Austrian double-track project to improve punctuality begins
A: ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG (ÖBB) have initiated planning for the Bludenz-Klosterbogen project, with the aim of increasing timetable stability and punctuality in long-distance traffic on the Arlbergbahn line.
The Arlbergbahn line is one of the main lines on the approximately 5,000km-long Austrian rail network and also a challenging and impressive mountain railway that connects Vorarlberg with the rest of Austria.
To ensure that the railway network is prepared for future challenges, ÖBB will be investing heavily in the expansion of the railway infrastructure in Vorarlberg. An important part of this is the double-track expansion of the so-called ‘monastery arch’, starting from the eastern entrance to Bludenz station in the direction of Arlberg.
The double-track expansion of the approximately 1.4km-long section is the next important step in the ÖBB infrastructure quality offensive in Vorarlberg. For long-distance trains, this will improve the crossing situation in the Bludenz area, which will result in the further stabilisation of punctuality and thus increase quality. Measures accompanying the project, such as new noise protection walls, will offer even better protection for residents living close to the network. The crossing area of the two state roads L190 and L97 will also be converted and made more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly.
The ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG project team has already started planning the double-track expansion. The first stage envisages surveying work and boundary determinations on the adjacent properties. The surveying office commissioned by ÖBB will contact property owners and carry out the boundary determinations. This preparatory work forms the basis for further planning and the subsequent official approval processes. In addition, there will be further investigations and an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the section over the coming years.
Stadler and Medha Servo to build rail coach manufacturing unit in India
IN: India-based Medha Servo Drives has signed a joint venture (JV) agreement with Swiss railway rolling stock manufacturer Stadler Rail for a new rail coach manufacturing factory in the Indian state of Telangana.
The new facility will be built with an investment of INR10bn ($129m) over two years, reported The Times of India.
Stadler Rail will own the majority interest in the JV, which is anticipated to employ more than 2,500 people from the state.
According to the Telangana government, the new facility will be used to make exports to customers across the Asia Pacific region, besides meeting the requirements of the Indian market.
Telangana IT Minister Kalvakuntla Taraka Rama Rao was quoted by the publication as saying: “I am extremely delighted that Stadler chose Hyderabad as their primary location for rail coach manufacturing for the complete APAC region in partnership with Medha Servo.
“This will show the world the potential that Hyderabad has, to match global investment destinations in terms of quality of talent and output.”
Last year in January, Medha Servo received an INR22.11bn ($285.2bn) contract to design, develop, manufacture, supply, integrate, test, and commission several types of equipment for Vande Bharat type train sets for 44 rakes of 16 cars each.
Separately, Stadler confirmed a framework agreement with Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), Thurbo, and RegionAlps for up to 510 single-decker FLIRT trains.
Last year in October, the company secured a framework agreement to manufacture and supply the units but an unsuccessful bidder had filed an appeal against the award. Now the appeal has been dismissed by the Federal Administrative Court.
CHSRA apply for over $1 billion in federal funds for high-speed rail project
US: The California High-Speed Rail Authority has submitted two applications totalling nearly $1.3 billion in federal grant funding for the nation’s first high-speed rail project. The applications are the first major push for a continued federal partnership under the newly enacted Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, signed by President Biden in November 2021.
“With the state’s continued commitment and the Biden Administration’s leadership and support, we are confident we will deliver a project the country will be proud of,” said Gavin Newsom, Governor of California, said. “California is the home of innovation, and we are committed to advancing this very innovative project to improve our economy, advance clean mobility and expand economic opportunity for all.”
More than 40 letters of support from up and down the state of California accompanied the Authority’s grant applications, including letters from United States Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, members of the Legislature, mayors, and other elected officials, along with national and state-wide business, transportation and labour leaders.
The Authority’s two applications include funding for:
- constructing the second track for the initial operating segment between Merced and Bakersfield, beginning with the two tracks on the first 119 miles currently being built in the Central Valley
- Advancing design work for the extensions to Merced and Bakersfield
- Station development in Fresno and Kings/Tulare
- Purchasing six fully electric train sets capable of speeds in excess of 200mph
- Advancing the next phase of design for two segments into the Bay Area (Merced to San Jose and San Jose to San Francisco) and into Southern California (Bakersfield to Palmdale and Burbank to Los Angeles).
If awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, these grants will help California accelerate progress toward the opening of the nation’s first 220mph, electrified high-speed train system. They will also advance design on crucial segments in both Northern and Southern California that cleared the environmental process in the past year.
Thales equips three stations for Egyptian National Railways
EG: French company Thales has helped deliver three crucial stations for the Egyptian National Railways (ENR), the second-largest railway operator in Africa.
The stations include Tanta, Sedfa, and Al Ousayrat, which come under the rail corridor that spans from Alexandria to Aswan through Cairo.
Sedfa and Al Ousayrat are built to connect the towns of Asyut and Nagh Hammadi, while Tanta is located on the Cairo-Alexandria line.
Alexandria station is situated in the north of the Quesna-Alexandria section, while Farz Waborat and Cairo North are in the south of the Cairo-Benha section. The total length of the line is 207km.
For Tanta station, Thales built one main technical building and one secondary technical building.
The company also deployed 132 signals, 124 switch motors, 267 track circuits, and eight-level crossings at the station.
Thales constructed a new technical building as well as signalling and telecommunications systems for the Al Ousayrat station.
It also built three level crossings and 10km of track for the station. The line already has 63km of track.
For the Sedfa station, Thales constructed an additional 11km besides technical building, 44 signals, 74 track circuits, and two-level crossings.
Thales Spain transport director Fernando Ortega said: “We are very pleased to deliver three new stations to ENR. It is a source of pride for the entire Thales team who have been working for years on the modernisation of this line”
Thales’ electronic interlocking system (EIS) was used as a replacement for the existing mechanical signalling systems on three crucial lines of the Egyptian railway network.
Earlier this month, Thales won a contract to offer its technology for one of the sections of the Mediterranean Corridor.
Elizabeth line in London opens for passengers
UK: Crossrail and Transport for London in the UK have opened the £19bn Elizabeth line, following a 3.5-year delay and cost overruns.
Originally expected to entail an investment of £14.8bn, the project will reduce travel times between key underground stations.
The first trains departed from the new section of the railway, with services having commenced between Paddington and Abbey Wood.
With nine brand new stations in central London, the Elizabeth line services are available every five minutes.
The new railway line will ‘provide new journey options and support wider regeneration and recovery from the pandemic – creating jobs, business opportunities, and a huge economic boost for the country’.
Designed to connect London’s major employment centres, the line is expected to help enhance London’s rail capacity by 10%.
Alstom’s Class 345 Aventra trains operating on the Elizabeth line were constructed in Derby while roundels and signage for the line were delivered by a family-run business on the Isle of Wight.
Under the rolling stock and services provision contract, Alstom will also maintain the trains for the coming 32 years.
The Leeds-based company protected London’s Victorian sewer networks during construction.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “This brand new line is the most significant addition to our transport network in decades. It will add billions to our economy and is set to serve up to 200 million passengers each year.
“I’m sure passengers will enjoy the modern trains, beautiful step-free stations and the reduced journey times across the capital and the South East.”
The Elizabeth line was opened after receiving clearance from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), the economic and safety watchdog of the UK’s railways.
Siemens Mobility and DB gear up for transition to hydrogen trains
DE: Earlier this month, Siemens Mobility rolled out its Mireo plus H hyrdrogen train, throwing its hat into the ring of an increasingly crowded market for trains with alternative traction systems. Together with Deutsche Bahn it is also developing a dedicated hydrogen system for rail. Here’s where things stand.
Hydrogen trains, like mixed-operation pantograph plus battery units, are born from the desire and need to replace diesel-powered vehicles on lines across Europe that are not electrified.
“Electrification requires investment and time. Furthermore, sometimes is it simply not possible – either for practical or economical reasons – to build overhead lines, even in the long-term, Jochen Steinbauer, Platform Director H2 Technologies for Regional Trains at Siemens Mobility recently told RailTech.com. This means there are still around 15,000 diesel trains in operation in Europe today.
All about packaging
Speaking on the train itself, Steinbauer explained that the hydrogen unit rides on the proven Mireo platform, designed to accommodate different traction systems. Siemens Mobility also has a Mireo Plus B(attery). And while the Mireo H(ydrogen) might look conventional, it is anything but.
“In terms of innovation, the train features the HD8 next-generation fuel cell system with a higher power density and an increased efficiency rate”, Steinbauer says. “Our train is ‘only’ about 47 metres long yet we’ve been able to package everything. Also, all subsystems on the train have been harmonised, which should result in lower energy costs and lifecycle costs.”
On top of that, Siemens paid particular attention to the design of the pressure tanks, the piping and the gas handling-unit (GHU), among other things.
The result is a two-car train set that can cover a distance of at least 800 kilometres, which, according to Steinbauer is the typical daily distance covered by regional trains. “This range was a requirement from the market. It means that the trains can be used for an entire day without refuelling.” The three-car version has a range of 1,000 kilometres.
Optimised for operational purposes
However, a hydrogen train is only as green as the hydrogen you put in. For that reason, Siemens Mobility and Deutsche Bahn are working together as part of the H2goesRail project. The goal of this endeavour is to not only supply green hydrogen but also set up a fast refuelling system and maintenance infrastructure.
“DB wants to be climate neutral in 2040 and hydrogen trains as replacements for diesel-powered units fit with that target. H2goesRail prepares us for this transition”, Marc-Andre Sahba, lead project manager at Deutsche Bahn, says. “These three elements – trains, infrastructure and maintenance – are joined together in a system and that needs to be optimised for operational purposes.”
In a nutshell, DB is using its renewable power for electrolysis to produce green hydrogen directly on site, where it will also be compressed and stored. The storage unit and tank unit are designed in such a way that they can be transported by train or truck, as they have the size and shape of a regular twenty-foot equivalent unit.
Fast refuelling achieved
The centrepiece of it all, arguably, is the fast refuelling system. Siemens Mobility and DB claim refuelling can now be done at a rate similar to that of regular diesel trains. That is no small feat, as hydrogen has certain unusual properties. For example, hydrogen heats up as pressure drops. This means that the faster you refuel, the more it heats up.
“The rapid refuelling is achieved by an intelligent control and communications interface that keeps temperature and pressures within parameters to get an optimum refuelling process”, Sahba explains, adding that there needs to be some kind of standardisation for refuelling and a common language in terms of communication. After all, DB wants to open its refuelling infrastructure to train sets from other manufacturers as well.
Savings in operational costs to be had
Steinbauer, too, applauds the holistic approach of H2goesRail. “This represents an enormous step in reducing emission-free transportation. Over the lifetime of a Mireo plus H, using green hydrogen, it can result in savings of 45,000 tonnes of CO2 compared to dieseltrains. With CO2 pricing at around 55 euros per ton from 2025 onwards, this means that operators will save a lot of money in operational costs the course of the lifetime of the train.
Two separate testing programmes with the Mireo Plus H are planned for next year, one in Bavaria, the other in the state of Baden-Württemberg. DB will be involved as well in the latter programme. “We need to be ready from day one and that is why we want to be involved in testing of the train from day one”, Sahba explained.
From January 2024 onwards, the two trains will be entered into regular service. In Baden-Württemberg, the hydrogen train will scheduled to run for 120,000 kilometres.
DB wants home away from home on board future ICE trains
DE: Deutsche Bahn has unveiled the interior of the upcoming ICE 3neo long-distance trains. The new interiors are designed to be a home a way from home, ceo Richard Lutz said on Wednesday.
“Travel, work, relax and feel as comfortable as you would in your own living room at 300 kilometres per hour”, Lutz remarked. He hopes the new look and feel of the trains’ interiors will convince more people to switch to rail.
The first-class section will feature warm grey colours, whereas the interior the second-class cars will be mostly blue. Wood trimmings complement the interiors in both sections. The restaurant car sets itself apart through the use of burgundy.
Not all ICE 3neo long-distance trains will feature the newly designed interior. The first 16 trains sets to come off the assembly line still have the ‘old’ interior. Train number 17, scheduled for debut in December 2023, will be the first to gain the new look.
Alstom to design and build Israeli light rail system
IL: Israel’s Metropolitan Mass Transit System (NTA) has awarded Alstom and its partners the contract for the design, construction and maintenance of the Tel Aviv Metropolitan LRT Green Line.
Alstom’s contract scope, announced on Tuesday and valued at 858 million euros, also includes engineering work, the supply of the railway system including tracks and electrification, as well as signalling and communication. The company will also be supplying 98 two-car Citadis XO5 trams.
The so-called Green Line is one of two new light rail lines planned for Tel Aviv. It will have a length of more than 39 kilometres and will run partially underground. Of the 62 stations, four will be underground as well.
The Green Line project as a whole is valued at 2,6 billion euros. It is intended to reducing north-south commuting times by 14 percent on average. By 2030, the line is expected to move 76 million passengers on an annual basis.
Siemens Mobility CBTC technology used for Hong Kong’s East Rail Line extension
HK: The East Rail Line Cross-Harbour Extension in Hong Kong has successfully commenced passenger service with Siemens Mobility’s Communications-Based Train Control system (CBTC). This completes the automation of the 46km long East Rail Line connecting the Chinese Mainland border to the central business areas on Hong Kong Island and becomes the fourth railway line crossing Victoria Harbour. The Siemens Mobility digitalised signalling system helps provide passengers with the ability to reach the commercial, convention and financial hubs in the Wan Chai North and Admiralty areas in a faster, safer, and more seamless way.
“The opening of the East Rail Line Cross-Harbour Extension is a significant milestone for public transportation in Hong Kong, which provides the people of Hong Kong with a fourth cross-harbour rail connection,” Andre Rodenbeck, CEO of Rail Infrastructure at Siemens Mobility, said. “Our state-of-the-art signalling solutions will increase the reliability, availability, and efficiency of the entire 46km and 16 station East Rail Line. We have successfully implemented more than 40 CBTC systems across the world. This important project further underscores our leading position in the field of urban mobility.”
Siemens Mobility equipped CBTC at 16 stations on the East Rail Line, while also modernising and expanding the railway network by 6km and three additional stations. The radio-based technology enables real-time data to be captured on vehicle position and speed conditions. This allows the East Rail Line to safely accommodate an increased number of vehicles on the line at a greater frequency. Additionally, the upgraded digitalised system provides the ability to continuously receive updates on system status which improves operational efficiency, resulting in fewer delays and more up-to-date travel information.
Along the East Rail Line and its Cross-Harbour Extension, the Siemens Mobility solution Airlink has been installed for radio transmission, and automatic train supervision is realised through the operations control system. Electronic interlockings and Trainguard MT (TGMT) Wayside Control Units have been installed for efficient train control. Eventually, a total of 37 passenger trains and 22 locomotives will be equipped with Siemens TGMT On-Board Computer Units (OBCU).
The Siemens Mobility CBTC solution, Trainguard MT, is the most extensively deployed automatic train control system in the world and is used by many operators, including Paris, Beijing, New York, London, and Copenhagen.
Eighty trams for Gothenburg in Sweden will be modernized by the Skoda Group at its Ostrava plant
SE: Škoda Group has been awarded a major contract to repair 80 trams currently in service in Gothenburg, Sweden. The Swedish operator Västtrafik AB, which operates the trams, has awarded Škoda a contract for the revision and repair of trams of type designation M31. The work will take place at the Škoda Group’s production facility in Ostrava from this year until 2027. The total volume of the contract is almost € 80 million.
“The success in Sweden confirms our ability to succeed even in the most demanding markets, of which Scandinavia is certainly one. I believe that the renewed trams we will deliver to Gothenburg will serve to the satisfaction of both passenger and operators,” said Miroslav Mareš, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Škoda Ekova. “As a traditional repair and modernisation company for transport companies, we are able to offer our customers a high standard of quality. In recent years, we have also been expanding our competences and producing new trams and other products for the Group’s current and future customers,” added Miroslav Mareš.
“The modernization of the existing M31 tram fleet in Gothenburg, Sweden is of great importance for the entire Škoda Group. This project sets the ground for our future success as we aim to provide sustainable, long-lasting vehicle and service solutions to the Swedish market,” says Juha Vierros, President of Škoda Group North Region.
