Rail Cargo Group, the freight rail division of ÖBB Group, has invested €2.2m to convert and upgrade 50 of its existing freight wagons into dedicated automotive cars for the transport of pressed parts.

The wagons, which are now fully in service between Austria and Slovakia, were modified by the division’s subsidiary Rail Cargo Wagon and will expand the rail provider’s service offering for an automotive customer – which it declined to name – for which it has been providing rail services since 2006.

The investment brings the rail provider’s dedicated fleet of automotive wagons to 100. Each has a two-axle sliding wall and a loading height of more than 3 metres. This is an important factor, according to the company, as the automotive industry specifies a uniform loading height of 3.05 metres.

“The innovatively customised wagons enable full utilisation of the freight hold and, therefore, provide an environment-friendly alternative to HGVs,” said the company in a statement.

According to Rail Cargo Group, it was the first rail company to be given a 6.2.4 certification by the Association of the Germany Automobile Industry (VDA), which means it meets the requirements of the automotive industry in securing the transport of products according to uniform quality standards which are documented.

In 2012, the Rail Cargo Group operated a total of 270 round trips on rail for this specific customer.