High-speed railway system in Europe




















November 24 1999 saw the inauguration of the new, dedicated high-speed rail link between Stockholm Central railway station and the city’s main airport, at Arlanda. The airport is at a competitive disadvantage over other major city air terminals, as it is 42 kilometres (26 miles) from the city centre.

A 1989 study questioned the viability of such a link, so, as a stop-gap, the line from Ulriksdal to Rosersborg was widened from ttwo to four tracks.


In 1993, tenders were called for a new public-private venture line from Rosersborg, over Arlanda, and back to the main line at Odensala. A consortium of Swedish construction companies NCC and Siab, power utility Vattenfall, and BBritish companies Mowlem and GEC Alsthom, formed a ‘finance, build and operate’ company A-Train AB.

The original city-airport journey time target was 20 min, with trains running every 15 min between 0600 and 1930 each weekday. The Arlanda Link Consortium started work in 1995, and the summer 1999 completion date was delayed to allow stringent reliability and punctuality targets to be met. A-Train then transferred the entire system to the Swedish state for lease back to the operator.


The Arlanda link comprises 20 kilometres of double-track railway, three stations, all underground, and seven kilometres of tunnels. The airport has two stations used by the dedicated link service, Sodra, serving terminals 2, 3 and 4, Norra, linked to terminal 5 and Sky CCity, the commercial complex. A third station is used by inter-city and regional trains and Stockholm commuter services.

Automatic ticket machines are installed.

The airport stations are built in 22 metre deep rock caverns, and the line has about 20 bridges, tunnels and portals. John Mowlem installed 39 kilometres of track, including 29 turnouts and crossovers. Airport trains use platform 1 at Stockholm Central.


Services are operated by seven dedicated four-car electric units built by Alstom, capable of 200 km/h. TTheir bodyshells were built in Barcelona, Spain, and bogies in France, with final assembly at Washwood Heath, Birmingham, UK.

Trains are maintained a new purpose-built depot.

Each vehicle is 93 metres long, with 190 seats, and substantial luggage space. Power comes from Alstom’s Onix dedicated traction system, and there is regenerative, disc and track braking. The testing cycle involved 130,000 kilometres of running, and 1,150 round trips, designed to ensure the target availability of 98% or better was achieved.


Each train is fitted with automatic train protection and a driver-operated radio system, supplied by Adtranz under contract to Alstom. Three interlocking computers oversee the main communications system.

Train departure display systems at Stockholm Central and airport stations, supplied by Adtranz, are controlled centrally. German company Alcatel supplied an on-board radio system compatible with other rail operators, and a separate system for use with emergency services. The line also has automatic fare collection and ticketing equipment.


On opening, a 20-minute interval service was instituted, running at 160kmh, although there is capacity to shorten journey times from 19 to 15 min.

A-Train will receive all proceeds from fares for the remainder of its license term, until 2040.AVE SPAIN HIGH-SPEED RAIL NETWORK, SPAIN

The Spanish ggovernment has allocated €41 billion for the construction of new rail infrastructure before 2007 and intends that all provincial cities will be less than four hours travelling time from Madrid, and six and a half hours from Barcelona.

This has led to an ambitious target of 7,200km (4,500 miles) of high-speed (350km/h) railway along five main corridors. Only 725km of this total was complete by early 2003, although another 1,146km was under construction, with 1,182km in design, 920km in planning and 3,227km in consultation.

The choice of Seville to host the world Expo in 1992 prompted its choice as the destination for the first high-speed line, a 417km (259-mile) link from the capital, Madrid. Journey times are being cut from six hours to two and a half.

Since opening, the Madrid-Sevilla AVE has been a great success with high loadings on both dedicated TGV-style trains and the locomotive-hauled Talgo services which can operate to destinations away from the standard gauge AVE line by using gauge changers to alter the width of the wheels to and from the Iberian standard 5ft 6in (1,668mm) gauge.


The near-perfect upgrading between Madrid and Seville has paved the way for other major trunk routes aacross Spain, and amongst the first is a 1,079km ‘gateway to the south’ network to connect the cities of Malaga, Granada, Cadiz, Algeciras, Huelva and Jaen. The route has been divided into 22 civil engineering contracts, the first to be let covering the Cordoba-Malaga section.

Approval has also been given for the construction of a new 25km high-speed line from Madrid to Toledo.

The 651km (400-mile) corridor between Madrid, Barcelona and on to the French border near Perpignan has been a prime target for modification / expansion because 5.6 million passengers are expected to be attracted to its services.

The first 482km stage between Madrid, Zaragoza and Lleida was expected to open in spring 2004 but has been running late because of technical problems.

The final 45.5km (28-mile) link to the French border is another challenge because an 8.1km (5-mile) tunnel is required through the Pyrenees and the cost, up to €900 million will be recouped over 50 years through Spain’s first-ever private franchise operation. INFRASTRUCTURE

The task of co-ordinating and overseeing work on the AVE network has been vested in a specially created arm of state rail operator RENFE. Gestor de Infrasestructuras Ferroviarias (GIF) also awarded various construction contracts, laying

down specifications identical to the Madrid-Valencia line. These include electrification at 25kV, 50Hz using alternating current and a minimum curve radius of 4,000m. Track is 60kg/m steel rail mounted on concrete sleepers. Much of the route to Seville runs over the trackbed of the former 1,668mm gauge line between Madrid and Badajoz, remodelled for the higher speeds. The 119km (74 miles) between Braztortas and Cordoba is a completely new line through the Sierra Morena mountains. The final 127km (79 miles) ffrom Cordoba to Santa Justa station, Seville, runs parallel to existing alignments.


AVE trainsets bear a close family resemblance to the French TGV and German ICE. For the Madrid-Barcelona line, two contracts with a total value of €741 million were equally divided between Talgo/Bombardier and Siemens consortia for a total of 32 train sets capable of 350km/h (220mph) by 2004.

With intense competition from airlines, the trains offer high quality facilities including segregated areas for mobile phone users and aat-seat headphones offering music, TV and film channels.

The Talgo 350 trains follow the design of the successful 2001 prototype and are in 12-car formations with 318 first class and Turista (standard) seats and a bar/buffet. The builder has also ssecured a 14-year maintenance sharing contract.

The Siemens eight-car Velaro E train seats 404 passengers and is a re-worked German ICE-3. The company will supply the .electrical components with the rest shared between RENFE, CAF and Alstom. A new traction and braking system is required for the steep gradients seen in Spain.


German technology is at the heart of the operational control system. A cab signalling system is coupled with a continuous speed control facility. Siemens has supplied an ISDN communications system, which transmits speech, data, text and images. This proved such a success on the Madrid-Seville route that it was adopted as standard for subsequent routes to Barcelona and Narbonne across the French border.

In early 2003, tthe Madrid-Barcelona line hit problems when the high-tech ERTMS cab-to-track signalling system failed under trial, applying the brakes for no apparent reason. It was soon discovered that the sub-stations were inadequate. A 30km section of track at Zaragoza may also have to be relaid after subsidence.

Because of its use of existing lines, conventional signalling has been retained between Barcelona, Valencia and Alicante.


Under serious investigation is a new line to connect Madrid, via Castilla la Mancha, with Valencia, AAlicante, Casrtellon and Murcia. €205 million will be required for 22km (14 miles) of new four-track alignment in the Valencia, with broad gauge rails for freight.

The AVE line will also integrate with the Mediterranean corridor from Tarragona to Almeria, which is operated by Alstom-designed Euromed trains and Talgo high-speed trains. This will also connect, at lower speed, with Alicante.

In the medium-term, Madrid will also be connected to the north and north-east of the country by means of 2,330km (1,450 miles) of new line and the EU has already offered its backing. Civil contracts worth €1.42 billion have been let for three sections, Olmedo-Matapozuelos, Matapozuelos-Valdestillas and Rio Adaja-Medina del Campo.

The Basque area government has also prepared a €3.6 billion plan for a long-distance ‘Y’ network to connect the provincial capitals of Bilbao, San Senbastian and Vitoria with the rest of Spain and France (Dax). Before trains can run, 75 tunnels and 35 viaducts will need to be built and work has been sanctioned for the initial €1 billion section, the 50km (30 miles) between La Robia and Pola de Lena. Half of it will be in tunnel under the Pass of Pajares.

In 2002, the Spanish and Portuguese ggovernments agreed to pursue a high-speed link between the capitals of Madrid and Lisbon.EUROSTAR ITALIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL NETWORK, ITALY

The Italian government is committed to spending €28.8 billion to construct a network of high-speed lines that could reach 1,000km (625 miles) by 2008. The introduction of the latest generation of high-speed trains, the ETR500, heralded a complete re-branding of the country’s high-speed network in an effort to reflect its integration into the wider European rail system. With the introduction of the 60 new trains, the routes on which they operated were relaunched as ‘Eurostar Italia’.


A major feature of the scheme is to upgrade the existing high-speed Rome-Florence line, known as the Direttissima. Major expansion will also be undertaken on the Milan / Naples, Turin-Milan-Venice and Genoa-Po Valley via Terzo Valico routes.

The 252km (157-mile) Rome-Florence line was the first high-speed line in Europe when it opened in 1978 and requires heavy upgrading to raise speeds to 300km/h (185mph). When complete it will link with the Florence-Bologna line by means of a new tunnel under Florence.

Work was completed in 1999 on 25km (16 miles) of new construction to improve the 204km (127-mile) Naples-Rome route, which needs new connections at FForsinono and Cassino. There are some problems on the approach to Naples because of archaeological finds.

Although the alignment for the new 79km (49-mile) Florence-Bologna line was agreed in 1995, it will be 2007 before work is complete and all but 5km (3 miles) will be in tunnel through the Apennine mountains. Journey times will be cut in half.

The 182km (113-mile) Bologna-Milan route is one of the most congested in Europe and €6.1 billion investment will increase route capacity by 88% and reduce end to end journey times to one hour.

