24 railways and the sector organisations CER, EIM and UIC signed the “Joint Resolution of the Chairmen of the European Rail Operators on “EuropeTrain” on September 5th 2009 to speed up and improve LL brake block testing in operations. The project shows the clear will of the sector to support a successful development of LL brake blocks as a means for cost-effective noise reduction at the source. Meanwhile 29 railways and a couple of industry partners support the project.
Just on time at 8:25 o’clock, the EuropeTrain left Minden the morning of December, 6th towards Maschen (near Hamburg) and further to Padborg (Danish border), where it arrived in the evening. From there, the train will set off for the first run of the Scandinavian-Loop. So a first, very important step is done for a successful project.
The project EuropeTrain will serve as a tool to speed up the solution of the open points in the homologation of LL-blocks, which are the “Study on Equivalent Conicity” and too limited insights in LCC. The train consists of about 30 wagons and will run throughout Europe only for the in-service testing of LL brake blocks. The central aim of the project is to validate wheel wear, wheel profile evolution and solutions for equivalent conicity, in order to be able to homologate LL-blocks in 2012.
The in-service test will last more than a year, taking into account all climatic seasons. All operational conditions relevant for Europe have to be covered in a balanced way, e.g. running on different gradients with different operational modes, arctic winter areas and high temperature zones. This will be achieved by the definition of five different loops (ca. 12.500 km each), specifically dedicated to certain conditions, always starting and ending at one central point (Minden, Germany) for regularly measurements, inspections and possibly maintenance:
Loop 1 Scandinavian loop (winter flat loop)
Loop 2 France loop (summer flat loop)
Loop 2a German / Rhine valley loop (summer flat loop)
Loop 3 Transalpine loop (winter and summer conditions)
Loop 4 Eastern loop
Loop 5 Italian loop (summer mix loop)
In sum a mileage of approx. 200.000 km will be achieved for sufficient results, so each loop will have to be run several times.
To guarantee a high return of results compared to the considerable effort necessary for the realization of this project, the project focuses on solutions for s-wagons and for already pre-homologated products.
As an overall result it is expected to have a recommendation for the use of the already existing, pre-homologated LL blocks for s-wagons as a basis for economically feasible retrofitting of the majority of the existing wagons.
As already laid out in the Berlin resolution, the contributions of the Railways will be mainly “in kind” in form of free track access, free traction, free wagon provision and free manpower for project management, measurements and analysis. Industry partners support the project by free delivery of brake blocks, free provision of steel coils for the loading of some wagons and with some considerable cash contributions.