:VIDEO: Alstom’s hydrogen train Coradia iLint first successful run at 80 km/h

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Alstom has successfully performed the first test run at 80 km/h of the world’s only fuel cell passenger train Coradia iLint on its own test track in Salzgitter, Lower Saxony (Germany). An extensive test campaign will be conducted in Germany and Czech Republic in the coming months before the Coradia iLint performs its first passenger test runs on the Buxtehude–Bremervörde–Bremerhaven–Cuxhaven (Germany) route beginning of 2018.

The four-week test runs currently undergoing in Salzgitter aim at confirming the stability of the energy supply system based on coordinated interaction between the drive, the fuel cell and the battery of the vehicle. The braking power is also being tested to check the interface between the pneumatic and the electric brake.

The Coradia iLint is the first low floor passenger train worldwide powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, which produces electrical power for the traction. This zero-emission train is silent and only emits steam and condensed water. Coradia iLint is special for its combination of different innovative elements: a clean energy conversion, flexible energy storage in batteries, and a smart management of the traction power and available energy. Based on Alstom’s flagship Coradia Lint diesel train, Coradia iLint is particularly suited for operation on non-electrified networks. It enables sustainable train operation while maintaining high train performance.

“This test run is a significant milestone in environmental protection and technical innovation. With the Coradia iLint and its fuel cell technology, Alstom is the first railway manufacturer to offer a zero-emission alternative for mass transit trains. Today our new traction system, so far successfully proved on the test ring, is used on a train for the first time – a major step towards cleaner mobility in Europe “, said Didier Pfleger, Vice President of Alstom Germany and Austria.

The dynamic tests are performed at Salzgitter plant at 80 km/h and in Velim (Czech Republic) at up to 140 km/h, the maximum speed of the Coradia iLint. For the purpose of the tests, a mobile filling station has been erected in Salzgitter to pump gaseous hydrogen into the pressure tank of the Coradia iLint. The hydrogen used for the test runs is the by-product of an industrial process, which is reasonably reused as a waste product. In the long term, Alstom aims to support the hydrogen production from wind energy.

The vehicle has already successfully completed the static commissioning process. All electrical and pneumatic functions of the trains have been tested and verified at standstill. TÜV Süd has certified the safety of the battery, the pressure tank system and the fuel cell for the coming test phases.

The Coradia iLint was designed by Alstom teams in Germany at Salzgitter’s site, centre of excellence for regional trains and in France notably in Tarbes, centre of excellence for traction systems and Ornans for the motors. This project benefits from the support of the German ministry of Transport and Digital infrastructure. Alstom has already signed letters of intent for 60 trains with the German states of Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg and the Hessian transport association ‘Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund’.

SYSTRA to modernise two of Brussels’ metro lines

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The SYSTRA-GESTE-TRACTEBEL Consortium has won the contract for a consultancy assignment for the Brussels Metro Modernisation Programme aimed at automating two of Brussels’ metro lines.

“SYSTRA, in a temporary commercial association with GESTE and TRACTEBEL, has been awarded a consultancy assignment for the Brussels metro Modernization programme for the phase covering the roll-out of automated systems. With this contract, the Société des Transports Intercommunaux de Bruxelles (STIB) has once again shown its confidence in SYSTRA with which it has worked since 2014 when it carried out the initial design study for this project.

We are proud to be taking part in this automation of systems which will help improve the mobility of residents in the Belgian capital by increasing the capacity of its metro network by the beginning of the next decade. We will take great care to ensure that the works will not disrupt the journeys of Brussels’ inhabitants during the project.”
Frédéric Dufour, Head of Continental Europe

The six year mission of SYSTRA and its partners covers the detailed design through to commissioning. The supervision and testing of the signalling system and the new rolling stock, for which suppliers have already been chosen, will be key. Moreover, SYSTRA is working on the creation of a new depot, located at the Erasme station, the western terminal of line 5. The aim is for the infrastructure to be completed by mid-2018, when the new trains are delivered.

TWO STRATEGIC SEMI-AUTOMATED LINES TO INCREASE THE METRO’S CAPACITY

The STIB has decided to adopt computer-aided trains, using a CBTC system. The aim is to increase the frequency of trains and the capacity of Brussels’ metro lines while at the same time modernising and improving their security for passengers. With this automation, Brussels wishes to improve the attractiveness of its public transport in order to reduce pollution caused by automobile traffic, which is particularly heavy in the city centre.