Reconstructing the 127km (79-mile) Turin-Milan line to virtually double capacity has hit controversy because of the route chosen. New works begin at Certosa, 9km (6 miles) from the centre of Milan, and run to Settiimo Torinese. Connections with existing lines will be provided at Novara, reaching Malpensa Airport in time for the 2006 Winter Olympics.

The final choice of route from Milan to Venice (212km / 132 miles) is still under discussion. It will start at Melzo, 20km (12 miles) from Milan Central station, and join the FS system at Verona. The route to Venice was approved in March 2000 but has still to be ratified by


Finally, by 2010, a new line from Milan to Genoa is planned, requiring a 1.6km (1 mile) tunnel through the mountains to link the Port of Genoa to the existing rail system.

In addition to Government finding support, some 70% of additional money will be needed for the projects to reach fruition. This will be coming from EIB, Merrill Lynch, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and West Deutsche Landesbank.


In a heavily populated country it is recognised that gaining approval tto build new lines and integrate them with others requires 15 years of planning and negotiation. Heavy investment is required for civil works (viaducts and tunnels), track modifications, signalling, telecommns and strengthened power supplies.

Extensive effort has gone into minimising the environmental impacts of its work. Before starting work, an evaluation of environmental impact was carried out along all the route corridors and its findings and recommendations have been strictly adhered to during construction.


An ongoing construction programme is pplanned to meet the expansion of the network.

The first generation of new rolling stock was the ETR450 Pendolino, built by Fiat Ferroviaria. However, the latest derivative, the ETR500 non-tilting variant, has been designed and built by Gruppo Ferroviario Breda aat its factory in Pistoia.

The first ETR450 entered service in May 1988 on routes radiating from Rome. These trains have two power cars with four first- and five second-class trailers, offering 386 seats. As of 2000, there have been 15 sets in service.

The later ETR460/480 trains were the first to .offer restaurant facilities in a tilting train. 20 of these nine-car trains are in service, each seating 480 passengers and capable of speeds up to 250km/h (155mph).

The ETR500 is a 13-vehicle unit seating 590 passengers. Introduced in 1996, this is capable of 300km/h (185mph). More than half of the 60-strong fleet entered squadron service during 2000. These trains offer at-seat meals, business and family coaches, full air-conditioning aand a fully depressurised cabin.


The ETR500s are fitted with automatic train control and protection systems. However, the ETR460 and 480 trainsets run on conventional absolute block signalling, with in-cab warning system. It is planned that the Naples-Rome line will use signalling to the highest specification, Level 2 ERTMS.

The traincrew are in constant contact with control centre staff and there is two-way communication between driver, guard and other traincrew.

SIPAX (Systema Informativo Passaggeri), an integrated ticketing and reservation system, wwhich includes associated operators, such as car hire, ferry, hotel and airline companies, has also been introduced.


The Italian high-speed network is relatively self-contained, so there is expected to be little expansion beyond the network currently under development.

Nevertheless, both the Italian and French governments are keen to integrate with the Trans-European Network System (TENS) which will take through trains to Lyon, Trieste, Lubljana, Budapest and Kiev, with a western extension linking Marseille and Barcelona.GARDERMOEN RAIL LINK HIGH-SPEED LINE, NORWAY

The Gardermoen line is the first Norwegian high speed line, a new 66km link from the centre of Oslo northwards to Eidsvoll, serving en route the Norwegian capital’s new Gardermoen airport – hence the name.

Costing kroners 2 billion ($350 million), the Gardermoen line is designed for trains travelling at a maximum speed of 210km/h. It includes the longest railway tunnel in Norway, the 13.9km Romeriks tunnel.

The line’s development stems from the Government’s decision in 1992 to build a completely new city airport, served by a dedicated high speed rail link that it was hoped would carry 50% of air passengers and 40% of staff working at Gardermoen, a total of 25,000 rail journeys per day.


Operator NSB Gardermobanan A/S wwas formed in 1992 by the state-owned rail operator NSB to drive forward the airport rail link plan.

An initial ten minute interval service is being operated from Oslo Central, with alternate trains extended beyond the airport to serve Asker. The 18km journey (twelve miles) from city centre to airport takes just 19 minutes. Extensive links with local bus and taxi operators have also been forged, and partnerships with local businesses and hotels ensure that travel packages to and from the airport including the rail link are heavily promoted to visitors.


The railway is electrified at 15kV, laid to German ICE 200km/h standards, and is all double track except for 3.5km close to the junction at Eidsvoll with the existing Norwegian State Railways trunk line to Lillehammer and the north.

The section of line from Eidsvoll to Lillestrom via the airport is completely new, and includes the Romeriks tunnel, just east of Starveien. The track-laying contract was awarded to Banverket Industridivisionen, a subsidiary of Sweden’s state-owned rail infrastructure authority.

Construction and subsequent operation of the airport line has been entrusted to NSB Gardermobanen AS, an NSB subsidiary, established in November 1992. Such was the scale of the Romeriks tunnel works, that a separate pproject organisation was formed to oversee them. This had initial difficulties when it got into a dispute with main contractor Scandinavian Rock Group (SRG), which resulted in the original contract being cancelled in March 1997, and a revised one awarded to the same company, less than three weeks later. The tunnel works hit further problems when the sealant being used was found to contain potentially dangerous substances, causing another temporary delay in digging work.

However, a revised timetable was drawn up for its completion, and technical installation works were completed in July 1998, in time for the start of operations that October.

NSB95 concrete sleepers have been employed, with Pandrol’s latest Fastclip securing the 60kg/m rails from Banverket’s welding plant. Work on another tunnel, at Hallandsasen, was also stopped when it was found that the same substance had leaked into a nearby water supply, and poisoned cattle grazing nearby. Elsewhere, more than 350 homes along the route gained substantial structural amendments to ease the impact of the new line close by, including enclosing balconies with glass, fitting replacement windows and repairing facades.


The sixteen new three-car Class 71 EMU trains for Gardermoen services are derived from the Swedish SJ Class X2-2,

and will form the basis for new tilt trains to be used elsewhere on the Norwegian railway network. Each train has 175 seats, and two or more can be coupled together. They run at ten minute headways between Gardermoen and the rail-air terminal at Oslo main station, with alternate trains calling at the important junction of Lillestrom. Non-stop trains to Oslo will continue for a further 27km to Asker, west of the city, calling at four stations on the way. TThis will widen the range of destinations linked directly with the airport to cover 70% of the air passenger market.

Construction has been carried out by Adtranz. subsidiary ABB Strommens, a domestic arm of this multi-national group.

The trains have a maximum speed of 210km/h (130mph), which allows the city centre-airport journey to be completed in 19 minutes. They operate under 15kV overhead catenary.

Each train has one-class seating, which is arranged so that passengers can keep sight of the central luggage racks oover each doorway. The units are air conditioned and fully pressure-sealed to eliminate the discomfort often experienced when passing through tunnels at high speed. The earlier batch of trains were built so that they could be retro-fitted with this technology iif it proved successful on the long-distance services.

The trains are maintained under a contract with NSB at its existing facility at Lodalen. It includes clauses governing their availability at agreed times, and to set specifications. The first train was delivered on schedule in September 1997, with others following at three-weekly intervals from the following January.

Squadron service began in October 1998.


The existing tracks used by the Gardermoen Airport service are some of the busiest in Norway. Because of this, alongside the airport line project, the Norwegian Rail Administration took the opportunity to replace all the old signal interlockings as the first phase of a project to carry out such work throughout the country’s rail system.

This was done to simplify maintenance and wwith the aim of achieving greater reliability and flexibility to cope with increased traffic demands in future. On-board monitoring of passengers boarding and alighting is made possible by television screens in each train’s cab, linked to external video cameras.

Adtranz Signal has also fitted each of the new trains with an automatic train protection system.


The problems of water leaks held up the project, and meant costs were higher than expected. Resolving them has added almost 50% to the originally estimated pproject cost of kroners 4.6bn (£2 billion).

Airline passenger numbers travelling through Gardermoen airport are expected to grow to 11.7 million in the year 2000, and to 16.8 million in the following ten years. Of these, half are expected to travel by train, giving the Gardermobanen a secure future.

The tilting derivative of the Class 71 train, now designated Class 73, is expected to have four cars instead of three, but be powered by the same traction package, and have the same 210km/h capability. These are earmarked for use on services between Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger.GERMANY INTERCITY EXPRESS HIGH-SPEED RAIL NETWORK, GERMANY

Germany was some way behind its main European counterparts when it came to developing a network of high-speed railway lines, but its InterCity Express (ICE) concept has allowed it to quickly make up for lost time.

The country’s first high-speed railway lines, between Hannover and Wurzburg and Mannheim and Stüttgart, were unveiled in 1992 when services were introduced between Hamburg, Hannover, Fulda, Frankfurt, Mannheim, Stüttgart and Munich. Regular timetables offer 250km/h (155mph) speeds, but the trains can run at up to 280km/h in the event of late-running.

60 ICE1 trains were built to operate this first tranche of services. Developed aand built by Siemens of Germany, the design has been subsequently updated, while the network of lines on the ICE network has also grown, with services into the former East Germany starting during 1997. Since then ICE2, ICE3 and ICE-T tilting trains have expanded the network to include destinations in Holland, Belgium, Switzerland and Austria.


In a 1997 survey of passenger train speeds, the fastest ICE point-to-point timings were only fifth in the table of international high-speed runs. However, the completion of the Hannover-Berlin Neubaustrecke high-speed line the following year improved matters.

The route between Köln / Bonn and Frankfurt received a €2 million grant towards its construction costs in 1997 as part of an EC initiative to improve rail links between member countries. This latest line opened fully in December 2002 after months of pre-service testing and trial services. A fleet of ICE3 and multi-voltage Siemens / Adtranz ICE3M trains was purchased for this route.

