The “Europe Train” test train, which has been travelling across Europe since December 2010 to test low-noise brakes – equipped with composite “LL” brake blocks” – before it goes into series production to retrofit the existing European freight wagon fleet, has completed its 15th run in Italy with a passage through Switzerland. The previous run in June involved 12,000 km of successful operation in France.
“Europe Train” is a project managed by UIC on behalf of the international railway community. To date, 29 railway companies, four industry suppliers and the sector organisations UIC, CER and EIM have signed the resolution for the preparation of “Europe Train”. This UIC project is managed by Mr Johannes Gräber from Deutsche Bahn.
After the train left the DB Systemtechnik test centre in Minden on 6 July 2012, it passed through the Rhine Valley on its way down to Basel.
Thanks to the great effort of our colleagues in Switzerland and Mr Knörr from DB Schenker Rail, the passage through Switzerland was made possible on 7 July despite the recent difficulties on the St. Gotthard route. The handover to FS Cargo took place as planned on the same day in Chiasso and the train arrived punctually in Milan later that evening.
In Italy the train shuttled seven times from Milan, its temporary home base, down to Bari to operate the brakes under extreme hot weather conditions with temperatures up to 40°C. Despite having to forego the third cycle due to an accident blocking the route, the seventh shuttle was achieved at the end of the stay in Italy thanks to the great efforts of the Italian colleagues. After this last return from Bari, the tour back to Minden started on Saturday 4 August. The train passed through Switzerland in the afternoon and the evening. On 5 August the train began its direct journey to Minden, where it arrived at the test centre later that day.
Directly after the return, the measurements of wheels and brake blocks were taken as usual on 6 August. Before the next run, the EuropeTrain’s International Analysis Team (IAT) will discuss the results again, define further activities and in particular decide which wagons will participate in the next run. While the 16th and final run of the EuropeTrain is not yet confirmed, the train will probably travel to Austria and Hungary, starting end of August.
Pictures and current information on the EuropeTrain project can be found under http://EuropeTrain.uic.org.