Metro lines 1 and 5 were the first of the network of six lines to be commissioned in the 1970s and are strategic: they cross the capital from west to east and link the historic centre of Brussels with the European quarter. These are the busiest lines.

OPTIMAL MODERNISATION WITHOUT INTERRUPTING SERVICE

For Frédéric Meseguer, Project manager and Head of the consultancy assignment: “The main constraint with this project is not to hinder the daily circulation of trains. Work will therefore be carried out at night and the necessary station closures and line closures (during the testing phase) will be kept to a strict minimum. The interface with the customer’s other projects is a high expectation.”

MEPs back new rules to boost rail travel

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Public contracts to supply domestic passenger rail services in EU countries will normally have to be put out to tender under new rules backed by Parliament on Wednesday. These rules also aim to boost investment and the development of new commercial services.

Under the new rules, rail companies will be able to offer their services in EU domestic passenger rail markets in two ways.

First, in cases where national authorities award public service contracts to provide passenger rail services, bidding for public service contracts open to all EU rail operators should gradually become the standard procedure for selecting service providers.

These contracts, which member states use to provide public passenger transport, account for about two thirds of passenger rail services in the EU. Inviting companies to bid for them should sharpen their customer focus and save costs for the taxpayer.

National authorities will also retain the right to award contracts directly, without bidding, but if this method is used it must offer improvements for passengers or cost efficiency gains.

  • Contracts awarded directly would have to include performance requirements (e.g. punctuality and frequency of services, quality of rolling stock and transport capacity).
  • Direct award would be allowed for public service contracts below a certain average annual value or for annual provision of public passenger transport services by rail (€7.5 million or 500,000 km).

Second, any rail company will be able to offer competing commercial services on EU passenger rail markets.

However, to ensure that services which member states want to be supplied under public service contracts continue, member states could restrict a new operator’s right of access to certain lines. An objective economic analysis by the national regulator would be needed to determine when open access can be limited.

Potential conflicts of interest would have to be assessed to ensure that infrastructure managers operate impartially, so that all operators have equal access to tracks and stations.

Public service operators would have to comply with social and labour law obligations established by EU law, national law or collective agreements, says the text

Entry into force

Rail companies will be able to offer new commercial services on domestic lines from 14 December 2020. Competitive tendering is to become the general rule for new public service contracts from December 2023, with some exceptions.

ABB wins order to supply 1600 transformers to support railway expansion in India

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Compact and reliable traction transformers to boost railways and support economic growth

ABB has won an order from Alstom to supply 1600 traction transformers for 800 new electric freight locomotives in India. The new locomotives will expand Indian Railways’ capacity, easing congestion on busy routes for both freight and passenger services. The transformers will be manufactured locally in ABB’s Vadodara facility in the western Indian state of Gujarat, supporting the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative to encourage manufacturing in the country.

Indian Railways operates the largest rail network in Asia, and is the world’s second-largest rail network operated under single management. The company moves more than 12,500 trains and 23 million passengers daily, equivalent to the population of Australia.

ABB will supply 25 kilovolt (kV)/50 hertz (Hz) underframe traction transformers for the 800 locomotives (2 units per locomotive). The compact transformers are designed for the most demanding conditions, including extreme temperatures and voltage fluctuations. They will support heavy freight loads over long distance haulage under rigorous conditions, including steep inclines.

“ABB has been supplying traction transformers for Alstom’s electrical locomotives for more than a decade and this order confirms our position as a supplier of choice and a reliable long-term technology partner,” said Claudio Facchin, president of ABB’s Power Grids division. “These state-of-the-art transformers will be locally manufactured and are an example of how ABB delivers differentiated customer value by leveraging its technology strengths and global footprint, as part of our Next Level strategy.”

Traction transformers feed power at safe voltages to essential train functions like traction, brakes, lighting, heating and ventilation, as well as passenger information, signaling and communication. Used by rail operators around the globe, ABB traction transformers are manufactured at its plants in Switzerland, India and China, and provide the highest levels of availability and reliability for uninterrupted train service.

