Source: Adapted from Beisler, L., J. Kettler and P. Molle (1995) “Rationalisierunbg bei der Zugbildung un Nahbereichsbedienung im Schienengüterverkehr”, Eisenbahntechnische Rundschau, No. 4, pp. 225–231.
There are different strategies where rail bundling can be used, each associated with specific service times:
- Direct trains are commonly the preferred option since they convey the advantage of faster services and economies of scale (no bundling involved). However, they also require sufficient volumes to justify the use of block trains that are entirely dedicated between an origin and a destination.
- Group trains involve shipments between more than one origin or destination, which requires the combination or the breaking down of groups of railcars at a specific intermediary location. Such an activity commonly adds a few hours to the service time.
- Hub-and-spoke trains combine multiple origins and destinations by the use of bundling at a major hub. They require large volumes as each spoke generates enough traffic to justify a unit train. The complexity of switching rail cars, or moving containers between trains, requires additional time.