The Köln-Frankfurt line has brought DB to the top of the high-speed league, with trains capable of running at 330km/h and a reduction in journey times from 2hr 15min to just over an hour.

Further works are planned from Nürnberg to Ingolstadt to rreduce journey times on the route to Munich. Work on a high-speed line from Nürnberg to Erfurt is slow because of doubts over value for money with the need to tunnel extensively through mountainous areas in the German Land (state) of Thuringen.


The ICE network is aimed at long-distance travellers and research has shown that an ICE passenger’s journey is around 75km (50 miles) longer than that of the average traveller on conventional InterCity services.

ICE trains have generated passenger growth of around 25%, amounting to around 1.3 million extra passengers a year in the first two years of operation.

The most marked increase in passenger numbers has been between Hamburg and Frankfurt, where the 1hr time saving boosted passenger figures by nearly 40%. Main ICE routes connect Hamburg with Munich, Stüttgart, Basel and Zürich in Switzerland and Vienna in Austria. Other ICE routes link Berlin with Köln, Bonn, Frankfurt, Bremen and Munich.


The second generation of ICE (ICE2) began to enter service from September 1996, offering more flexibility with its ‘half-train’ format, able to serve two destinations after running as a full train over high-speed lines.

DB introduced its first ICE-T tilting trains in 1998. Developed

with the involvement of Siemens Transportation Systems, the trains have a top speed of 230km/h (145mph), even over rough terrain. Diesel and electric versions of the tilting ICE have reduced journey times and drastically improved passenger comfort on several ‘classic’ routes, including those between Stuttgart and Switzerland, Saarbrücken-Frankfurt-Leipzig-Dresden and Munich-Berlin via Leipzig.

The pace of innovation has continued with a fourth variant (ICE3) developed by Siemens / Adtranz to reach well beyond Germany’s borders, with Netherlands Railways (NS) also purchasing ffour ICE3M to improve Amsterdam-Germany services in preparation for the opening of the Köln-Frankfurt Neubaustrecke in 2003.

To introduce ICE comfort and speed to non-electrified routes, DB has acquired a small. number of four-car tilting DMUs, known as ICE-TD. The trains are very similar in appearance to the electric ICE-T and are used on the Nürnberg-Dresden and Munich-Lindau-Zürich routes.


Passenger facilities on ICE trains reflect the services’ aspirations in business travel, with air-conditioning throughout, a special conference compartment, telephones iin both first and second class accommodation, word processors and a mailbox.

The design of ICE3 has been influenced by developments in Japanese Shinkansen high-speed trains, with a bullet-shaped nose emphasising its credentials. ICE3 has been designed for use between KKöln and Frankfurt, with a high power-to-weight ratio to cope with frequent stop-starts and the roller-coaster nature of the new line.


Each ICE3 trainset consists of two eight-vehicle half sets. Eight of each train’s 16 bogies have both axles powered. Although ICE3 is single voltage the ICE3M version can operate on any of the four main power supply systems on the European mainland: 15kV 16.7Hz; and 25kV 50Hz AC, 1.5kV DC and 3kV DC. Top speeds on the multi-system sets will be reduced by a third compared with the single-system limit of 330km/h (200mph).

Aerodynamic improvements to ICE3 trainsets over their earlier counterparts include bogie skirts and fairings to screen brake discs and axleboxes, aimed at achieving a 10% rreduction in rolling resistance. High-speed performance is aided further by the use of an aluminium bodyshell without reinforcing cross struts, as successfully pioneered on ICE2.

European Commission guidelines on interoperability of rail vehicles dictate a maximum axle load of 17t on vehicles operating at more than 300km/h, so it was decided to use smaller driving wheels to reduce unsprung mass.

Each ICE3 has three types of braking equipment (regenerative, disc and eddy-current) with axle-mounted disc brakes on unpowered bogies and wwheel-mounted discs on each powered axle. Internal innovations on ICE3 include the first air-conditioning system not to use chemicals in the cooling process. The technology is based on similar systems developed for aviation use. A roof-mounted pack expands compressed air as required to control the interior temperature.


By December 2002, ICE3 could be seen in Holland and Belgium on international trains from Germany. Eventually, the trains should be able to run right through to Paris via the Belgian and French high-speed lines, complementing the current Thalys TGV service.LISBON-PORTO HIGH SPEED LINE, PORTUGAL

Journey times are being slashed between Portugal’s largest cities, the capital Lisbon and Porto, with the opening of a new dedicated 329km (204-mile) high-speed line in 2004, considerably behind schedule.

The Pendolino family of tilting trains intended for this route entered service as long ago as 1999. They replaced conventional trains of locomotive-hauled coaching stock and, when allowed, will see top speeds increased from the current 160km/h, cutting inter-city journey times from 3.5 hours to 2.25 hours.


Top speed rose, first to 180km/h (112mph), and by 2001 to 220km/h (135mph), the trains’ potential maximum, as work progressed on upgrading the entire line for higher speeds. The major upgrading project iis being overseen by REFER, a private body established to run, and oversee investment in, Portugal’s railway infrastructure.

The project represents an almost total renewal of the major artery linking Portugal’s two largest cities. The new trains offer greater comfort and improved on-board services, as well as higher speeds. Locomotive-hauled trains have been cascaded to work slower inter-regional services on the route, or to upgrade services on other lines.


The upgrading involved widespread renewal of existing rails with UIC60 and 54 on monobloc and bi-bloc concrete sleepers. A number of new alignments have been constructed to ease curves, and 161 new bridges built to replace level crossings. For the project, the 336km (209 miles) route was divided into three sections, covering Braco de Prata-Entroncamento, Entroncamento-Pampilhosa, and Pampilhosa-Vila Nova de Gaia.

Work on all began in the first quarter of 1998, and the project was completed by summer 2001. Meanwhile, REFER has had to ensure that, as far as possible, normal services can be maintained during the works, but this did create some problems, notably at Bobadela, where a major new railfreight hub has been built.


Ten six-car units were ordered by CP to operate the revamped services, comprising two motor vehicles, eeach equipped with two 510kW traction motors, and a driver’s cab housed in a now-characteristic aerodynamic sloping front end. The trains are closely derived from Fiat’s ETR460 third-generation ‘Pendolino’, first introduced in Italy, although to increase Portugese involvement the trains were assembled at the Adtranz Amadora plant rather than at Fiat’s own Savigliano plant in Italy.

Bogies had to be redesigned for operation on Portugal’s 1,668mm (5ft 6in) gauge track, and traction motors are mounted underfloor. Each bogie has an active lateral suspension system, and a spring parking brake. For ease of maintenance, each motor bogie and trailer bogie is interchangeable.

Power comes from eight asynchronous three-phase motors, each with a 510kW power rating. The use of two independent traction motors allows a train to continue in service, at least temporarily, in the event of the failure of a single unit. Transducers on the train’s front bogie pass data to the computerised control unit which governs the tilting system, which is hydraulically-powered. Each train seats 96 first class and 203 standard class passengers, with two additional spaces for wheelchairs, and driver’s and passengers’ compartments have independent air-conditioning systems.


Major upgrading has also been carried out on the Porto-Lisbon route. The former

relay-based automatic fixed block signalling is replaced by 31 electronic and three central traffic control installations. Information on individual services and each train’s next stop is transmitted to passengers through both the train’s PA system and through personal headphones at each seat.

There are also three audio and one visual channel for passengers’ entertainment, with pictures transmitted over central monitors arranged throughout the train.


A new public company, RAVE (Rede de Alta Velocidade), has been established to p.repare plans for aa new €5 billion high speed link (80% funded by the EU, the rest by Portgual and Spain) between Lisbon and Madrid. It would be standard gauge (1,435mm) and complete by 2015.

All ten Alfa Pendular trainsets have now settled into service and shortened journey times are being offered taking advantage of the 220km/h (135mph) capability of the trains. It is planned to extend their operation to other routes, including the sharply-curved Beira Alta line to Guarda. They will not bbe able to work the new national airport under construction at Ota, 30km north of Lisbon, because this is being planned for standard gauge.NÜRNBERG-MÜNCHEN HIGH-SPEED LINE, GERMANY

To reduce direct Berlin-Munich times to around four hours, German Railways (DB) is spending bbillions of Euros on new and upgraded lines, some sections of which may not be complete until 2017.

After Germany was reunified in 1990, a major priority for the country’s politicians was the bringing together of two transport networks that had developed separately in the previous 40 years. Huge investment was promised for new or upgraded rail and road links linking the former east and west and to bring infrastructure in the east up to western standards.

The first projects focused on linking Berlin with northern and western Germany, particularly the heavily-populated Ruhr region and the former West German capital, Bonn, which retained some governmental functions. With the completion of the Hannover-Berlin Neubaustrecke (NBS) in 1999, attention moved to providing better links ffrom Berlin and the major eastern cities of Leipzig and Dresden to central and southern Germany.

Journey times of more than six hours between Berlin and Munich are seen by DB as unacceptable. Currently, the fastest journeys are by a roundabout route via Braunschweig and Fulda using ICE services. Direct services using ICE-T tilting EMUs running over classic lines via Leipzig, Erfurt and Nuremberg take just over seven hours.


A major element of the project is a €3.6 billion, 89km high-speed line ((NBS) from Nürnberg to Ingolstadt designed for 300km/h operation. South from Ingolstadt, the existing railway will be upgraded to Ausbaustrecke (ABS) standards with trains running at up to 200km/h over the 82km to Obermenzing in the Munich suburbs. The Ingolstadt-Munich ABS will be shared with regional, suburban and InterCity trains.

Much of the NBS will run alongside the existing A9 autobahn to minimise environmental disruption. In total, the route requires nine tunnels totalling 27km, three of which will be constructed by the cut-and-cover method while the remaining six are bored in the traditional manner. Tunnel engineers on the project have encountered many geological problems in the mountainous Frankische Alb area, where the limestone rock is said to resemble a Swiss cheese. Tunnels in this difficult area include the 7.7km Euerwang and 7.26km Irlahüll bores. Costs have risen substantially as large cavities have to be filled with concrete to allow tunnels to pass through while retaining their rigidity.

In addition, 58 bridges have been built in conjunction with the new line, including the 305m Grosshoebing Viaduct and a 169m structure over the Main-Danube Canal at Hilpoltstein. Other new bridges and flyovers at each end of the line segregate ordinary and local trains from IICEs. Unlike the Rhein-Main NBS, opened in 2002, there will be no stations on the Nürnberg to Ingolstadt line for high-speed trains. However, passing loops at Allersberg and Kinding in Altmuehltal will have platforms for 200km/h Regional Express trains expected to use the NBS and paid for by the Bavarian regional government.

As the line passes through environmentally sensitive areas, extra costs have been incurred on protective measures, including the use of electric machinery and an electric narrow gauge railway to remove spoil from the 1.3km Offenbau Tunnel as internal combustion engines are banned in that area. Other protective measures include soundproof barriers along much of the route and sound-reducing concrete slab track for 75km of the 89km NBS.

To cater for the increased number of trains and the higher speeds, extra tracks will be built and several curves have been realigned. Maximum speeds will vary between 160km/h and 200km/h on this section as conditions allow. Soundproofing barriers have also been installed on this section in line with current tougher noise legislation. All stations on the ABS have been rebuilt with subways to all platforms rather than level crossings and 16 road crossings have been replaced by bridges.


No new long-distance ro.lling sstock will be ordered for this high-speed line. ICE services should be worked by a mix of ICE1, ICE3 and ICE-T trains, although no definite plan is yet in place. High-speed regional express services are planned by the Bavarian government, which will require rolling stock capable of 200km/h. Although no order had been placed for this by late-2003, one likely option is Bombardier Class 146.1 locomotives and double-deck coaches as introduced on Hamburg-Uelzen ‘Metronom’ regional express services in December 2003. South of Ingolstadt, services will also include 200km/h InterCity and EuroCity locomotive-hauled trains, regional RB and RE services and Munich S-Bahn suburban services south of Dachau.


The NBS will be controlled by two computerised interlockings at Inglostadt Nord and Nürnberg-Fischbach. Trains on the 300km/h line are controlled by moving block cab signalling which keeps trains at a safe distance from each other by indicating to drivers the maximum speed they should attain. GSM-R communications have also been specified in line with European Union interoperability rules for high-speed lines. On the ABS section south of Ingolstadt, all signalling has been renewed and replaced with a computer-based interlocking at Petershausen, north of Munich.


Once the NBS opens, journey times between Nürnberg

and Munich will be reduced to just an hour. However, the real time savings for Berlin-Munich passengers may take much longer to come and are dependent on the completion of another NBS through the mountains and forests of Thuringen from Erfurt to Nürnberg. This line has proved extremely contentious and was cancelled in 1998, despite work being already well underway. The eventual time savings are undoubted as the existing line is not suited to high speeds, even with tilting stock, bbut the economic justification for the line is much less clear than in previous projects. The German Chancellor promised in 2002 that work would restart, although this difficult and costly engineering project may not be complete until 2017. With the Berlin-Leipzig main line upgraded for 200km/h, a new 23km line between Leipzig and its airport – part of a new 100km, €1.9 billion line to Erfurt – opened in 2003 and the Nürnberg-Munich project, journey times between Berlin and Munich sshould be reduced to just four hours with the opening of the Erfurt-Nürnberg NBS.PERPIGNAN-FIGUERES CROSS-BORDER RAILWAY, FRANCE

In November 2001 the French and Spanish governments agreed to work towards the construction of a new standard gauge (1,435mm) line between Perpignan in FFrance and Figueres over the border in Spain. Six companies are shortlisted to build and operate the proposed link.

The line should connect the proposed French Languedoc-Rousillon TGV network extension from Nimes to Perpignan to the Spanish (1,435mm) high-speed line currently being built from Madrid to Barcelona and Figueres.


The line will speed up the passage of freight and passengers across the Franco-Spanish border, which is constrained by the change of gauge at Cerbere/Port Bou. Currently all through trains either pass through a gauge changer or are transhipped between wagons at the border, slowing the progress of freight in particular.

A 45.5km (28.3 miles) line, costing €714 million is planned between the two towns, including an 8.2km (5.1 miles) twin bore tunnel beneath tthe Pyrenees. Unlike previous TGV lines in France, the Languedoc-Rousillon and cross-border lines are to be built for mixed use, rather than exclusively for high-speed passenger trains, as passenger figures alone do not justify its construction. It is envisaged that high-speed passenger, freight and ‘rolling road’ style piggyback trains carrying complete trucks will use the line. These trains will require easier gradients than those found on other TGV lines, which can be as steep as 1 in 28.

Public consultation has bbegun on the Spanish section of the route, which runs for 20.8km (12.9 miles) from Figueres. Traffic for the first year of operations is expected to be around 3.5 million passengers and 4.2 million tonnes of freight, in addition to the 3 million tonnes of freight that already use the existing route.TGV FRANCE HIGH-SPEED RAIL NETWORK, FRANCE

Massive investment for expansion continues to be approved for the French high speed network, which is rivalled only by Japan for its quality and intensity of service. New schemes will ensure construction continues at least 2010, extending further into neighbouring countries.

France has been in the vanguard of high-speed passenger rail travel since the 1950s, and covers long distances at speeds of up to 300km/h (186mph). Since the first high speed line was built between the hub capital of Paris and Lyon in 1981, the TGV (Train a Grande Vitesse) has pushed into Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, the UK and Italy.


Early 1999 saw the go-ahead given for the latest arm of the TGV network, TGV Est Europeen. By 2007, there will be a 320km line linking Paris and and eastern France, taking in important population centres in the east of the country including Nancy, CChalons en Champagne and Metz.

At that time, the fastest trains between the two cities took around 4¼hrs, but this is expected to be cut drastically, to a hoped-for 2hrs 19mins under Phase 1 of the project, due to be completed by 2007. Phase 1 of the new line will run from the outskirts of Paris as far as Baudrecourt, near Metz. Phase 2, if it is built, will allow TGVs to run at full speed to Strasbourg. This would allow SNCF to implement its long-term plans for new through services via the Rhine bridge at Kehl, or via Forbach and Saarbrucken.

These developments would link the important commercial centres of Stuttgart and Frankfurt to the TGV network, with much reduced journey times capable of competing with air travel.

In some areas, domestic air traffic figures in France have been completely decimated. Every TGV line so far built has succeeded in covering its construction costs within a few years of operation and has seen huge modal shift from road and air to rail.


Although the core routes are TGV-only, the high-speed trains make extensive use of existing lines, and many classic routes have had a complete facelift. To prolong the life of track fformations, strict 17t axle weight limits are imposed on tracks over which the fast trains run.

While many rural communities in France lobbied to be included in the TGV network – and their campaigns attracted wide attention – SNCF has adopted a range of measures aimed at reducing noise disturbance in villages, towns and cities adjoining the new railways.

Paris remains at the heart of the TGV network, despite its spread across France, with depots for the trains at Le Landy just north of the Gare du Nord terminus, Chatillon near Montparnasse and Sud Est, near Gare de Lyon in the city. Le Landy sees the most variety and has three distinct parts, a northern section which maintains and repairs the coaches, a central area for the maintenance of TGV, Eurostar and Thalys trainsets, and Le Landy Sud, which carries out routine examinations. A fourth depot will open at Ourcq to maintain TGVs used on the Est Europeen route when it opens in 2007.


Technology has moved on apace in the 20 years since the first TGV rolled out of GEC Alsthom (now Alstom)’s factory at Belfort, France. Therefore, during 1998/99, the company unveiled details of the TGV-NG, or new generation,

concept, later renamed Automotrice a Grand Vitesse (AGV).

Like its predecessor, AGV is articulated throughout. This design has been proven to provide a high degree of stability at the highest speeds, halving the number of bogies required – which reduces track wear – and keeps noise at acceptable levels. The major difference between AGV and earlier TGVs is that the traction package is distributed throughout the train, rather than concentrated in power cars at each end. Only the trailer sets are aarticulated on standard TGV sets.

The AGV consists of nine different modules, including a mixture of single and double-deck vehicles. A short AGV half-set known as ‘Elisa’ was tested at high speed on the LGV Nord in 2002 to. assess its performance, but lack of orders on the horizon meant it returned to Alstom’s factory to await further development.

Double-deck trains have been introduced on the Paris Sud Est (PSE) route to meet rising passenger numbers, although even this is now pproving insufficient and SNCF is exploring ways of coupling two Duplex sets together to form a 20-vehicle ‘Super Duplex’ TGV set with more than 1,000 seats. This project will require a modification to power cars and the adjoining trailers to pprovide extra power bogies to supply the necessary power for such a train.


The nerve centre of the TGV operation is situated behind the maintenance depot at Lille Flandres in the north of France. Such is the power generated by a TGV train that each has to be fitted with an interference current monitoring unit, to ensure electrical interference does not exceed safe levels.

Trains are fitted with automatic train protection systems, which automatically apply the brakes if a signal is not responded to or passed at danger. TVM430 is a cab-based signalling system which monitors train progress and informs the driver of the maximum speed possible at any given time to maintain headways between trains.


The TGV from Mediterranee to Marseille, oopened in June 2001 has been an overwhelming success and SNCF is looking to add to more extensions to the network serving the south and south east. French infrastructure authority RFF is studying the possibility of a new line between Aix-en-Provence TGV and St Raphael on the Cote d’Azur to shorten journey times to and from towns and cities on the French Riviera such as Nice and Cannes. However, the mountainous terrain and vigorous local opposition could make this project eextremely expensive, with the guaranteed return of other lines serving busy conurbations such the PSE and LGV Nord.

Also in the pipeline is LGV Languedoc Roussillon, which would extend the western branch of LGV Mediterranee beyond Nimes to serve Montpellier initially, but in the longer term to Perpignan and beyond to connect with the Spanish high speed network now under construction. If this line is built TGVs could link Paris with Barcelona in just four and half hours. To provide extra capacity it is also proposed that LGV Languedoc Rousillon carry freight trains, a first for TGV lines.

Also proposed as a mixed use line is LGV Rhin-Rhone, likely to be next for approval. LGV Rhin-Rhone would link the existing PSE line at Dijon with Besancon, Belfort and Mulhouse, allowing faster trains to this area and to Switzerland. A proposed southern branch to Strasbourg and Lyon could also link Germany with the Mediterranean.

SNCF and RFF plan to build a link between Lyon St Exupery on the LGV Rhone-Alpes and Chambery in the Savoy Alps to speed up trains between Paris and this popular tourist area. In the longer term a new line linking Chambery with Turin in Italy could be built for TTGVs and freight traffic. A new line including a 52km tunnel between St Jean de Maurienne and Susa in Italy is being examined by French and Italian authorities to increase speed and capacity for freight and passenger trains.THALYS PBKA HIGH-SPEED TRAINS, EUROPE

The latest stage of the European high-speed rail network allows TGV services to run direct from Paris, the Channel Tunnel and Brussels towards Germany.

The original LGV Belge line forms the heart of the Paris/London-Brussels-Cologne-Amsterdam high-speed rail project but this latest new line between Leuven and Liege forms an important part of the planned link with Germany.

The service has been so successful that Air France has withdrawn its feeder services between Brussels and Parish Roissy-CDG Airport and, by offering its own dedicated first-class seating, has doubled business in two years.

A further boost has been the closure of the Belgian national airline Sabena after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks and the decision of its successor DAT to abandon the routes between Brussels and both Amsterdam and Paris.


With the completion of the LGV Belge high-speed line in 1998, Paris and Brussels were brought within an hour-and-a-half of each other. This unlocked massive demand aand the railways stole large volumes of business from road and air.

Work is in progress on a second line from Brussels via Liege to the German border as well as detailed designs for a new Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam line, opening in 2005. Paris-Brussels schedules have been cut from 1 hr 58 min to 1 hr 25 min, with a 30 min cut from Paris-Amsterdam times, bringing them to 4 hr 9 min. Paris-Cologne journey times are 4 hr 5 min, compared with the previous fastest locomotive-hauled schedule of 5 hr 15 min.

For the Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam route, the Dutch government will contribute around €450 million towards the Belgian section because the alignment chosen is not the most cost-effective.

The new 87.5km (54-mile) southern line from Antwerp to Barendrecht, 7.5km (4.7 miles) south of Rotterdam Centraal station, is mostly parallel to existing roads and railways. It includes a bridge over the Holland’s Diep waterway and four new tunnels.

Barendrecht is the meeting point for three new projects: the high-speed line; a 160km (99.5-mile) Betuwe freight line from Rotterdam to the German border east of Arnhem; and Netherlands Railway’s scheme to widen the line between Rotterdam and Dordrecht.

The northern section is 48km (29.8

miles) of new line from Rotterdam to Hoofddorp and 22km (13.7 miles) of existing tracks via Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Centraal station. There will be three tunnels including one under the northern suburbs of Rotterdam.


Running standards are similar to French National Railways (SNCF) with 17t axleloads, 25kV AC electrification and cab signalling.

The double-track line to Brussels is being widened to four tracks and Liege-Aachen upgraded. The 33km (20.5-mile) Brussels-Leuven line is being rebuilt for 200km/h (125mph) operation and 77km (4.4 miles) from Schaarbeek to Zaventem increased from three to four tracks, with a new pair of tracks laid on to Leuven.

The steeply-graded approaches to Liege are being upgraded and a new €200 million station, designed by celebrated architect Santiago Calatrava, is being built to replace the existing one with its cramped facilities.

The Liege-Aachen section requires a 27km (16-mile), 220km/h (125mph) cut-off with a 6km (3.7-mile) tunnel through the hills of the Belgian Ardennes. Beyond Welkenraedt, trains wwill use the existing line in to Aachen, upgraded with a major new viaduct.

Times have been reduced slightly from December 2002 when the Leuven-Liege high-speed LGV line opened for public use. The 62-mile LGV has slashed Brussels-Liege timings and iis shared with SNCB InterCity services using locomotives and rolling stock capable of running at 200km/h (125mph).

Further reductions will be possible once the Liege-Welkenraedt section of high-speed line opens in 2004 and this will be complemented over the border in Germany by the quadrupling and upgrading of the Aachen-Cologne ‘classic’ line to 230km/h standards. P.aris-Cologne times should be cut to around three hours.

Upgrading the Brussels-Antwerp section for 160km/h (100mph) was completed in 2000. Antwerp Central terminus will become a through station, with a northern link to the main line towards Roosendaal and platforms on three levels under the existing trainshed.


17 four-voltage trains known as TGV PBKA (Paris-Brussels-Köln-Amsterdam) Thalys trains were built by Alstom in the late-1990s. TThey mate new generation TGV Duplex power cars with standard TGV articulated trailers. In addition, ten second-generation tri-voltage TGV Réseau trainsets (with 25kV AC, 3kV DC and 1.5kV DC capability), called PBA (Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam) trains, have been reallocated to the service from SNCF’s own fleet. As with other TGV trains, Thalys run at 300kmh (186mph). In most respects Thalys sets are identical to French TGV trains but are in the red and silver colours of the four-country Thalys consortium.

The Paris-Brussels sservice is the most intensive between two European capitals, with 28 trains in each direction per day, half-hourly on weekdays.

Although not operated under the Thalys banner, after DB and SNCB failed to reach agreement on revenue sharing, DB ICE3M multi-voltage EMUs have linked Brussels with Cologne and Frankfurt several times a day since December 2002, replacing traditional locomotive-hauled international trains.

Plans to extend Paris-Cologne services through to Frankfurt via the Cologne-Frankfurt Neubaustrecke, which opened fully in December 2002, have been shelved because of concerns that TGV trains cannot maintain 300km/h line speeds using 15kV AC on the steeply-graded route. TGV sets only work at their maximum output on 25kV AC.


Belgium’s high-speed railways use the French TVM430 system, dispensing with the need for lineside signals. Train drivers receive information about the route ahead and the maximum speed they can run at from in-cab equipment. However, on classic routes standard lineside signalling is used. Thalys PBKA services will use a mixture of new and classic routes and several different signalling systems on their journeys between Paris, Belgium, Holland and Germany.


Local and regional planning stages of the consultation process are complete. Construction work is expected to take a further ffive years, with the aim of having the lines open by June 2005.

Passenger growth has been spectacular since the opening of the LGV Nord-Europe and Belge high-speed lines. Trains run hourly between Paris and Brussels, with many dividing there to serve Amsterdam and Cologne. With demand likely to increase when journey times reduce further, Thalys is considering increasing capacity. Ideas include double-deck TGV Duplex trailers, as used by SNCF, and greater service frequency.

The development of a regular interval Cologne-Brussels-Paris service using a mix of Thalys and ICE3 trains is also planned, although German trains are not yet passed to work in France.TILTING TRAINS TECHNOLOGY, UNITED KINGDOM

Switzerland and Great Britain are the latest European countries to introduce new trains using tilt technology to increase speeds and reduce journey times without building dedicated high-speed lines.


Although the two countries are just joining the tilt revolution, many other countries have already seen the benefits that tilting trains can bring to ‘classic’ lines where the construction of new high-speed railways is not viable.

Italy was an early advocate of tilting technology in the 1960s and developed it throughout the 1970s before introducing its first production trains.

British Rail was also a pioneer of ttilt with its Advanced Passenger Train (APT), infamously scrapped in the mid-1980s after many years of costly development.

Since BR abandoned tilt, the technology has been further developed in by Fiat in Italy and Adtranz in Sweden and has been exported to a number of countries. Italian ‘Pendolino’ trains are now in service or on test in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, Finland and the UK. Other tilting trains are in service in Sweden, Germany, Norway, Japan, Australia and the USA.


In June 2001 Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) introduced its Adtranz (now Bombardier) /Fiat built InterCity Neigezug (ICN) tilting train into regular service on the Lausanne-Zurich-St Gallen route. The seven-car trains have allowed SBB to introduce a half-hourly frequency between Lausanne and Zurich.

Locomotive-hauled trains have been retained on the shorter, faster route via Bern, but line improvements and the tilt capability of the ICN mean that the same journey time can now be achieved on the longer Pied du Jura route via Neuchatel. Two ICN units run together as 14-car trains capable of seating over 900 passengers. The maximum speed of the trains is 200km/h (120mph).

After a long and often difficult introduction the

24 trains are now operating as they should and SBB has confirmed that it has ordered a further ten, with an option for another ten if required.


UK services benefiting from tilting technology are operated by Virgin Trains. From 2002, Virgin Cross Country has introduced its Bombardier Class 221 Super Voyager diesel trains. Class 390 Pendolino EMUs built by Alstom and using Fiat tilt systems are being introduced on the West Coast Main Line (WCML). <

The first two pre-series Class 390 trains were exhaustively tested at Alstom’s Asfordby test track in Leicestershire and then moved to the WCML in October 2001 for main line trials between Carlisle and Carnforth. In December 2001 the first production trains were handed over to Virgin by Alstom on schedule and on budget. After pre-service tests at Asfordby the first trains entered service between Manchester and Stafford in July 2002, followed eventually by full service between London, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham aand Scotland in 2003.

The 390s have a maximum speed of 225km/h (140mph), but will initially run at 200km/h (125mph) between London, the north-west of England and Scotland. Full speed was planned to be possible on completion of the West Coast RRoute Modernisation in 2006, however this now looks unlikely after the collapse of infrastructure owner Railtrack in October 2001. 200km/h (125mph) is the likely maximum now, but even this is delayed and the 390s will run at 177km/h (110mph) until infrastructure upgrades are complete in 2003.

Meanwhile the first diesel-electric 221 units built by Bombardier was on test in Belgium and France and the first train was handed over to Virgin in December 2001. A total of 40 five-car and four four-car 221s are gradually entering service during late 2002/03. They are equipped with 750hp (560kW) engines, powering Alstom three-phase traction motors on the inner bogie. The units have hydraulically-driven swing plug doors, but the lack of gangways between the nnose ends means that two separate catering facilities m.ust be maintained.WEST COAST MAIN LINE PENDOLINO TILTING TRAINS, UNITED KINGDOM

Modernisation of the 401-mile rail route between London and Glasgow and its key divergences, serving Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester, is the largest project being undertaken by Railtrack, and since October 2002, its successor Network Rail.

The route, electrified since the early 1960s, has since suffered the consequences of having to meet growing demand against a backdrop of falling investment with the result tthat, when Railtrack took over in 1994, the line was in desperate need of a radical overhaul.

Key points on the network, in particular major junctions just outside London Euston, Manchester Piccadilly and Birmingham New Street stations and between Coventry and Birmingham, were in need of drastic measures to increase capacity.

The modernisation of the route was at the heart of the 15-year franchise agreement reached with Virgin Trains in March 1997; also included was a commitment to refurbish existing rolling stock. Virgin announced plans for a new fleet of 44 eight-car and nine nine-car Class 390 Pendolino tilting trains, designed operate at up to 140mph when route modernisation was completed.


Railtrack’s original cost estimate for the project was £2.5 billion to upgrading track along the route and installing a new transmission-based signalling system. However, during the next five years the cost of the project rose gradually towards £10 billion while at the same time reducing in scope.

Such a major project creates substantial upheaval while work is carried out and between 2000 and 2003 a large number of overnight and weekend closures allowed work to take place. However in August 2002 the Strategic Rail Authority agreed a new plan tto rebuild sections of the route using lengthy blockades of up to three months. The new methods are expected to deliver improvements up to two years quicker with substantial cost savings.

Under its franchise agreement Virgin Trains was to run its new Alstom Class 390s at 125mph initially, with maximum speed rising to 140mph once the work was completed. However, with project costs spiralling Railtrack, Virgin and the Strategic Rail Authority agreed to shelve plans to run at the higher speed, with Virgin being compensated for not receiving all the promised improvements.

The initial response to Virgin’s take over of the West Coast Main Line was positive, but that soon evaporated as passengers saw that for the first wave of improvements the trains had simply been given a new coat of paint. However, infrastructure improvements began in earnest during 1999 and early signs of investment could be seen by passengers in station and car park improvements – track upgrading is taking a while longer.


The main constraint of the West Coast line is the lack of capacity imposed by outdated track layouts and signalling systems. It also crosses challenging terrain in its northern half and is hemmed-in by roads and bbuildings at its southern end. Major route realignment was ruled out as an unviable means of cutting journey times. Railtrack has concentrated on rebuilding track for 125mph, renewing overhead line equipment and resignalling for higher speeds.

Many junctions and busy sections of line are being reconstructed. By late-2002 major projects at Willesden in north London and Proof House Junction in Birmingham had been successfully completed, with several other large projects in progress, and a blockade at Stoke-on-Trent and Manchester South resignalling planned for 2003.

To provide an alternative diversionary route, Railtrack announced in August 2002 that the Kidsgrove-Crewe link will be electrified at 25kV AC.


Like the infrastructure, the trains Virgin inherited were from a previous generation, with 35-year-old locomotives still in daily use. So Virgin quickly entered a deal with train builders Fiat and Alstom to replace the existing fleet with 44 eight-coach and nine nine-coach fixed-formation tilting trains, based on .the Italian manufacturer’s ‘Pendolino’ concept. A further 44 coaches were ordered later to augment the eight-coach trains if demand warrants. The first pre-production train carried its first fare paying passengers in August 2002.

The trains feature Alstom’s ONIX modular traction system, which integrates proven components into

a package adapted for a range of rail vehicles. Each train has a shop rather than a traditional buffet, selling food and drink, magazines, CDs and headphones for the at-seat entertainment system.


Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) uses existing colour light signals, augmenting them with an automatic override system in the train cab which makes an emergency brake application if a train passes a red signal.

Nine hundred signals along the WCML are being fitted wwith this system, in place of the original moving block operation planned. This was dropped because, according to Railtrack, technology had not developed sufficiently to make it suitable for such an intensively-used route.

In addition, Railtrack was to have installed European Train Control System (ETCS), a new Europe-wide standard signalling system for lines running at more than 125mph, for the second phase of the project. This has now been dropped until the new system has been proven. Alstom is working oon ETCS for the UK at its Asfordby test centre near Nottingham.


Based on an eight-year timescale, during which government subsidy to main operator Virgin was to fall from £68.4 million to a £126.6 million premium payment in 2006/7, tthe smooth continuation of services during the modernisation work is vital to the project’s success. Railtrack’s slide into administration and subsequent replacement by the government-backed Network Rail has disrupted the project. To control rising costs and get the project back on track, US project manager Bechtel was called in to help in 2001 and has certainly improved performance. With its reduced scope, WCRM will not provide everything originally promised, but by 2005 it should mean that the UK’s busiest rail route will have been completely rebuilt.

With 140mph running now shelved, Virgin is considering ordering several more Class 390s to ensure it can still provide the promised train frequencies. In late-2002 negotiations were still taking place with the SRA and RRailtrack/Network Rail.X2000 TILTING TRAINS, SWEDEN

Sweden’s X2000 fleet of tilting trains has been a major catalyst for the renewed interest in this type of technology shown by the newly-privatised British train operators investing in the final years up to the millenium.

Realising that it couldn’t build its rail lines as straight as the high-speed lines in the likes of Japan and France, the country’s state-controlled infrastructure operator, Banverket, and Swedish state railways (SJ) set about developing a high-speed network designed around ttilting train technology in the mid-1980s.

The first X2000 tilting train was delivered from ADtranz in 1990. Since then they have benefited from aggressive marketing, and are credited with saving the Swedish passenger rail network from extinction.

While the initial route chosen for X2000 was the main Stockholm-Gothenburg corridor, infrastructure works have subsequently been carried out over the whole of the country’s network to allow all routes to benefit from the success of X2000.

However, it is on this main corridor where the most dramatic time savings have been achieved. In 1990, before the introduction of X2000, journey times averaged three hours 45 minutes. Eight years later, these have been cut by one hour.

The savings in time have also had dramatic effects on SJ’s market share of Stockholm-Gothenburg traffic. Ridership increased steadily each year, to reach nearly nine million journeys in 1996, giving it almost 80% of the rail-borne market, and representing a ten-fold increase over the first seven years.

X2000 now has over half of the market for all rail journeys between Sweden’s two main cities, and achieved these improvements without the need for lengthy infrastructure works, allowing the benefits to be offered to passengers much more quickly.


Each X2000 formation consists oof one 4400hp power car, powered at 15kV ac. Each unit can be made up of up to 16 intermediate vehicles with a maximum capacity of 1,600 passengers, but a typical train will only have five intermediate trailers.

The secondary routes are served by a second generation of X2000, the X2-2.

While the current network is geared for 200km/h (125mph), there are long-term plans for upgrading to allow 300km/h operation.

Each X2000 trainset is mounted on ‘soft’ bogies, which adjust automatically on curves and mean a train can run up to 40% faster without exerting extra stresses on the track.

An accelerometer measures lateral acceleration on curves and the main computer in the leading vehicle calculates the amount of tilt required and sends instructions to the computer in each coach.

X2000 is fitted with an advanced system of Automatic Train Control (ATC), which provides a series of information about the line up to 4km (two and a half miles) ahead of the driver. If there is no response, the train brakes are automatically applied.

Each train also has three independent braking systems, an electric regenerative brake for speed adjustments down to standstill; air-operated disc brakes for normal and hard braking, and a magnetic track brake for uuse in emergencies.

Electronic anti-slip devices and parking brakes are also fitted. The standard train brake gives stopping distances of 1.1miles (1,750m) from 200km/h (125mph), 0.75miles (1,100m) from 150km/h (95mph), and 0.4miles (700m) from 130km/h (80mph).

A full emergency application of the magnetic brake will bring the train to a stand from 125mph (200km/h) in 1,100m (0.75miles).

Each X2000 power car has four bogie-mounted asynchronous traction motors grouped in pairs, powering all four axles. The train is powered by single-phase 15,000v 16.7Hz alternating current from the overhead line.

This direct current is converted into alternating current to feed the traction motors, and the transformer also provides 1,000v of direct current to power the trains’ heating, batteries and emergency lighting.

The tilting system, ventilation and air conditioning are powered by 380v, three-phase current.

The passeng.er accommodation is served by a central information system, controlled and updated by the train driver. These give the current time and details of the next station, and are supplemented by announcements over the on-board PA system.

Train drivers are also in communication with signalling and control room staff via SJ’s train radio system.


In comparison with the cost of the trains, upgrading of infrastructure has been relatively modest, but has represented

far better value for money than other countries’ high-speed lines which have been built from scratch.

For example, Sweden’s upgrading for X2000 worked out at $0.5 million per km, compared with the $9 million per km cost of Spain’s AVE high-speed route, and $18 million per km for Germany’s ICE network.

The trains’ tilting mechanism brings long-term benefits for the track in the form of reduced forces, cutting down on wear, which in turn allows speeds to be increased substantially on straight ttrack, and by up to 50% through curves.


While Sweden has a railway line that is now the envy of many other countries, extension of X2000 operation is only likely to take place on a modest scale, probably using a scaled-down version of the original train to link secondary routes with the high-speed line.

