After a successfully concluded first run of EuropeTrain on the “Scandinavian Loop” (shuttling between Gävle in the middle of Sweden and Kiruna, Gällivare and Boden in the North), the EuropeTrain returned to Minden, after four weeks and approximately 13,500 km of operations.
Three weeks of intensive activities followed at the DB Systemtechnik test centre. During these weeks, measurements of wheels and brake blocks were performed, results were analysed and evaluated by EuropeTrain’s International Analysis Team (IAT). The loading has been changed according to the advice of the experts and additional equipment for the continuous measurements has been now installed on four wagons.
On 27 January the train departed again from Minden for the German Loop. The train will run approximately 10 times from Minden via Cologne and the Rhine Valley down to Freiburg. Due to heavy traffic load on the Rhine Valley line, the return path will lead back via Frankfurt, Giessen, Kassel and Hannover to Minden. Meanwhile the train is on its 4th cycle down to Freiburg.
The project EuropeTrain serves as a tool to help resolve open issues more quickly in the homologation of LL-blocks, namely the “Study on Equivalent Conicity” and 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 (c. 12,500 km each), specifically dedicated to certain conditions, always starting and ending at one central point (Minden, Germany) for regular measurements, inspections and possibly maintenance: Loop 1 Scandinavian loop (winter flat loop); Loop 2 French 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).
All in all, a mileage of around 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 undertaking of this project, the project focuses on solutions for s-wagons and for already pre-homologated brake block products.
The overall expected result is to have a recommendation for the use of the already existing, pre-homologated LL blocks for s-wagons as a basis for the economically feasible retrofitting of the majority of existing wagons.