by Martin Phippard


Because road transport legislation governing overall length in the Netherlands conforms to that of the rest of mainland Europe, tractor-trailer combinations are limited to a maximum of 16.5-metres (54-feet) while truck-trailer combinations go a little longer at 18.35-metres (60-feet). However, it is clear that these dimensions are not ideal when it comes to the use of any type of twin trailer combination, and consequently B-Trains are almost unknown.

However, the road transport authorities in Holland have always been very forward thinking, and allow a certain amount of experimentation when it comes to new ideas. Consequently there is at least one B-train currently working in Holland, albeit on a trial basis, this being a 22-metre (72-feet) long combination operated by KOV Transport under special authority.

The KOV combination is unique for several reasons and combines technologies from various sources. It is designed exclusively for hauling containers in the area around Rotterdam docks. Consequently the rearmost section is made up of two trailers forming what is known as a “combi-trailer.” This is a five-axle trailer that looks like a regular semi-trailer but which splits in the middle. In this way two 20-foot containers or one 40-foot may be carried, and if necessary the trailer can be divided so that the 20-footers can be delivered to different destinations or backed on to separate loading bays. The combi-trailer is now finding favour with operators in Belgium and Britain too, but has its biggest following in Holland.

The KOV combination goes one better by having a short lead trailer capable of carrying one additional 20-foot container. This is fitted with a fifth wheel on to which the combi-trailer is coupled and in this way the outfit can carry three 20-foot boxes or one 20 and one 40-foot, all within an overall length of 72-feet. The KOV vehicle is restricted to working within a 50-km (30-mile) radius of Rotterdam docks when complete but when broken down in any of the three ways possible is free to roam anywhere in Holland or its neighbouring countries. Because the KOV vehicle has not been given an official designation I feel it is best described as a “Combination B-Train.”

KOV Combination B-Train

These photos were added on September 13, 2008
Henk Vlot Transport Combi-B-Train Europort taken in July 2007

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