The current contract is following an earlier contract under which the Ostrava company worked on the same type of trams in the past. Between 2011 and 2017, it carried out the repair of 79 M31 trams for the operator in Gothenburg as Ekova Electric; at that time, it was mainly about revisions of tram carbodies and replacement of electrical equipment. In 2021, the company was integrated into the Škoda Group and subsequently changed its name to Škoda Ekova.
The current contract for the overhaul and modernization of eighty trams includes a wide range of modifications, such as a new door system, a ramp for one of the tram cars, a new braking system, as well as an air conditioning unit for the driver’s cab. Other tasks will include painting the cars, repairing the laminates, maintaining the carbody, refurbishing the electrical system, replacing the floors, modifying the interiors and driver’s cabs, adding new lighting, and revising the heating system.
Centre for rolling stock and digitalisation in Ostrava
Škoda Group, a member of the PPF Group, has been operating in the Moravian-Silesian Region as Škoda Ekova for a long time. The company’s major enterprise, which focuses primarily on the development and production of railway vehicles and tramways for customers all over the world, is based in Ostrava. This base has recently undergone major modernisation and expansion, which included the construction of a new modern paint shop, the establishment of the largest gantry machining centre in Europe, and the installation of automatic welding machines. The investments have increased the company’s capacity to produce and maintain significantly, while creating hundreds of new jobs. Also, the development center for SMART and digital technologies is located in Ostrava, which through its industry leading diagnostic tools and processes will be highly beneficial for the overhaul activities of the M31 tramway.
12.05.22 (Source Publisher: ŠKODA TRANSPORTATION a.s.)
Alstom to supply 130 double-deck regional trains
DE: The state of Baden-Württemberg has awarded Alstom a major contract for 130 double-deck trains for regional rail services. The value of the contract for the purchase and maintenance over 30 years is around EUR2.5 billion. The award procedure has been completed and the contract has been awarded to Alstom. Commissioning is scheduled to take place in December 2025 with the start of operation of “Stuttgart 21”. The Coradia Stream HCs are designed for 200 km/h. They are to be gradually deployed in the Stuttgart metropolitan area on the lines to Karlsruhe, Pforzheim, Heilbronn, Schwäbisch-Hall, Aalen, Friedrichshafen/Lindau and Tübingen, as well as Horb/Rottweil and the high-speed line from Stuttgart to Ulm. The four-unit vehicles each consist of two double-deck control cars and two single-deck railcars with a total of 380 seats. They have a length of 106 meters and can operate in quadruple traction. As part of the “Digital Stuttgart Node” project, the vehicles will be equipped with the then current version of ETCS L2. 10.05.22 (rwt)
Fornebubanen metro more expensive – financing unclear
NO: The construction of Oslo’s new metro line “Fornebubanen” will be even more expensive than was feared after the dramatic cost increases announced in February. Construction costs of NOK 26.8 billion (EUR 2.68 billion) are now considered possible. On top of that, the opening date planned for 2027 can no longer be met. The earliest date currently mentioned is June 2029. Oslo is therefore currently discussing several alternatives for financing the metro. These include an increase in the city toll, a slimming down of the project and greater involvement of the municipalities of Oslo and Bærum/Viken. There, commercial property owners along the route are to contribute to the construction costs with a levy. For example, the municipality of Akershus has already collected NOK 2 billion (EUR 200 million), while Oslo has collected only NOK 88 million (EUR 8.8 million). There is no legal basis for further revenue from these municipalities. Oslo City Councilor Sirin Stav (Green Party), who is responsible for the environment and public transport, is hoping for voluntary funding from the companies, especially since the revenue from the congestion charge is lower than expected. So far, NOK 2.9 billion (EUR 290 million) has already been invested in construction and contractual commitments for another NOK 1.4 billion (EUR 40 million) have been made. 11.05.22 (rb)
Systra-consortium secures certification contract in Singapore and Malaysia
SG: A consortium, including Systra, Minconsult, and Bureau Veritas Singapore, has received a ‘major’ independent certification contract in Singapore and Malaysia.