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Nokia to provide Korea Rail Network Authority with world’s first LTE-R network to support high-speed railway operations

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  • Project part of modernization of line connecting Wonju and Gangneung in preparation for Korea hosting a major international sporting event in 2018
  • KRNA to deploy LTE-R technology for modernization of communications network supporting mission-critical services, such as signaling at speeds of up to 250 km/h

Espoo, Finland – Nokia has been selected by the Korea Rail Network Authority (KRNA) as a supplier for the world’s first LTE-R mobile broadband network to support railway operations and employee services. The network will be deployed on a railway line between Wonju and Gangneung as part of preparations for the major international sporting event being hosted by the country in 2018. KRNA is responsible for the development and maintenance of railway infrastructure in South Korea as well as a number of other countries.

The communications network for KRNA will be based on LTE-R technology, a version of 4G LTE technology that is being developed to meet the mission-critical service requirements of railway operators. The network will support both operational and maintenance services on a high-speed commercial railway line operating at speeds of up to 250 km/h.

KRNA’s LTE-R network will provide secure, reliable, high-speed connectivity between trains, stations and other railway facilities between Wonju and Gangneung. The network will also be designed to interoperate with other LTE networks supporting public safety and maritime operations as well as legacy VHS (very high frequency) and TRS (trunked radio system) radio networks. This project is intended to serve as a model for future LTE-R deployments, and help further define LTE-R standardization efforts.

For this project, Nokia will supply radio access network (RAN) base stations (eNodeBs) along with Nokia NetAct(TM), the first major virtualized network management software for mobile networks. NetAct delivers best-in-class applications for the railway operations and employee services management of KRNA. It also delivers advanced assurance capabilities as part of Nokia’s comprehensive, multi-domain Service Assurance program, which provides closed-loop automation to drive greater network agility and optimization. Nokia systems integration and deployment services will help to establish the new LTE-R network.

Andrew Cope, head of Korea at Nokia, said: “South Korea has been a world leader in the use of mobile broadband technology to make public services of all kinds safer, more efficient and reliable. With a thirty-year history in the delivery of GSM-R mobile networking technology for railways, and as a pioneer in the development of LTE-R solutions, we are pleased to partner with KRNA to bring these cutting edge capabilities to the country as they prepare to host one of the world’s premier sporting events.”

Alstom hands over five Prima H3 locomotives to Deutsche Bahn

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Alstom handed over five Prima H3 hybrid shunting locomotives to Deutsche Bahn during a ceremony at Alstom’s Stendal site in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, where the locomotives were built. In total, 23 of the environmental-friendly vehicles have been ordered from different customers until today. 

This new generation of hybrid shunting locomotive will be used at Deutsche Bahn, making a sustainable contribution towards reducing CO2 emissions on rail tracks in Germany.

Alstom has been consistently developing its environmentally friendly hybrid technology under European conditions for many years, and it is the first manufacturer to have put this technology on rail. Our Prima H3 locomotive is paving the way to the new reality of zero-emission freight transport in Europe” said Daniel Croonen, Director Service for Alstom Germany and Austria. 

“We are already thinking of the future. For this reason, we strive for better climate protection and less noise impact. The new Prima H3 hybrid locomotive will help us to achieve both. Hand-in-hand with the industry, DB has brought the environmentally friendly technology to be used in full rail operation. I’m proud that the five vehicles are due to take up service in Franconia from November,” Andreas Gehlhaar, Head of Environmental Affairs at Deutsche Bahn AG.

Alstom innovates with its Prima H3 locomotive in a market segment that has long been left apart: in comparison to conventional shunting locomotives, the Prima H3 with its hybrid drive produces up to 50% less CO2, while other pollutant emissions (Nitrogen dioxide) are cut by up to 70%. Noise emissions have also been significantly reduced. The 350 kW diesel generator meets the requirements of exhaust gas standard stage IIIB[1] and has been designed with future exhaust gas standards in mind. Depending on its use, the shunting locomotive will spend between 50% and 75% of its service time in battery mode. This makes it possible to achieve zero-emission rail transport in urban areas or production plants. The locomotive reaches speeds of 100 km/h and can therefore easily be integrated in main line traffic.

