Nevomo and GATX team up to test electrified MagRail Booster technology

2 mins read

Nevomo, the developer of hyperloop-inspired "MagRail” technology, and GATX Rail Europe, a full-service railcar lessor, have teamed up to test new rail freight technologies using linear motor propulsion for increased capacity and sustainability.

As part of the agreement, Nevomo’s new Booster component, which is part of the MagRail system, will be installed on conventional freight wagons supplied by GATX Rail Europe and then tested on rail infrastructure equipped with the system’s trackside devices.

MagRail Booster is part of the MagRail product portfolio and allows for a quick retrofit of existing rail cars with linear motor propulsion. Other MagRail products, dedicated both to freight and passenger transport, require new vehicles.

The cooperation between the companies will allow for testing on Nevomo’s test track in Nowa Sarzyna, Poland – Europe’s longest track for testing passive magnetic levitation – using conventional freight wagons. The agreement between the two firms seeks to further develop the new functionality of the MagRail system.

“The attractiveness of Nevomo’s MagRail Booster technology is an opportunity to upgrade existing railways, both in terms of the infrastructure and the rolling stock. This will enable railways to grow faster, grow their capacity, which is urgently needed for sustainable and performant logistics, but at the same time to remain compatible and interoperable with the current operations,” said Jörg Nowaczyk, chief commercial officer at GATX Rail Europe.

MagRail was designed to quickly and cost-effectively extend the capacity of existing railway lines and increase efficiency in rail transport. The MagRail Booster has been developed to improve existing rail services allowing traffic automation and infrastructure electrification with higher flexibility, greater capacity, and enhanced dynamics.

Potential applications of MagRail Booster with retrofitted rolling stock for freight are currently being evaluated by major European railways, e.g., on increasing loading limits on inclines or quicker re-acceleration of freight trains after being passed by faster passenger trains. Moreover, MagRail Booster allows railway traffic in non-electrified tunnels and under low-clearance bridges.

One key advantage of the Booster system is that single wagons can operate independently without being connected to the locomotive. This opens possibilities for new applications in which wagons can be organized into small groups instead of full trainsets. This feature is particularly useful in last mile areas, such as cargo terminals and industrial facilities, where a high degree of flexibility and movement automation is highly desirable.

“We are very proud to have GATX – one of the leading railcar lessors in Europe – as our partner for developing and testing the MagRail Booster technology. The first retrofits are already ongoing, and we will see the first fully electrified and automatic GATX MagRail Booster wagon on our test track this year. At Nevomo, we are constantly monitoring the market situation and try to meet the needs of customers by adjusting our products. This is how the MagRail Booster was born,” said Stefan Kirch, chief business development officer at Nevomo.

Nevomo’s MagRail technology has already been highly appreciated by major players in the European railway industry, which has been confirmed by several agreements signed, including with Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (RFI), Duisport, and SNCF.

Watch the MagRail Booster technology in action here: