Following the agreement to apply the European Technical Specifications for Interoperability to freight trains travelling through the Channel Tunnel, tests were carried out overnight on 25-26 January 2013 with a latest generation Siemens Vectron locomotive. The Vectron is the first locomotive to gain certification under TSI, HS and RST in Europe. It is therefore capable of hauling traffic directly from the continent to the UK. The tests were to prove its compatibility with the systems and safety rules in the
For the test, the Vectron loco, in standard configuration and hauling wagons with a total weight of 1,350 tonnes, entered the Tunnel via the French portal at 22:42 and completed a series of traction, braking and pantograph tests. Equipped with four axles, instead of the six on the Class 92, which is currently used in the Tunnel, the Vectron exited at Folkestone before setting back to France for a second phase
of tests, which was completed without difficulty around 06:00 am.
This series of tests is in line with Eurotunnel’s ambition to encourage the development of “normal” rail freight between the UK and continental Europe, that is to say without the need to use the very specific Class 92 locomotives.
The successful tests, which are a further stage in the story of the Vectron, demonstrate how Siemens has been able to react to the requirements of interoperability with its new generation of ERTMS compatible locomotives, and is evidence of the role Eurotunnel is playing in the development of rail in Europe.
Michel Boudoussier, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Groupe Eurotunnel SA, stated: “The approval of new rolling stock is the vital counterpart to the open access model put in place by Eurotunnel. I am delighted that our cooperation with Siemens will open the way to new international rail freight flows, which will in turn, significantly reduce C0² emissions”.