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Press release September 14, 2016

150 Years Port Railway: From Siding Track to Marshalling Yard System

​Hamburg, September 14, 2016 – This year, the Hamburg Port Rail-way, a business sector of the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA), is celebrating its 150th anniversary. To mark this special occasion, a senate reception will be held in the large ceremonial hall at Hamburg City Hall today. Frank Horch, Senator of Economic Affairs, Jens Meier, Chairman of the Management Board HPA, and Ronald Pofalla, Member of the Executive Board Deutsche Bahn will give speeches.

The Hamburg port railway was opened in August 1866. The Berlin-Hamburg Railway Company operated the connection between the rail station in Berlin and Sandtorkai. A lot has changed since then: Approximately 200 freight trains with a total of over 5,000 wagons run on the tracks of the port railway daily. The port railway network includes more than 300 kilometres of tracks and 800 switches, 150 kilometres of which are electrified.

“Hamburg’s hinterland rail connections are among the best in Europe, very reliable and well structured. It allows sea freight to arrive in the European inland in an environment-friendly way. Shipping companies appreciate this as well. The port railway is a strong turnover factor in the Port of Hamburg. It is the link between the turnover terminals of the container vessels and the European rail network,” says Frank Horch, Senator of Economic Affairs.

“Since its beginnings 150 years ago, the Hamburg port railway has evolved from a single siding track at Sandtorkai to a complex system of marshalling yards that is one of the very best in Europe: We are very proud that Hamburg is Europe’s largest railway port,” says Jens Meier, Chairman of the Management Board HPA.

Since the HPA’s foundation in 2005, the port railway has been one of the most important business sectors with currently 170 employees. With “Freightliner”, the port railway welcomed the hundredth railway company (EVU) in the Port of Hamburg in November 2012; over 120 companies now use the efficient track infrastructure.

Over the past few years, the port railway has been recording growth rate year after year and continues to be on the road to success. In 2015,  45.8 million tons of goods have been moved on the tracks of the port railway, an increase of 3.1% compared to the previous year.

“We are not resting on our success but are striving to continuously expand our position as a driver of innovation” says Harald Kreft, Port Railway Director. “It is important to keep looking beyond the horizon so to speak because the port railway is the link between the turnover terminals of the container vessels and the European rail network.”

The port railway is also an important part of the further development of smartPORT. The idea behind the intelligent port becomes clear when looking at the development of transPORT rail.

The traffic management system for the rail transport in the Port of Hamburg is taking care of the data exchange between all parties and transparently displays all train rides, track occupancies, and loading procedures of trains in the Port of Hamburg.

Thanks to the setup of a data interface, users of transPORT rail are able to take care of the necessary communication on an almost au-tomated basis. transPORT rail enables the port railway to be well po-sitioned for the future, allows for an efficient rail traffic in the port, and prepares itself for a continuously increasing number of trains.

Another example of the innovative nature of the port railway is the pilot project smartSWITCH – the intelligent switch. Several selected switch systems were equipped with multisensor technology, which displays IT-based measurement data for every switch change and crossing. This data is used to better predict the wear of the switch. It allows the early detection and reporting of sluggish movements. It also means that the operative management of the HPA is given full transparency on the condition of switches that are critical to traffic and is able act before any disruptions take place. Maintenance work can be planned more efficiently this way.

The new construction of the new Kattwyk railway bridge – which trains are expected to use as of 2020 – is of importance from a traffic-strategic point of view. Until now, the existing Kattwyk bridge is used for rail as well as road traffic. With the construction of the new bridge, the HPA helps to unravel traffic and to increase the operational performance of the alternative route for the main port route. The construction of the new railway bridge Kattwyk seamlessly fits into the concept of an intelligent management of traffic and trade flows taking ecological and economic aspects into account – for the preservation of the existing Kattwyk bridge and for a long-term de-velopment of the Port of Hamburg to smartPORT.

About the Hamburg Port Authority
The Hamburg Port Authority AöR (HPA) has been providing future-oriented port management services offering one face to the customer since 2005. To ensure safe and efficient processes in the Port of Hamburg and meet the demands of a growing port, the HPA relies on intelligent and innovative solutions. The HPA is responsible for resource-efficient, sustainable planning and the implementation of infrastructure projects in the port. It is the contact point for all kinds of questions concerning the waterside and landside infrastructure, the navigational safety of vessel traffic, port railway facilities, port property management and business conditions in the port. The HPA ensures the provision of land as required, carries out all statutory duties placed on it and provides port industry services. It markets port-specific technical knowledge and represents the interests of the Port of Hamburg at a national and international level.

Press Contact: HPA Hamburg Port Authority | Press Office | Tel.: +49 40 42847-2300 |



Sinje Pangritz, Team leader Corporate Communications
Tel. +49 40 42 84 7-2306
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Christian Füldner, Press Office of the Hamburg Port Authority
Tel. +49 40 42 84 7-2301
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