New Caledonian Sleeper carriages on the road to Velim

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In a major programme milestone, the first of the 75 new carriages for the iconic Caledonian Sleeper service have arrived at the Velim test centre in the Czech Republic, where they are to undergo several weeks’ testing.

Five carriages, two seated, one Club and two sleeper, were despatched earlier this month from the factory in Beasain, northern Spain where the new fleet is being manufactured and assembled for Serco by CAF. They were transported by road from the CAF factory to Hendaye station in France where they started their rail transit to the Czech Republic.

Dynamic testing will start in the near future at Velim Test Centre and will last several weeks. Once these tests are successfully completed, the carriages will then be moved from Velim to Polmadie in Glasgow, UK via the Channel Tunnel.  The UK test programme is expected to start before the end of the year, initially with static and locomotive interface testing, progressing later to dynamic testing.

Serco committed to the introduction of the new fleet when it won the contract in 2014. It represents an investment of over £100m, part-funded by a £60m capital grant from Scottish Ministers, and when introduced in 2018 it will bring new standards in guest comfort.

Commenting on the start of the Czech trials, Peter Strachan, Serco’s Chairman, UK Rail, said: “It’s great to see the first of the new carriages on the move. To design, build and introduce a new fleet of rail sleeper coaches is extremely challenging and complex. Achieving this milestone is entirely due to the professionalism of the Serco team and everyone involved across the rail industry. We still have a lot of work to do to successfully bring the new sleeper fleet into service next year, but I am really excited about the quality of experience we will be able to offer our guests when it arrives.”

The carriages will offer four innovative ways to travel in comfort on the Sleeper service – reclining seats, berths, en-suite berths and luxurious ensuite double rooms for couples. The service will also include a Brasserie style Club Car for dining. Other new features being introduced include a hotel style key-card entry system to rooms, phone and gadget charging facilities for all guests and on-board WiFi. The new look and feel of the carriages has been overseen by award winning Scottish interior designer Ian Smith, with the patterns reflecting a contemporary Scotland theme.

Serco began operating the Caledonian Sleepers rail franchise for Scottish Ministers in April 2015 and has already brought in many improvements to the current fleet. These have included opening a new Guest Services Centre in Inverness; a new booking website allowing guests to book up to 12 months in advance; new bedding with more comfortable pillows and duvets; new customer sleep packs – upgraded dining options with seasonal local produce menu; procurement that focuses on Scottish food and drink sourced from local suppliers; new smart branding with new uniforms; on board events and a new on-board magazine.

 

New Intercity Express Trains for Devon and Cornwall begin testing

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Class 802 at Stoke Gifford (Bristol) depot

Passengers in the South West are a step closer to experiencing new trains as Hitachi begins testing the Class 802 fleet.

On Tuesday 8th August, the first of Great Western Railway’s Intercity Express Trains for Devon and Cornwall carried out test runs in Somerset, between Bruton and Cogload.

Two more trains are due to arrive in the South West within the coming weeks as part of a comprehensive test programme.
Modern trains designed for Devon and Cornwall

From 2018 this fleet of Class 802 Intercity Express Trains, which is being financed by Eversholt Rail, will connect London Paddington to Exeter, Plymouth, Penzance and many more communities.

Part of GWR’s new Intercity fleet, the 36 Class 802s are fitted with bi-mode technology, allowing trains to use both diesel and electric power, ensuring passengers experience new trains as soon as possible.

Passengers will benefit from more seats, better on-board facilities and shorter journey times.

The Intercity Express Train is also designed to withstand the region’s variable weather conditions, including routes along the Dawlish coast. These new trains harness Hitachi’s Japanese bullet train technology and will offer a step-change in the journey experience for passengers.

Berry Sas, Projects Director at Hitachi Rail Europe, said:
“This is an exciting milestone for our team as we ensure the trains are delivered on time and in top condition. Passengers and enthusiasts will be able to catch glimpses of the new trains as they begin regular test runs in the region”

Mark Hopwood, Managing Director of GWR, said:
“We know how important the railway is to the economies and communities of the South West, and the start of testing today marks another milestone in delivering the improvements we know our passengers wish to see.

“These trains will help us deliver faster, more frequent services into the South West, each providing up to a fifth more seats per train.”

Wilhelmshaven reinforces rail link to the Rhine-Ruhr region

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EUROGATE Container Terminal Wilhelmshaven has extended its rail connections to the Rhine-Ruhr region. As of now, container trains will operate once weekly between EUROGATE Container Terminal Wilhelmshaven and Container Terminal Dortmund. The Rhine-Ruhr region is one of Germany’s most important economic centres with a high foreign trade share and is among the world’s major metropolitan regions. Besides connections to the Europe-wide rail network, Dortmund’s port is linked to all major German and European inland ports via the canal network. In April, duisport already established a weekly connection between Wilhelmshaven and Duisburg Port. Rail services to and from the container port in Wilhelmshaven have been massively extended since April 2017. In the meantime, Rail Terminal Wilhelmshaven handles up to 25 container trains a week. For an overview of all rail connections, go to www.eurogate.eu.