China has followed up its interest in the X2000 project by ordering trains for a service between Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Kowloon, while Britain is also expected tto see their introduction on a limited scale when Great North Eastern Railway, a division of Sea Containers, orders a small fleet of X2000 derivatives for its services between London, Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland.FINLAND PENDOLINO TILTING TRAINS

Finland’s rail aadministration underwent a substantial reorganisation in 1995, when the Ratahallintokeskus (RHK), or Finnish Rail Administration, was created as a civil service department, under the aegis of the country’s Ministry of Transport and Communications.

Under this arrangement, RHK assumed ownership of the rail network, equipment, structures and land holdings, and is responsible for its management, maintenance and development and for rail safety.

RHK is funded partly through budget allocations from central government funds and partly, as with Network Rail in Britain, from charges imposed on operators for use of the rail network.

The RHK inherited well-advanced plans for the introduction of Pendolino tilting trains on the country’s principal routes, which came to fruition in June 1996 when the first trains entered sservice between the capital, Helsinki, and the second city, Turku, in the south-west of the country.


Pendolino trains are being marketed as the flagship of an integrated rail network, bringing with them improvements in services on secondary routes. This project, christened Vali 2012, aims to push rail’s market share of travel in Finland up from an already impressive 60% of internal long-distance travel, and 39% of all public transport.

It envisaged a transport system consisting of a number of tiers, wwith the high-speed Pendolino as the flagship, providing regular shuttle services between major cities, at a maximum speed of 220km/h (135mph). These major cities are concentrated in the south of the country, and the establishment of the Pendolino was expected to have a dramatic impact on journey times between these centres, cutting them by a third.

In turn, the Pendolino network is linked with other large centres of population by IC (Inter-City) and express trains, formed of electric locomotives and air-conditioned coaches. These undertake journeys primarily into the north of the country, which is much less-densely populated, and where the rail infrastructure has traditionally been much less heavily used.


Finland’s busiest rail route, between Helsinki and Turku, had already benefited from a rolling programme of improvements in the years leading up to the introduction of the Pendolino trains.

This comprised track improvements to accommodate maximum axle weights of 25t for freight trains, along with allowing conventional passenger trains to operate at up to 160km/h (100mph). However, because of their lower axle weights and higher specifications, the Pendolinos are able to operate at up to their maximum 220km/h over such improved tracks. One of the biggest steps taken to improve safety was the rremoval of level crossings, and their replacement with bridges or underpasses. Further security measures, including the installation of extensive fencing to prevent unauthorised access to tracks used by high-speed trains. June 2003 marked the start of 200km/h running between Kerava and Tampere.


The Pendolino S220 represents the third generation of the Italian-designed and developed variant of tilting train. The Pendolino concept was developed by Fiat Ferroviaria, and adapted for its use in Finland by that country’s Oy Transtech (Talgo). VR ordered eight new Pendolino trains in 2002 for delivery between 2004-06, raising the fleet total to 18.

This company was involved with the Finnish trains from the design phase, ensuring the trains and their complex tilting and control mechanisms would be able to operate in the much more harsh climate variations found much closer to the Arctic Circle than such trains had operated in the past.

The trains’ bodies and mechanical equipment underwent preliminary preparations and manufacturing at Fiat’s Savigliano manufacturing base, before being transported to Finland for final fitting-out. This was carried out at Oy Transtech’s factory at Oulu in the north of the country.

Bodies are of largely modular construction to keep ax.le weights to a minimum while adhering to sstringent safety standards.

Each train consists of six cars, with a traction unit at either end. Of the four trailer coaches, one contains the high voltage electrical equipment which picks up the 25kV, 50Hz electric current from the overhead wires, and traction transformer which turns that current into the power for the train and its internal systems.

The trains’ tilting capability comes from the special bogie design. The helical primary and secondary suspension is considered superior to pneumatic systems in its reliability and the ride quality offered to passengers.

All seats, in standard and first class coaches, are in two + one arrangement, giving a total capacity per unit of 264 passengers, with two for wheelchair-bound users.


Internal facilities provided on the Pendolino trains offer standards not before seen on Finnish rolling stock. They include an office compartment containing telephones, fax machines and overhead projectors for business class passengers. Information monitors in each coach give details of the train’s progress and of onward connections. As part of the development of the Vali system, signalling on the Helsinki-Turku route was upgraded at the same time as the track improvements. This has involved renewal of the multiple-aspect colour light signalling.


The Pendolino fleet

is the backbone of the improvements contained in the Vali 2012 project, which is bringing progressive enhancements reaching extensively across Finland’s transport infrastructure. With the high-speed rail service in place, steps were being taken to extend the network of local buses operating from stations on the Helsinki-Turku routes into outlying areas.

Buses and minibuses will bring the benefits of Vali 2012 into outlying areas, by linking them directly with local or central business and population centres, where residents can join the hhigh-speed network.

Urgent refurbishment work to the Tampere-Jyväskylä line must be brought forward by two years to 2004, says the Central Finland Association, because the benefits of Pendolino services cannot be seen because of the poor condition of the track. Refurbishment of the Jyväskylä-Pieksämäki line may also be brought forward.

The 150km Hanko line is now top priority on a list of desired electrification projects. Work could start in 2006 if budget funds continue at their present levels. At a cost of €€30 million, it will allow direct connections from Hanko and Tammisaari to Helsinki without a change of train.GATWICK EXPRESS AIRPORT RAIL LINK, UNITED KINGDOM

Gatwick Express, the first dedicated city centre to airport rail link in the UK, has undergone a mmajor service transformation with the introduction of a fleet of brand new trains at the end of 2000.

Trains have operated directly to the airport since its opening in 1959, with dedicated rolling stock provided in May 1984. On privatisation, bus and rail operator National Express was awarded a 15-year franchise for Gatwick Express from April 1996, on condition that it invested in new trains. The entry into service of eight five-car electric multiple units was however delayed by almost two years because of a long, drawn-out testing procedure.

Gatwick was once considered London’s ‘second’ airport, but steady growth has put it almost on a par with Heathrow, and given it a substantial lead in the fast-growing charter market.

A 228-minute interval service operates over the 26.75-mile (43km) route. Gatwick Express carries four-fifths of all rail passengers to the airport, exploiting its advantage of offering the fastest journey time from the airport to central London.


On winning the Gatwick Express franchise, National Express pledged to undertake a complete rebranding of the railway. Services run to a regular clock-face departure pattern.


The original trains were ‘secondhand’ air-conditioned passenger coaches powered by a small fleet of Class 73 electro-diesel locomotives, dating from 11962. The locomotives’ age led to serious early reliability problems, which an intensified maintenance regime only partly cured.

The trains, designated Class 460, were built at Alstom’s factory in Birmingham, UK. They comprise eight vehicles, five with powered axles, have a 160km/h (100 mph) top speed, and carry 366 passengers.

The leading vehicle of each unit is largely luggage space, which can be carried in standard airline containers, but also with racks for bicycles and skis. Two luggage stacks are provided next to the door vestibule in each passenger vehicle, in addition to storage space between seats and on overhead racks.


Gatwick Express runs over lines largely dating from the 19th century. Its route includes Clapham Junction, Britain’s busiest railway station, and it shares the route with suburban, inter-urban and inter-city passenger trains.

Gatwick Airport station is considered so important that it is one of only 15 stations out of a national network total of over 2,500 to be managed directly by its owner, Network Rail. It has six platforms and its annual patronage of 11 million also includes passengers from the South Central operating company’s London-Brighton route.

The route is electrified at 750V DC, with power from a third conductor rail.

The nnew trains are maintained at Stewarts Lane depot, near Battersea in south London. These facilities are shared with other operators.


Because of the intensive service operated, trains largely keep to well-defined paths and a regular clock-face departure pattern.

For many years, the service has run under four-aspect colour light signalling, and uses the automatic warning system (AWS), operated by magnets placed at regular intervals between the rails, which triggers a warning bell or siren in the driver’s cab. The driver has three seconds to cancel this warning, or the train’s brakes are automatically applied.

However, the new trains are fitted with the train protection and warning system (TPWS), in line with recommendations following the 1998 crash at Ladbroke Grove, London. They are the first new fleet of trains to be so fitted.


An Airport Express alliance has been formed with the neighbouring Heathrow Express and Stansted Express businesses to share knowledge and stimulate future business.

The 10% fall in business in the aftermath the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack on New York forced a curtailment of overnight services, which it is hoped to resume when market conditions p.ermit. Profits are being maintained by careful cost cutting.HEATHROW EXPRESS HIGH SPEED RAIL LINK, UUNITED KINGDOM

The Heathrow Express is a high-speed rail link offering the fastest journey time between Heathrow Airport and central London – just 16 minutes. Its success since opening in 1998 has already resulted in the strengthening of the train sets, and June 2003 saw the announcement of a further £30 million service expansion.

The original £350 million BAA project originated in 1993 as a joint venture between BAA and British Railways Board designed to increase use of public transport to and from the airport from 34% (already the highest in the world) to 50%. A train operating company, Heathrow Express Ltd, formed to plan, operate and introduce Heathrow Express, took over the running of the service after the project was completed. This company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BAA plc.


BAA signed a 25-year agreement with Railtrack for the use of the 12-mile main line stretch from Paddington to Airport Junction near Hayes. Non-stop trains began running on 25 May 1998. The service is rare on British railways, in being separate from the franchising arrangements under which private companies pay the infrastructure owner, Network Rail, to operate trains over its tracks.

Services are operated by a fleet of purpose-built trains, capable

of travelling at 100mph, leaving Paddington every 15 minutes between 5.30am and 11.10pm.

Further new investment in 2003 provided for a new stopping service, run in conjunction with Thames Trains, between Paddington and Heathrow, calling at Ealing Broadway, West Ealing, Hanwell, Southall and Hayes.


