(Freely unabridged version based on an article by Bernd Schmidt; DVZ)
The inquiry sounded simple: 58 platform cars were supposed to be transported from Duisburg, Nuremberg and Rostock to Ashford, England, to be used there for track construction work on the new fast rail line between the English Channel and London. However – the spirit is willing but the EU is still weak, at least as far as different technical and legal preconditions were concerned. It was no problem transporting the cars by rail to Calais, but there they could go no further, because the vehicles were too wide for the "structure clearance" of the British railway line.
The question was therefore: How could one then overcome the 30-km distance between Dover and Ashford?
Loading on conventional low-loaders or inland navigation vessels had to be ruled out, because the cars were rated as only craneable to a limited degree. The creative solution from OTTO HAALBOOM Internationale Spedition was spontaneously "Culemeyer". This special-purpose road transporter made a name for itself 45 years ago as the "Strassenroller" [a truck-pulled trailer for moving railcars on the road] when complete freight cars were still taken to recipients using the road.
A brilliant idea and technically perfect.
But then came the legal hurdles. The French trade union demanded disproportionately
high prices for reloading from rail to rail in the Port of Calais. And they did so by the car! OTTO HAALBOOM Internationale Spedition did no better attempting to do the reloading at the freight station. A special permit required for this was simply not issued. Finally, an agreement was made with the trade union on a price per day with a strict time limit. After nine days, the special transport was finally done and dusted!
Only twelve days had passed – and once again the "impossible" had been made
possible by a typical Haalboom solution.