Container Terminal Dortmund operates two terminals in Dortmund for the combined transport of goods. The terminal went into operation in early 2016 and has four tracks with a length of 724 metres each. The container trains run once a week on Wednesdays (at 5.00 h) from Dortmund and on Thursdays (at 2.30 h) from Wilhelmshaven. The trains each have a freight capacity of 100 standard containers (TEUs).

Bombardier Wins Major Rail and Maintenance Contract in the UK

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  • Contract for 750 cars is the largest AVENTRAtrain order ever
  • AVENTRA train designed to help FirstGroup and MTR deliver greater passenger capacity and comfort on the South Western network

Rail technology leader Bombardier Transportation has signed a contract with FirstGroup and MTR to supply and maintain 750 BOMBARDIER AVENTRA vehicles, for operation on the South Western franchise in the United Kingdom. This is the largest ever single contract globally for AVENTRA trains.

The contract is valued at approximately £895 million GBP ($1.1 billion US, 1 billion euro).  In addition, Bombardier will execute a Technical Services and Spares Supply Agreement (TSSSA) for the duration of the seven year franchise, with an option to extend for 11 periods in line with the existing franchise extension option. The UK-based rolling stock investment consortium Rock Rail will finance the multi-million pound procurement.

Steve Montgomery, First Rail Managing Director said, “We have exciting plans for the South Western rail franchise and these new trains are an important step on the way to delivering an improved journey experience for our passengers.  We know from listening to passengers and stakeholders that alongside improved performance, what they want to see is additional seats and we will deliver this via these state-of-the-art trains.”

Richard Hunter, UK Managing Director, Bombardier Transportation, commented “We are thrilled to have won this important contract.  It demonstrates further confidence placed in this market leading rolling stock, designed and built in Britain.  AVENTRA offers enhanced performance and increased passenger capacity, which will play an important part in helping First/MTR satisfy continued levels of passenger growth on the South Western network.  The contract builds upon our strong credentials, following the selection of AVENTRA for Crossrail and LOTRAIN in London, as well as for the East Anglia franchise.  We look forward to deepening our collaborative relationship with First/MTR.”

In addition to delivering a significant performance increase with innovative energy benefits such as regenerative braking, Bombardier’s new AVENTRA electric multiple unit will transform the passenger experience with features including wide-open gangways between carriages, air conditioning, WiFi, 2 + 2 seating, USB sockets at seat locations, universal toilets and improved passenger information system. The new units will be supplied in both 5-car and 10-car configurations.

The FirstGroup and MTR partnership will take over the South Western franchise on 20 August 2017.  The new trains will operate on the Windsor, Reading and West London suburban routes. The new trains will start to come into service from mid-2019 and will all be in place by December 2020.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau announces significant funding to extend Ottawa’s Light Rail Transit system

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A modern public transit system means shorter commute times, less air pollution, more time with family and friends, and stronger economic growth. Now is the time to invest in building new urban transit networks.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced up to $1.09 billion in funding for the Ottawa Light Rail Transit Stage 2 Project, which will better connect the east, west and south areas of Canada’s capital. The Province of Ontario has also made a similar funding commitment to the project. The City of Ottawa is responsible for the balance of the funding.

With Ottawa’s population expected to grow to 1.14 million people over the next 15 years, it is important that the city’s public transit becomes more efficient and inclusive for residents and visitors. Stage 2 of this project will see an additional 38.8 kilometres of rail and 23 new stations added to Stage 1 of the light rail transit system currently under construction. This new stage of construction will begin in 2018.

When construction is completed in 2023, 70 per cent of Ottawa residents will live within five kilometres of light rail transit. In addition to reducing congestion, increasing ridership, and improving safety, the expansion will allow people from Orléans, Nepean, and South Ottawa to quickly and easily get around the city.

Quotes

“The expansion of Ottawa’s light rail transit system will make it easier for residents and visitors alike to get around and experience everything our capital city has to offer. This expansion will help Canadians get to work and back home to their families on time, make our air cleaner, and create good, well-paying middle class jobs.”
— The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

“The Government of Canada is proud to be part of this important project for the National Capital Region, in partnership with the Government of Ontario and the City of Ottawa. Public transit is at the heart of our government’s vision to build strong, sustainable and inclusive communities. A project like the Ottawa LRT will make it easier for people to connect with the services they need while reducing gridlock and greenhouse gas emissions.”

— The Hon. Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

Quick facts

  • In addition to what was announced today, over $66 million in approved federal funding through the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund has been provided for four projects related to Stage 2: $45M for early works and engineering, $20M for new light rail vehicles, $1.25M for design of a rail-to-rail grade separation, and $100K for consultation with Indigenous communities.
  • The Government of Canada provided up to $762 million for Stage 1 of the Ottawa Light Rail Transit Project.
  • The Government of Canada’s funding for this project will be provided through the Investing in Canada Plan.
  • The Government of Canada will provide more than $180 billion in infrastructure funding over 12 years for public transit, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, transportation that supports trade, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
  • To support public transit, Budget 2017 proposed $25.3 billion. This amount includes $5 billion that will be invested in public transit systems by the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

Associated links

: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.

Links

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.”