Storage of rail freight

May 31, 2021

Next to sea transport, rail transport is the most environmentally friendly mode of transport. However, the last few decades have seen a significant decline in the railways’ share of transport. The reason for this is a poorly adapted infrastructure. 

Due to the domination of the market by road transport, new production, storage and distribution sites are created by adapting their location to the road infrastructure. Therefore, one of the basic conditions for the development of rail freight and increasing its share in the transport market is the expansion of the relevant infrastructure. The emergence of rail-adapted logistic centres, railport terminals, conventional and container terminals and warehouses equipped with railway sidings may positively influence the development of this branch of transport.

What is a railway siding and is it worth having one in your warehouse?

Thanks to the railway siding, we can unload and load wagons directly from the storage area. The siding infrastructure has a very important function especially for bulk transport. It is a rail road which connects, directly or indirectly, a warehouse or other loading or unloading point with a railway line, and the switching of railway vehicles on the railway network.

Rail sidings can be divided into:

  • station sidings branching off the station tracks;
  • track sidings which branch off from one or two line tracks.

Although the process of unloading and loading goods onto rail wagons is more problematic to organise than loading trailers, large volumes or oversized goods can be transported by rail at one time. For our warehouse, having a rail siding can mean gaining customers who use rail transport and transport, for example, Chinese goods. However, you need to be prepared to handle such unloading and loading.

How to load goods into railway containers?

We introduce the two most popular ways of loading goods:

Loading from ramp level

A loading ramp is most often used for direct loading from the warehouse, through which goods are transported by forklift trucks into containers on rail wagons. The rail platforms are tared on a rail scale at the entrance to the siding and then placed on the ramp. The storekeeper writes down their permitted payload and then gives the forklift operators instructions for loading specific goods into the containers. Using this system, it is not necessary to pull the containers from the wagons onto the yard, but the siding tracks are blocked during loading. To speed up the process, the wagons are loaded from both sides of the wagon – from the ramp level and from the other side of the wagon, i.e. from ground level using forklift trucks. The rail ramps at the warehouse are very often the bottleneck of the logistics and transport system.

Using a container terminal

A loading system using a container terminal that reduces the number of locomotive movements, which are the most costly, to the warehouse. This solution involves unloading the containers from the wagons using a rail crane to the storage yard, then loading them with goods and returning the container to the storage area using a crane or cantilever container trolley. This type of loading means that the locomotive does not leave the pendulum on the track, but is present at all times during the process of unloading and loading the containers.

How to find a warehouse with a railway siding?

The distribution of sidings in our country is irregular, and their largest concentrations can be found in places where heavy industry, mines, chemical and petrochemical plants developed in the post-war period, and in areas where large streams of cargo were generated such as seaports and shipbuilding. New halls for rent are also available on the market, equipped with a railway siding that we can rent. If the goods are transported by rail, there are many functioning warehouses with a railway siding that can take care of the loading and unloading process for us. 

>>> Take a look at and for free search warehouses that handle rail shipments.


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