Wind Blades By Rail

As you travel along major U.S. highways, it is not unusual to see semis traveling in packs of three transporting wind turbine blades. But have you ever seen them blow by on rail? Not yet but this may be a new transportation option going forward. For the first time in Europe, 55-metre long wind blades have been delivered from Germany to Denmark by rail.

“We took an innovative approach to lowering the cost of energy while at the same time reducing impact on the environment,” said Mette Heileskov Bülow, Transportation Chief Specialist at Vestas. The company coordinated the first blade-by-train transport that consisted of nine wind blades manufactured at Vestas’ production facility to the port of Esbjerg, Denmark. The trip took less than 20 hours; by road it would have taken 72 hours, nine trucks and 18 safety cars.

SNCF Geodis and Vestas are designing rail connections between Vestas’ production facilities, research centres, warehouses and erection locations throughout Europe. Vestas said changing the mode of transport for the majority of these onshore wind turbine components in Europe in the near future will reduce transportation cost. Early estimates indicate at least a 15 percent savings.

Pierre Blayau, CEO of SNCF Geodis, added, “This new transportation concept shows the beneficial strategic fit between SNCF Geodis and Vestas. Both our companies are role models for creating sustainable solutions in our respective industries.”