November 3 - Höegh Autoliners has transported the first two of four Bombardier trams from Germany to Australia for the extension of the Gold Coast Light Rail System (GCLR), on behalf of DB Schenker.

Höegh handled the ocean transportation for the out-of-gauge (OOG) cargo, providing a customised ro-ro solution.

Each tram measured 43.5 m in length, which presented a challenge for Höegh, as the units could not be placed on a single rolltrailer, which has a maximum length of 24.4 m.

Geir Paulsen, Hoegh's global breakbulk operation manager, claimed Hoegh came up with a unique solution - the extended rolltrailer concept - which involves placing two rail-fitted rolltrailers in a line and connecting them a specially-designed bridging system, the Höegh Bridge. These have been tested and approved and the prototype was used for this operation.

"The railcars were loaded on a special truck trailer at the factory in Austria and driven directly onboard Höegh Traveller in Bremerhaven. On board the vessel, the trams were pulled from the 50 m long truck trailer to the extended rolltrailer concept."

Höegh claims that this was the first time a tram of this size has been loaded in one piece on a ro-ro vessel.

Following a six-week journey, the railcars were discharged in Brisbane. The GCLR project involves extending the northern line of the railway system to connect with the main Brisbane to Gold Coast train line ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.