The Ministry of Transport, Malaysia (MY MOT) and the Land Transport Authority, Singapore (LTA) have selected the consortium as the Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) agent.
The consortium will work to ensure that the cross-border Johor Bahru – Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link is in line with safety regulations of both Johor and Singapore.
Designed to connect the city-state of Singapore to the Malaysian peninsula in the form of a cross-border metro-type shuttle, the Johor Bahru – Singapore RTS is expected to carry its first passengers by the end of 2026.
The consortium will evaluate and verify the design of testing, technical inspections, as well as all certification services to ensure the operational and technical safety of the Johor Bahru – Singapore RTS Link.
The audit is said to cover all phases ranging from design to commissioning, operation and maintenance, and all urban railway systems including automatic signalling, traction energy, rolling stock, and control centre.
With a total length of 4km, the Johor Bahru – Singapore RTS Link will have two terminal stations, including Bukit Chagar to Johor Bahru on the Malaysia side and Woodlands North on the Singapore side.
Singapore Railway System Engineering Centre head and RTS IV&V project director Frédéric Rouquette said: “Systra’s approach is part of a group-wide approach extending from Systra France to Asia-Pacific, combining in-depth technical expertise with mastery of the transversal disciplines essential to performance and operational safety, including Operation & Maintenance and Human Factors.”
Separately, Systra secured a £2m design contract for the Ebbw Vale Frequency Enhancement (EVFE) rail project in Wales, UK.
Under the one-year contract, Systra will provide civil and structural engineering, geotechnical, environmental and architectural services for the project. 11.05.22 (rwt)
Alstom hands over first semi high-speed train for India’s RRTS project
IN: French rolling stock manufacturer Alstom has delivered India’s first semi high-speed regional train for National Capital Region Transport Corporation’s (NCRTC) Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS Phase 1 project.
These aerodynamic fully air conditioned trains are anticipated to result in a 40% decrease in journey times between the 82.5km Delhi and Meerut route.
Among its features include 2×2 transverse seating, door status indicators, grab handles, and ergonomically designed areas to support specially abled people.
The trains are also equipped with CCTV cameras, intercom, fire extinguisher, exterior camera, fire and smoke detector, Wi-Fi, laptop/mobile/USB charging stations, dynamic route display maps, and auto controlled ambient lighting system.
This RRTS route is India’s first to incorporate the European Train Control System (ETCS) hybrid Level signalling system.
The trains were 100% made in Alstom’s factory in Savli, Gujarat, with the manufacturing process starting in July last year. This aligns with the Indian Government’s Make-in-India and Aatmanirbhar Bharat objectives.
The propulsion systems and electricals were made at Alstom’s Maneja factory in Gujarat.
In 2020, Alstom received a €436m contract to design, construct, and deliver 210 regional commuter and transit train cars. The contract also covered maintenance services for a 15-year period.
Besides, the company was tasked with designing, installing, delivering, trialling and commissioning signalling and train control, supervision, platform screen doors and telecommunication systems.
Alstom India managing director Alain SPOHR said: “The RRTS project is one of the most ambitious ventures in India’s mobility sector and will prove to be a game-changer in India’s regional rail segment.
“Our trains and ETCS Signalling systems will ensure safer and seamless intercity commute, benefitting millions of people and contributing towards socio-economic development. Delivering the first train within a year of commencing production reinstates Alstom’s commitment to revolutionise India’s rail networks.” 09.05.22 (rwt)
Siemens Mobility and Deutsche Bahn present new hydrogen train
DE: Deutsche Bahn (DB) and Siemens Mobility have premiered the newly developed Mireo Plus H, the next-generation hydrogen-powered train, and a newly designed mobile hydrogen storage trailer. The train and its new infrastructure are intended to replace diesel multiple-unit trains in commuter and regional transport and reduce rail-related CO2 emissions to zero.
The joint funding project is officially called “H2goesRail” and it is being funded as part of the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW GmbH) with €13.74 million by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV). The funding guideline is coordinated by NOW GmbH and implemented by project lead Jülich.
