Increasing the capacity and usage of the European freight network is both good for the European economy and the environment and is a priority for the EU. UNIFE is very active in promoting the shift from road to rail freight.

Products and services
The UNIFE system integrators, wagon manufacturers and system suppliers produce a large variety of rolling stock and components which are the technical backbone for efficient and reliable movement of goods in Europe.

UNIFE members set standards in the manufacturing of diesel-electric and electric locomotives for main line service, as well as diesel hydraulic locomotives for shunting.
The locomotives pulling freight trains apply advanced and innovative technologies which ensure reliable service on cross border rail freight traffic on all relevant European transport corridors. UNIFE members offer innovative solutions tailored to customers’ needs: key aspects for the competitive rail freight operators are cost efficient acquisition and maintenance, operational flexibility and energy efficiency. And of course to offer environmentally friendly systems, that are less polluting, with reduced noise emissions and low impact on tracks and wheels.

Freight wagons
UNIFE wagon manufacturers produce all types of freight wagons circulating all around Europe transporting various kinds of goods. They answer to specific customers’ needs by designing, manufacturing, repairing and refurbishing a wide range of wagons for specific transport requirements (hopper wagons, tank wagons, flat wagons, intermodal wagons etc.)

Components and subsystems
UNIFE subsystem suppliers produce subsystems and innovative components for brakes and on board systems, as well as IT supported systems for intelligent traffic management on freight corridors. Specific activities and products are:

  • Design, development and manufacturing of high-quality brake equipment
  • Supply of world leading braking control technology for safe train operation
  • State of the art traction systems (distributed traction) for long and heavy trains
  • Communication systems for improved maintenance and monitoring of goods, especially dangerous goods
  • Traffic management and decision support systems for efficient handling of disruptions

Research & Development
UNIFE members are strongly involved in joint research activities which aim at improving capability of the rail freight system, as well as train and capacity management

  • Methods to increase axle loads on existing infrastructure
  • Design and test longer and heavier trains.
  • Braking systems for longer trains and systems to reduce damages by brake failures
  • Diagnostics and monitoring on freight trains
  • Preparation time of the train (automatic couplers, automatic brake test)
  • Improved quality of service and implementation of existing technologies (e.g. IT Technologies)

The launch of the Shift2Rail initiative in 2014 has further widened the opportunities of joint EU-level Research & Innovation projects for UNIFE members. In this regard, a dedicated Innovation Programme (IP5) was included in this joint technology initiative to support the rail freight sector’s needs.

During the next seven years, IP5 will help UNIFE members and the rail freight sector in general to achieve the goals of doubling the use of rail freight compared to 2005, achieving a shift of 30% of road freight over 300 km to rail by 2030 and more than 50% by 2050 as set in the 2011 Transport White Paper.

Innovation Programme 5 will focus on the following areas:

  • Freight Electrification, Brake and Telematics;
  • Access and Operation;
  • Wagon design;
  • Novel Terminal, Hubs, Marshalling yards, Sidings;
  • New Freight Propulsion Concepts;
  • Sustainable rail transport of dangerous goods;
  • Long-term vision for an autonomous rail freight system.


For more information please contact:
David Kupfer
Technical Affairs Manager
+32 2 626 12 68