More than 200 employees are working at the Alstom site in Stendal, thus making it one of the most important employers in the region. The facility exists since 1873 and meanwhile is specialised in servicing as well as repair and modernisation of rail vehicles and their components.


[1] Most recent European standard on the regulation of emissions

EU Bank supports the modernisation of Moldova’s railways with 50 million EUR

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The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending EUR 50m to the Republic of Moldova to finance the improvement and modernisation of Moldova’s railway network and rolling stock. The project has received a 5 million EUR investment grant from the European Union, and is co-financed with the EBRD. This is the first time EIB financing has been granted to the Moldovan railways sector, and will upgrade assets partially located on the extended TEN-T and contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the EU-Moldova Association Agreement.

EIB, EU and EBRD funds will help to foster trade both in Moldova and between Moldova and its trading partners in the EU and Eastern Neighbourhood region. The EIB loan will contribute to enhancing the competitiveness of local products and generating efficiencies, potentially increasing exports. This project is part of a broader programme which also includes the restructuring of the Moldovan railway sector in order to enable it to provide adequate services and to compete with other modes of transport.

The EIB support provided to the railway sector will have a positive environmental impact by preventing modal shift from rail to road, and by reducing pollutants, greenhouse gas emissions and noise levels. It will increase passenger safety and operational speed, and reduce vehicle and infrastructure operating costs, which will lead to an improvement in the financial sustainability of Moldova’s national railway company (CFM), the final beneficiary of the EIB loan.

The project consists of two components: the acquisition of mainline diesel locomotives and the associated maintenance equipment and the rehabilitation of selected sections of the railway infrastructure. The new locomotives will replace their obsolete predecessors and the railway infrastructure rehabilitation will be carried out on sections whose renewal is long overdue.

Alstom to provide Amtrak with its new generation of high-speed train

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Alstom and Amtrak announced today that they have signed a contract for Alstom to design and build 28 new high-speed trains, which will run on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) between Boston and Washington D.C. Amtrak and Alstom also signed a long-term contract under which Alstom will provide Amtrak with long-term technical support and supply spare components and parts for the maintenance of the new trainsets. Together, these contracts are worth €1.8 billion ($2 billion). 

The Northeast Corridor (NEC) line covers roughly 730 km (457 miles)[1]. In only ten years, the number of passengers has increased from 2.4 million passengers in FY 2002 to 3.5 million in FY 2014. As part of an effort to renew and expand their premium product, Amtrak has therefore decided to purchase new trainsets to replace the existing Acela trains [2], thus increasing passenger capacity, providing more frequent service, minimizing journey times, and improving operating costs and energy efficiency.

The train ordered by Amtrak is Avelia Liberty, the latest development of Alstom’s high-speed train range Avelia. The new trainset will be able to carry up to 33% more passengers than the current Acela trains. The trainset configuration includes an innovative compact power car and nine passenger cars, with the possibility of three more being added if demand grows. The train is capable of travelling at speeds up to 300 km/h (186 mph), but will initially operate at a maximum speed of 257 km/h (160 mph) based on NEC track speed limits. Additionally, each concentrated power car is equipped with Alstom’s pioneering Crash Energy Management (CEM) system.

Another key feature is the train’s articulated architecture, which provides greater stability and passenger comfort while enhancing safety. The train also includes Alstom’s innovative Tiltronix anticipative tilting technology, which allows the train to manoeuvre curves safely and more comfortably at high speeds.

Amtrak is taking the necessary actions to keep our customers, the Northeast region and the American economy moving forward,” said Amtrak President & CEO Joe Boardman. “These trainsets and the modernization and improvement of infrastructure will provide our customers with the mobility and experience of the future.

Jérôme Wallut, Senior Vice President, Alstom North-America said “Alstom’s high speed trains, which we have branded Avelia, are the most advanced, reliable and safest trains in the world. Avelia Liberty will not only provide premium passenger experience but will also provide greater energy efficiency and lower lifecycle costs. This award is an illustration of the success of Alstom’s strategy of customer proximity. We would like to thank Amtrak for its vote of confidence and remain fully dedicated to making this project a success”.

