RoadRailer system.