“In its coalition agreement, the federal government agreed to electrify 75 per cent of the country’s rail network by 2030,” Michael Theurer, Parliamentary State Secretary in the BMDV, said. “Here, alternative drives can help reduce emissions from diesel rail transport. This way, we’ll be able to operate virtually climate-neutral on rail routes where full electrification is not possible. The H2goesRail project will not only test the use of hydrogen for rail, but substantially advance the technology.”
“Only with a strong rail system and alternative types of drives will we be able to make a significant contribution to the fight against climate change, the Mireo Plus H enables climate-friendly and emission-free passenger transport,” Michael Peter, CEO of Siemens Mobility, said. “With the Mireo Plus H, we have developed the next generation of hydrogen-powered trains that offers a particularly long operating range and faster acceleration. Each delivered train can save up to 45,000 tonnes of CO2 over its service life of 30 years compared to corresponding travel with cars.”
“For Deutsche Bahn, hydrogen trains are an important component on our way to achieving climate neutrality,” Dr. Daniela Gerd tom Markotten, Member of the Management Board for Digitalisation and Technology at Deutsche Bahn, said. “Together with Siemens and the newly developed hydrogen train, we are creating an overall system which will take us another step towards phasing out diesel and enable the greening of the fleet.”
As a two-car train, the Mireo Plus H for the H2goesRail project has an operating range of up to 800 kilometres, is as powerful as its electric multiple-unit counterpart, has 1.7MW of traction power providing up to 1.1 m/s2 acceleration, and a top speed of 160 kilometres per hour. A three-car version has a range of up to 1,000 kilometres.
One key element needed to make hydrogen technology competitive with diesel fuel in daily operation is a fast-refuelling process. To provide this, DB has developed a new method that, for the first time, enables a hydrogen train to be refuelled as fast as a diesel-powered train. This is an especially important factor considering the closely timed scheduling of DB’s regional passenger service. The fast refuelling of hydrogen trains will make the technology competitive in daily operations.
Hydrogen trains have a particularly climate-friendly drive technology, since it operates emission-free with green hydrogen and emits only water vapor. In the H2goesRail project, for example, the hydrogen train will save around 330 tonnes of CO2 in one year on the Tübingen-Pforzheim route, compared to a diesel-powered train. In general, the Mireo Plus H can save 520 tonnes a year depending on the route profile (calculated on mileage of 200,000 kilometres).
The Mireo Plus H will start testing in Baden-Württemberg in 2023. During its planned passenger service in 2024, the hydrogen train for the H2goesRail project with Deutsche Bahn will provide regular passenger service between Tübingen, Horb and Pforzheim and replace a diesel train. 05.05.22 (grw)
New signalling system commissioned for Great Northern’s route to London
UK: A brand new, state-of-the-art signalling system has been commissioned which promises to bring Great Northern rail passengers much more reliable journeys on the route to Moorgate in the City of London. The digital equipment replaces outdated and ageing components dating back to the 1970s, including some that ran on compressed air, on the Northern City Line between Finsbury Park and Moorgate stations. After a bedding-in period, it is expected to significantly reduce the amount of delays a year caused by signal failures that have disrupted commuters and leisure travellers.
The work, part of the Government-funded East Coast Digital Programme, will ultimately see traditional signals removed from the tracks along this route. Drivers will instead be digitally signalled through screens inside their train cabs once the system testing and driver training period is complete. This change will further boost reliability and reduce delays, creating a more modern and reliable railway for passengers. The Northern City Line is expected to operate solely using digital signalling by 2024.
“The signalling on the Northern Line was a tried and tested, safe system but it had reached the end of its life and often failed, causing regular disruption,” Tom Moran, Managing Director for Thameslink and Great Northern, said. “Our customers would often find their services cancelled, delayed, or diverted into King’s Cross, a long way from where they wanted to go. This work by Network Rail, as part of the Government-funded East Coast Digital Programme, has brought the route firmly into the 21st century and should, after a bedding in period, greatly improve reliability.”
“This commissioning will deliver improved reliability for passengers and marks an important step forward in the wider East Coast Digital Programme that will transform the capability of a major intercity route,” Toufic Machnouk, Director, Industry Partnership for Digital Railway at Network Rail, said. “The deep partnership we have forged for the Northern City Line project is breaking the traditional boundaries in the way we work as an industry to deliver greater benefits for passengers.”