For the first 12 miles, the route follows the Great Western Main line to Airport Junction, near Hayes. Here, Heathrow Express trains leave the main line to enter a five-mile tunnel that sweeps underneath the heart of the aairport. There are two stations, one serving Terminals 1, 2 and 3, and a second, four miles away, serving Terminal 4.

Paddington station, the London terminus, has two platforms dedicated to Heathrow Express, and full airline passenger and luggage check-in facilities. State-of-the-art ticket machines are installed at Heathrow and Paddington to provide multi-lingual, credit card and through-ticket purchasing facilities.

The main line station at Paddington is currently served by four London Underground lines (District, Circle, Metropolitan and Bakerloo). Railtrack (now NNetwork Rail) is responsible for trackwork, signalling and electrification of the line, and also provided signalling and telecommunications network in the tunnel section.

A dedicated maintenance depot is provided at Old Oak Common in west London, north of the Great Western mmain line. BAA is responsible for the five-mile underground section from Airport Junction to Terminal 4, via the central area. The £60 million tunneling contract was awarded to Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering.

Work started in late-2003 to extend the depot in readiness for the extra trains needed for the Paddington-Heathrow stopping service. This includes the addition of four extra stabling tracks and the extension of the maintenance building with a second floor.


Heathrow Express owns 14 four-car Class 332 trains engineered and built by Siemens Transportation Systems in Germany, in partnership with CAF of Spain.

Commissioning work on the bogies, the 25kV AC 50Hz traction equipment, braking and auxiliaries was completed in November 1996. During trials the train reached speeds of 1176km/h, 10% higher than the maximum commercial speed of 160km/h.

In four-car formation there are seats around 230 people. Each carriage features considerable space for baggage, and all seats face the nearest baggage area. On-board telephones are installed. Extra cars have been ordered to extend some Class 332s to five cars, a reflection of how the service has taken off since 1998. Each passenger car is equipped with television screens providing check-in and airline information. Disabled access to the carriages is eeased by each. carriage floor being level with each platform.

The new stopping service is being served by four new Siemens Desiro UK EMUs, built in Germany and Austria during 2004, and similar to the 21 Class 360s now in service on the London Liverpool Street-Colchester route.


Each passenger car is equipped with four television screens providing check-in and airline information. Disabled access to the carriages is eased by each carriage floor being level with each platform. There is one toilet including disabled facilities to every three carriages.


A major new development for Heathrow Express in late-2001 was the go-ahead for a fifth terminal at Heathrow Airport (T5). Included in the plans is a six platform underground station designed for both Heathrow Express and long-distance trains. Work will take around six years to complete.

The Thameslink 2000 scheme for a high-quality upgrade of London suburban services has been mothballed, and so is a spur from the Staines-Waterloo route that would turn the Heathrow line into a through route.

However, the Government’s outline approval in mid-2003 of the £10 billion Crossrail scheme provides for direct access to the Heathrow line underneath central London from the East, subject to agreement with BAA.

It is not clear whether tthis will result in the abandonment of the long-discussed St Pancras-Heathrow Express direct service, running four times an hour and keying in with the central London interchange of main line services, London Underground, Thameslink and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.CHANNEL TUNNEL RAIL LINK EXTENSION PROJECT, UNITED KINGDOM

Full UK Government approval was granted in 1996 for the two sections of the 69 mile (108km) high speed Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL). The opening date of the first phase, 43km, is 28 September 2003, with the rest four years afterwards. Speeds of up to 186mph (300km/h) make the journey time from London’s Waterloo International station to Paris, Lille and Brussels up to 20 minutes quicker (fastest journey times of 1hr 40min to Lille, 2hr 20min to Brussels and 2hr 35min to Paris).

After 11 years of financial and political turmoil, the £1.9 billion project suddenly moved forward after the signing by London & Continental Railways (LCR) in October 1999 of construction contracts for the new line from the Channel Tunnel to Fawkham Junction in North-West Kent.


The project was originated by London & Continental Railways, a consortium of eight major shareholders, including design and planning consultancy Ove Arup and Partners, engineering firm BBechtel, train and transport operators Virgin and National Express, investment bank SBG Warburg and French rail project manager Systra. Control passed to newly-formed Network Rail in 2002.

Four civil engineering contracts were awarded for Section 1 – the East Thames to Medway Valley connection, River Medway crossing, North Downs Tunnel and the Ashford station area realignment.

Basically CTRL is a French-style LGV high-speed line linking London with the Channel Tunnel portal at Dollands Moor near Folkestone. Although Section 1 is relatively straightforward and follows existing transport corridors such as the M2 motorway, Section 2 requires large amounts of tunnelling under the River Thames and under East and North London.


Major structures on the line include the 1.3km Medway Viaduct, completed in 2002, and the nearby 3.2km North Downs Tunnel. Further north on section two, the line passes through a 3km tunnel under the River Thames before running along an extended 1.3km viaduct section under the Queen Elizabeth II M25 bridge and over the adjacent Dartford Tunnel exit road at Thurrock in Essex.

After this the line dives back into tunnel near Dagenham to run for 19km underground through Stratford, emerging above the East Coast Main Line near Holloway Tunnels, close to King’s

Cross. This need to tunnel under the built-up areas of London has meant that 25% of the route will be in tunnel, a total of 16 miles.

Apart from the reconstructed station at Ashford International, Section 1 has no new stations. However, Section 2 will have intermediate stations at Ebbsfleet in North Kent and at Stratford in East London.

Maximum speed on the line will be 300km/h, although tunnel sections closer to London will be limited to 270km/h and speeds wwill be lower as the trains approach St Pancras. Aside from the existing London terminus at Waterloo, a magnificent new international station will be created at St Pancras. The former Midland Railway station will be upgraded and greatly expanded as an interchange between Eurostar, domestic CTRL, Midland Main Line and Thameslink services and several London Underground lines. The station is also convenient for East Coast Main Line services to and from King’s Cross.

Funding for Section 2, on which construction started iin July 2001, comes from a mixture of Government bonds, Railtrack’s purchase of Section 1 and a £2.2 billion grant.

LCR continues to own and operate the Eurostar train business and hopes to generate finance from development land at King’s CCross, Ebbsfleet and Ashford. The line is on a mixture of new and existing alignments, separate from existing lines where they run parallel.


Eurostar trains were introduced on London-Paris/Brussels in November 1994. Built by a consortium led by Alstom, the trains are based on proven technology from French TGV trains. Each train operates using the three different electrical systems used on the railways of Britain, France and Belgium – 750V DC from a. third rail and 25kV AC and 3kV DC from overhead lines respectively. Several SNCF-owned sets also have 1.5kV DC capability for working in southern and eastern France. This is used for working Eurostar’s Ski Train to Bourg St Maurice in the Savoy Alps and the summer-dated sservice to Avignon.

‘Three Capitals’ trainsets comprise two half-sets of one power car and nine intermediate trailers, making a total trainset of 20 vehicles. Bogies within each set are articulated, sharing a two-axled bogie between vehicle ends. They are basically similar to French TGV sets but are reduced to UK loading gauge to allow operation over ‘classic’ lines in Britain.

Cars are of monocoque construction, while the aerodynamic nose of each power car is made of glass-reinforced plastic with a ssteel safety cage surrounding the driving position.

Domestic services between London and Kent should be operated by high-quality EMUs capable of 125mph. The services are likely to be operated by a new integrated Kent franchise, announced following the sacking of Connex from the South Eastern franchise in June 2003.


Eurostars operate under five different signalling systems. On the French high-speed lines and in the Channel Tunnel they use an in-cab system, which gives the driver information. If the top speed is exceeded brakes are automatically applied. CTRL will use French-style TVM430 to control trains although they will retain UK AWS and TPWS for operation on classic routes.

Trains are also equipped with KVB receivers, picking up information from trackside transponders along the French high-speed route, again showing the permitted speed to the driver on an in-cab display. A similar system is used in Belgium.


In October 2001 work on Section 1 of the CTRL was around 70% complete with all major structures in place and work on schedule and within budget. By early-2003 Section 1 was largely completed and signalling was being installed. The first use date for international trains is September 2003.

Summer 2003 saw the first test runs on Section 11 and on 30 July a Eurostar Class 373 smashed the UK rail speed record with a dash up to 334.7km/h (208mph). The previous UK rail speed record was set by the Advanced Passenger Train on 20 December 1979 at 259.5km/h (162.2mph).

Work has also started on the Section 2 between Ebbsfleet and St Pancras. Work is well underway at several sites, including that for the rebuilding of St Pancras to accommodate international trains and the raised section of line between the Thames tunnel at Dagenham.

Geological problems halted work in East London in early-2003 as land subsidence caused concerns for existing infrastructure such as London Underground’s Central Line.

Once the whole line is open, London-Paris times should be cut to 2 hours 15 minutes with Brussels possible in two hours. The Channel Tunnel portal will be just 35 minutes from St Pancras and Kent services will see significant reduction with Ashford around 36 minutes from London via the CTRL.LITERATURE

1. Encyclopedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition – Electronic Encyclopedia

2. World Book 2004 – Electronic Encyclopedia

3. TRANSAERO. A European Initiative on Transient Aerodynamics for Railway System Optimisation – Schulte-Werning, B.; Gregoire, R.; Malfatti, A.; Matschke, G. (Eds.)

2002, XIV, 379 pp., Hardcover

4. Computers in Railways IV: Railway DDesign and Management

by B Mellitt (Editor), F. T. Anbari (Editor), C.A. Brebbia (Editor), G. Sciutto (Editor), S. Sone (Editor)

5. Modern Trains and Splendid Stations: Architecture, Design, and Rail Travel for the Twenty-First Century

by Martha Thorne (Editor), Art Institute of Chicago

6. EURO-TUNNEL Brochure

7. http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/

8. http://www.brainyencyclopedia.com/