Sun Dec 18th, 2011 at 10:30:23 AM EST
Some European high-speed rail news this time.
Railway Gazette: CAF tests prototype Oaris high speed train
SPAIN: A four-car prototype of CAF's Oaris high speed train is undergoing trials on the Madrid - Sevilla route, where testing will include operation at up to 352 km/h. Numbered No 105 001 by RENFE, at the manufacturer's suggestion the prototype was delivered in place of the last of an order for Class 120 trainsets.
It's not just Chinese and Korean manufacturers that try to compete with traditional rail technology majors. CAF, a company based in Beasain, Basque Country, is one of Spain's two passenger rail vehicle manufacturers (the other being Talgo). Just recently, it entered the German market as DB chose it alongside Alstom and Stadler (another up-and-comer from Switzerland) for a framework agreement about 400 new regional electric multiple units.
CAF's Oaris (which I mentioned here) is another part of this effort. CAF entered the high-speed market as local partner for Alstom to make 250 km/h trains (the Class 120), then owned the technology, then evolved the design into this 320 km/h train. In another similarity with China, the effort was helped by a government-funded research project.
It is also noteworthy that this is a "nothing fancy" design: no low floors, no articulation, no special nose shape, just the essentials.
Railway Gazette: LGV Rhin-Rhône opens
FRANCE: The first section of LGV Rhin-Rhône entered service with the timetable change on December 11...
...Funding agreements are now expected to be signed next year for the 1bn required to build the extensions from Villiers-les-Pots to Genlis (15 km) and from Petit-Croix to Lutterbach (35 km), completing the 190 km eastern branch of LGV Rhin-Rhône between Dijon and Mulhouse. This would allow tendering to get underway in 2013 for work to start in 2014.
The launch of TGV Rhin-Rhône, the move to regular-interval services (RG 4.11 p52) and the need to accommodate RFF's major track renewals programme saw 85% of SNCF train timings modified with the December 11 timetable change...
The LGV Rhin–Rhône was covered in The EU's emerging high-speed networkS. The line will also carry direct Frankfurt–Marseille trains from next year (see here). As for regular-interval services: this is a sea change in France (where I suffered from irregular interval timetables myself); but it is still not for all of France, and SNCF habitually coupled it with a further thinning out of rural stops.
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|NBS Erfurt - Ebensfeld: Tunneldurchschlag am Silberberg- Nachrichten bei Eurailpress|| Erfurt - Ebensfeld HSR: Silberberg tunnel breakthrough - News at Eurailpress |
|Am 29.11.2011 wurde nach zweijähriger Bauzeit der Durchschlag des Tunnels Silberberg im Thüringer Wald gefeiert.||On 29/11/2011, of the breakthrough of the tunnel Silberberg in the Thuringian Forest was celebrated after two years of construction.|
| Der 7391 m lange Tunnel ist nach dem bereits durchschlagenen Tunnel Bleßberg mit 8314 m das zweitlängste Tunnelbauwerk im Projekt VDE8 Nürnberg - Berlin.||The 7391 m long tunnel is the second longest after the already holed-through Bleßberg tunnel (8314 m) along the VDE8 [8th Reunification Traffic Project] between Nuremberg and Berlin.|
Due to low grades necessitated by Germany's original and misguided concept of running freight trains on high-speed lines, most of this line is a chain of tunnels and viaducts. The result is high costs, thus it is no wonder it began construction in the nineties but was aborted mid-way and re-started more recently (for more see The EU's emerging high-speed networkS again). There were local conflicts, too: the construction this tunnel in particular, which was dug with the drill-and-blast method, disturbed inhabitants of a village above. Now the project is closer to completion: a week after the Silberberg tunnel, two more tunnels were holed through, leaving four of the 25 on the line still to be finished; and the tender for the slab track was announced.
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Railway Gazette: Polish high speed rail project cancelled
The EU is Poland's main source of funding for rail projects, but the country had been told it could only count on support of around 30bn zloty in 2014-20. This left the ministry with a choice between one megaproject or upgrading existing lines, which are a deteriorated state and lag behind western European standards. As a result, Nowak decided to freeze all work on the high speed project until 2030.
...Despite cancellation of the dedicated high speed line, Poland may start regular 200 km/h passenger operation on the Central Trunk Line between Warszawa and Katowice in 2013, with speeds increasing to 220 km/h when the first Alstom Pendolinos are delivered in 2014. In the longer term conversion of the 3 kV DC electrification to 25 kV 50 Hz AC is planned, allowing Pendolinos to reach 250 km/h.
Even this much is noteworthy from a neoliberal government. But I note much more money is poured into highway projects.
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