IRJ - May 2012 - (Page 8)
Traxx operators caught in Dutch-German ETCS dispute
Quintus Vosman Regional editor
OMBARDIER Traxx foursystem electric locomotives equipped with ETCS Level 2 onboard signalling equipment have been banned from operating between Germany and the Netherlands because the German Federal Railway Authority (EBA) and the railway department of the Dutch Environmental and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) have failed to synchronise their authorisation procedures. Currently 60 Traxx electric locomotives are approved for operations between Germany and the Netherlands, including access to the freightonly Betuweroute, which requires ETCS. ILT says it is not satisfied with the level of performance of the present version of the ETCS software, and wants the locomotives to be upgraded to the latest 2.3.0d version. For the last year, the present Traxx software (version SW6) has been authorised only under a temporary ‘declaration of no objection,’ which has already been extended several times. ILT says it is not willing to allow a further extension and SW6 was banned from March 31.
Meanwhile Bombardier has developed a new software version (SW7), which is compliant with the new ETCS 2.3.0d baseline. Implementing the new version ensures the locomotives meet ILT’s requirements and allow operation across the Dutch railway network, including the Betuweroute and Rotterdam port line, with full ETCS Level 1 and Level 2 coverage. However, EBA has not
approved SW7 for use in Germany, and wants the new software to include additional features such as control of the brakes and checks on cracks. This effectively prohibits crossborder operation between the two countries. In a recent crisis meeting between the Dutch Ministry of Transport, locomotive leasing companies and operators, a compromise was reached which will allow Traxx locomotives equipped
with the new software to operate as far as Emmerich on the German side of the border. This is based on an interim authorisation by EBA, which does not see any particular risk in the locomotives operating on the short section from the Dutch border. This will allow operators to continue using Traxx locomotives on the Betuweroute with a locomotive change at Emmerich.
France approves route for TGV Sud-Europ Atlantique extensions
CN to acquire 161 locomotives
HE French Ministry of Transport has approved the route for two new highspeed lines totalling 417km that will serve the southwest of the country. The lines will extend the Sud-Europ Atlantique high-speed line, currently under construction between Tours and Bordeaux, southeast to Toulouse and south to Hendaye on the Spanish border. Together with the existing TGV Atlantique line, this will create a continuous high-speed artery from Paris to Toulouse and northeast Spain. Existing lines southeast of Bordeaux and north of Toulouse will be upgraded to allow regional
trains to use the new line between the two cities. The decision allows French Rail Network (RFF) to launch a public enquiry into the project, which is planned for the middle of next year, with a view to achieving a declaration of public utility by the end of 2014. The announcement validates proposals put forward on January 9 by a steering committee following what RFF describes as an innovative dialogue and studies undertaken during the last four years. More than 40% of the route for the new lines was realigned to meet local concerns.
ANADIAN National (CN) has announced plans to acquire 65 new high-power diesel locomotives, and 96 second-hand units which will be upgraded. CN is splitting the new locomotive order in two, with GE Transportation due to deliver 35 ES44AC 3.28MW locomotives in 2013-14, while EMD will supply 30 3.2MW SD70ACe locomotives. The new locomotives will be equipped with GE distributed power technology, and CN expects 50% of its high-power locomotive fleet will have distributed power by the end of 2013. These are the first ac locomotives to join the CN fleet, and will be used on
heavy-haul coal trains in British Columbia and Alberta. The additional locomotives will help CN to accommodate projected traffic growth and reduce fuel consumption by allowing the retirement of older, high-maintenance units and the cascading of lessefficient mainline units into less-demanding yard and local shunting operations. CN is turning to the two suppliers for its second-hand purchases as well, with plans to secure 42 GE Dash 8-40C locomotives and 11 leased GE Dash 8-40C locomotives, both offering 2.98MW, and 43 EMD SD60, 2.83MW locomotives. The dc traction locomotives will be upgraded to CN specifications.
IRJ May 2012
If you would like to try to load the digital publication without using Flash Player detection, please click here.