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Image Courtesy of Alstom
Alstom has been granted by the French Public Rail Safety organisation (EPSF) the Authorisation for Commercial Use (AMEC) for its Rgiolis, the latest generation of regional train from the Coradia range. This approval, involving Eurailtest, Certifer, RFF, and the SNCF, covers all the Rgiolis trains ordered so far by the 12 regions concerned, regardless of configuration. An important milestone, this authorisation opens the way for the trains to enter operational service from 22 April.
To obtain this authorisation, 10 pre-series Rgiolis train sets covered 350,000 km during a total of 1,400 test days, involving up to 200 people from 20 different organisations (Alstom sites, suppliers, test centres, railway test agencies, etc.). Around 50 specialist Alstom engineers and technicians were needed to successfully complete these tests and respond to the 10,000 French and European requirements before the Rgiolis could travel safely on the national rail network. The Rgiolis project has involved more than 4,000 people in France.
In total, 12 French regions have chosen the Rgiolis to deal with the increase in traffic on their network. The first train sets are expected to enter service during April 2014 in the Aquitaine, Lorraine, Alsace and Picardy regions.
In order to successfully complete these tests, Alstom has invested nearly 17 million in the development and set-up of the Railway Test Centre (CEF) in Bar-le-Duc, on a site leased from the RFF for a 15-year period. This investment has been used to fit out a test track for trials to be run at up to 160 km/h, suitable for certification of the trains’ principal functions: acceleration and braking, noise levels and electromagnetic compatibility. Alstom has also invested 40 million over the last few years in adapting the industrial facilities at the Reichshoffen site to the needs of Rgiolis production.
The only generation of trains to have a low floor throughout and to integrate bi-modal drive systems (diesel-electric dual-voltage 1,500 V or 25 kV), the Rgiolis gives passengers a whole new experience of travelling on regional trains. Without a single step, it is fully accessible to people with reduced mobility and passengers in wheelchairs, respecting the latest TSI standards for accessibility. The spacious passenger carriages provide the highest possible levels of comfort, particularly in terms of acoustics (reduced noise and vibration). The carriages are light and airy, with re-designed seats and electrical power outlets, providing total visibility from inside or outside the train. The on-board information system and its LCD screens in each car broadcast information continuously, ensuring the passengers can enjoy a peaceful, stress-free journey.
The Rgiolis’ bi-modal power supply system reduces the train’s environmental impact, aligning its operating mode to existing infrastructure on both electrified and non-electrified lines. This means operators can reduce the energy consumption of their fleet as well as its CO2 emissions. In addition, the reduction in weight and the use of permanent magnet motors provide 30% more power than previous generations, as well as providing energy savings of up to 20% over existing trains. Maintenance work has been optimised through the use of proven components and the TrainTracer software, providing a real-time monitoring service and thus improving the availability of each train set. Rgiolis complies with all ERTMS interoperability standards and can thus travel from France into Germany and Switzerland using an additional supply voltage (15 kV).
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