Most of the Avelia Liberty for Amtrak will be manufactured in the United States. The new trainsets will be manufactured at Alstom’s 150 year-old historic site in Hornell, NY. They will be maintained in the depots of Amtrak in Boston, New York and Washington DC under a specific Technical Support and Spare Supply Agreement with additional support from Alstom’s sites in New York, Delaware and Illinois for a period of 15 years, with an option for an additional 15 years. These contracts will result in the creation of more than 1,000 jobs nationwide, including 750 in New York with 400 of those at Alstom facilities.

In nearly 40 years, Alstom has sold more than 1,100 Avelia high speed trains around the world and equipped over 300 more with its technology.  As of today, Alstom’s Avelia high-speed trains have covered over 6.4 billion kilometres in 20 countries and transported 4 billion passengers.


[1] from Boston, Massachusetts, to Washington, D.C. via New York and Philadelphia

[2] In commercial service since 2000. Trains manufactured by Alstom-Bombardier Consortium

Bombardier Confirms Rail Vehicle Service and Maintenance Contract in Lower Saxony, Germany

Contract covers maintenance for 257 TWINDEXX Vario double-deck coaches and TRAXX locomotives

As announced on June 29, 2016, rail technology leader Bombardier Transportation is proud to confirm that it has received an order from German regional rail authority Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen mbH (LNVG) to provide rail vehicle service and fleet maintenance. Bombardier also assumes, for a period ending 2035, the registered keeper role of a total of 220 BOMBARDIER TWINDEXX Vario double-deck cars, 29 BOMBARDIER TRAXX electric locomotives and eightTRAXX diesel locomotives from LNVG’s vehicle pool.

Hans-Joachim Menn, Chief Executive Officer of LNVG, the company who organizes local rail traffic in Germany between Harz Germany and the North Sea, emphasized the importance of the order, saying, “The high availability and efficiency of our rail passenger locomotives and double-deck cars is an important prerequisite for passenger satisfaction. We will reach an unparalleled level of availability and this will have a positive impact on ridership.”

Michael Fohrer, President, Locomotives, Light Rail Vehicles and Services, Central and Eastern Europe, Bombardier Transportation, said, “This truly proves our ability to identify key areas on the value chain where we can provide added value and benefits to our customer. For many years we have been a strong partner to LNVG and the region of Lower Saxony and are proud to once again have been chosen to provide our strong services offering to increase reliability and service in the region.”

LNVG has outsourced their fleet maintenance to Bombardier since delivery of the first trains in 2003. The now-signed service and maintenance contract covers the complete lifecycle of LNVG’s vehicles with an economic lifetime of around 30 years. The takeover of the registered keeper role for the vehicles and the consequent Entity in Charge of Maintenance (ECM) responsibility is a first for Bombardier. In future public rail transport award procedures LNVG can now deploy the vehicles to the selected railway companies in full legal compliance.

Rail Safety and Standards Board: New Safety Management Intelligence System goes live on 5 December

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The rail industry is set to benefit from a completely new Safety Management Intelligence System which goes live on 5 December. 2016.

The new system marks the first step in replacing the increasingly outmoded technology used to power the industry’s risk and reporting systems. The system currently in use was introduced in 1997 and no longer offers the potential sought after by rail companies in order for them to make the next step change in health and safety risk control.

RSSB’s Director of System Safety, George Bearfield said: Britain’s railways are among the safest and most intensively used in the world, built on a mature approach to health and safety, and evidence-based decisions grounded in high quality data. But the systems we’ve relied on thus far, won’t take us any further.

Industry wants to exploit new technology to better understand and improve health, wellbeing and safety even further. The Safety Management Intelligence System is a completely new product, representing a transformation in safety intelligence capability to the rail industry, and on 5 December will go live to replace the old SMIS system.

The new Safety Management Intelligence System is capable of marshalling far greater amounts of incident data, analysis and business intelligence and will provide companies with more freedom to create their own safety intelligence reports. It will also have a far more contemporary and user friendly interface meaning they can carry on accessing high quality business intelligence to support safety decision making.

Rail firms will also benefit from updated risk-based data sets and added capabilities that reflect the way the railway has changed in the last 20 years, including the roll-out of new traffic management systems like ERTMS.