Vehicle loading gauge
This is the minimum loading gauge for international combined transport lines. On new lines, only a small marginal investment cost is normally incurred by adopting a high loading gauge, and the UIC C gauge has therefore been chosen.
The C gauge allows, for instance:
The transport of road goods vehicles and road trains (lorry with trailer, articulated vehicle, tractor and semi-trailer) conforming to the European road loading gauge (height 4 m, width 2.5 m) on special wagons with a loading height of 60 cm above rail level;
The transport of ordinary road semi-trailers 2.5 m wide and 4 m high on recess wagons with normal bogies;
The transport of ISO containers 2.44 m wide and 2.9 m high on ordinary flat wagons; The transport of swap bodies 2.5 m wide on ordinary flat wagons;
The transport of containers/swap bodies 2.6 m wide and 2.9 m high on suitable wagons.
The existing lines across mountainous regions (such as the Pyrenees, Massif Central, Alps, Jura, Appenines, Carpathians) have many tunnels conforming to the Technical Unit loading gauge, or gauges of slightly greater height at the centre of the track. Increasing this to conform to the UIC C gauge is in almost all cases impossible from the economic and financial standpoints.
The UIC B gauge has therefore been chosen for these lines, as it allows, for instance:
The transport of ISO containers, 2.44 m wide and 2.90 m high, on flat container-wagons with a loading height 1.18 m above rail level;
The transport of swap bodies, 2.5 m wide and 2.6 m high, on ordinary flat wagons (loading height 1.246 m);
The transport of semi-trailers on recess wagons; The transport of containers/swap bodies, 2.6 m wide and 2.9 m high, on special low-loader wagons.
Most of the existing international combined transport lines offer at least the UIC B gauge. In the case of the others, improvement to this standard does not normally require major investments.
Authorized mass per axle
This is the authorized mass per axle which international combined transport lines should be able to bear.
International combined transport lines should be capable of taking the most modern existing and future vehicle traffic, in particular:
Wagons with a mass per axle of 20 tonnes, which corresponds to UIC class C; a wagon mass per axle of 22.5 tonnes up to 100 km/h has been adopted, in conformity with recent UIC decisions. The mass per axle limits of 20 tonnes for a speed of 120 km/h are those set by the UIC regulations. The mass per axle values shown are for a wheel diameter of not less than 840 mm, in accordance with the UIC regulations.