On 11 February, Europe Train returned to Minden after 2 weeks and approximately 13 000 km of operation without any trouble or irregularities on the German Loop. On its way, the train travelled 10 times via Cologne and the Rhine valley down to Freiburg and back to Minden via Frankfurt, Giessen, Kassel and Hannover.
Measurements of the wheels and brake blocks are currently being taken. At the beginning of next week the EuropeTrain’s International Analysis Team (IAT) will discuss the results and define further activities, especially regarding the wagons that will participate in the next run. This will be a French Loop, probably starting on 25 February via the Netherlands and Belgium.
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 German/Rhine Valley loop (summer flat loop)
- Loop 2a French 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.
For further information on the EuropeTrain project please consult the Europe Train website: http://europetrain.uic.org