“This commissioning marks the start of a roll-out of modern train control technology that provides a far more efficient and reliable railway,” Mark Ferrer, Rail Infrastructure Operations Director for Siemens Mobility, said. “The partnership on the programme has enabled the train control partner to collaborate with other industry partners to efficiently define and develop the agreed scope and design to be able to deliver the engineering that led to the successful commissioning of this digital system.” 03.05.22 (grw)
Siemens Mobility to supply battery powered Mireo Plus B trains in Denmark
DK: Siemens Mobility has been awarded a contract to supply seven battery powered Mireo Plus B trains to the Midtjyske Jernbaner in Denmark. This is the first contract for battery powered rail in Denmark and is part of a pilot project to replace all diesel trainsets throughout the country. The Mireo Plus B combines all the benefits of the Mireo platform with a high-performance battery system that enables trains to operate on routes with or without overhead power lines thanks to their battery hybrid drive. The seven two-car electric trainsets will be delivered by the end of 2024 and are scheduled to operate on two lines in the Midtjylland region of Denmark.
“The battery trains are expected to enter service at the end of 2024,” Martha Vrist CEO of Midtjyske Jernbaner Drift A/S, said. “This is a crucial step in our own green transition, but also a significant step towards the goal of CO2-neutral train traffic throughout Denmark.”
“With the acquisition of the Mireo Plus B trains, Midtjyske Jernbaner replaces conventional diesel vehicles with state-of-the-art, and locally, completely emission-free trains,” Albrecht Neumann, CEO Rolling Stock at Siemens Mobility, said. “This will significantly contribute to the local area by offering a sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility option. We are delighted that Midtjyske Jernbaner has chosen the energy efficient Mireo Plus B trains from Siemens Mobility, which will also offer a high level of driving comfort and an improved passenger experience.”
The Mireo Plus B two-car trainsets can accommodate 120 seated passengers, travel up to 140 km/h and has a range of around 80 kilometres when in battery operation. The batteries can be charged via the 25kV overhead line in electrified sections and by recuperating the train’s braking energy. The battery system is mounted underfloor and is installed in two battery containers. Lithium-ion batteries with a long service life are used in this system.
This is the third order Siemens Mobility has received for the Mireo Plus B and the first outside of Germany. The Landesanstalt Schienenfahrzeuge Baden-Württemberg (SFBW) ordered 20 Mireo Plus B trains in 2020 and Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn (NEB) ordered 31 in 2021. This technology has been extensively tested for over one year through a preliminary version on a prototype train, the Desiro ML ÖBB Cityjet eco in Austria. 04.05.22 (grw)
Russian forces attack six railway stations in Ukraine
UA: Russian troops have attacked six railway stations in the Central and Western parts of Ukraine, according to Ukrainian Railways head Oleksandr Kamyshin.
Missile shelling by Russian forces has delayed 14 trains.
In a statement on his Telegram channel, Kamyshin stated: “According to operational information, there are no casualties among the railway workers and passengers.
“The damage to the infrastructure is severe, we will clarify the details after the end of the air raid.”
The Russian forces shelled various Ukrainian regions, including Kyiv, Lviv, Vinnytsia, Transcarpathian, and Kirovohrad.
According to Russia’s defence ministry, these railway stations are used for the supply of Western-made weapons for Ukrainian forces in the eastern part of the country.
The ministry did not specify which weapons the stations supplied to Ukrainian troops.
High-precision air and sea-based weapons were used to disable the railway stations.
Financial Times quoted Ukraine’s centre for strategic communications on a Facebook as saying: “Russia is hitting at our railways to disrupt military assistance supplies.”
The railway infrastructure in Ukraine has faced multiple attacks since Russia’s Ukraine offensive.
Last month, a missile strike on an eastern Ukrainian railway station led to a death toll of at least 39 and wounded 87 people, as per Ukrainian authorities.
During the same month, Ukrainian Railways reported many casualties in a rockets strike on an eastern Ukrainian railway station. 03.05.22 (grw)