Alstom has begun its dynamic test campaign on the Coradia Polyvalent - the latest addition to its range of regional trains. The tests are taking place at the Vélim test centre in the Czech Republic and, in France, at the Railway Testing Centres (CEF) at Valenciennes and Bar-le-Duc and on a section of the RFF line between Wissembourg and Hoffen.
Approximately 50 engineers and specialist technicians from Alstom will be relayed on board ten pre-series Coradia Polyvalent trains until early 2013 in order to carry out the work needed to meet 3,000 contractual requirements.
The certifications and approvals required to obtain the EPSF’s1 authorisation to operate will involve 10 regional trains undertaking a total of 1,400 days of testing and will directly or indirectly engage up to 200 people from 20 different bodies (Alstom’s own sites, suppliers, test centres, drivers, etc.). The campaign will eventually generate 1,500 documents, including test specifications, procedures and reports.
Three trains have been operating at Vélim since late April; the site, which belongs to the Czech Railways Research Institute, boasts two independent circuits:
a 4 km circuit with a maximum authorised speed of 90 km/h,
a 13 km circuit with a maximum authorised speed of 210 km/h.
These test rings, which are electrified in accordance with European standards, make it possible to set up the Coradia Polyvalent’s eclectic traction system in all power modes – diesel, 1500V and 25kV. The tests also help to qualify and certify the main functions of the train: electric or diesel braking and traction, air-operated braking system, noise emissions, acoustic comfort and electro-magnetic compatibility.
At the same time, two Coradia Polyvalent trains have been undergoing comfort tests in diesel mode in France since May 22 on the section of line between the towns of Hoffen and Wissembourg. The test runs are operated at a maximum speed of 100 km/h and make it possible to set up the diesel traction system in different power-pack configurations2 , ranging from maximum power to degraded mode. The vibrations made by the train and its equipment are measured using sensors positioned along the entire length of the train. All the tests are carried out at night in order to avoid disrupting commercial traffic.
In addition, validation tests are being carried out on six of the ten trains at the Valenciennes and Bar-le-Duc CEFs with the aim of configuring the Coradia Polyvalent’s various instruments and functionalities (traction/braking). Finally, the certification trials will begin on the RFF3 tracks in July 2012. Nine sections of RFF4 track with specific configurations (bends, track quality, etc.) will host the Coradia Polyvalent trains.
The tests are being carried out as part of the contract, financed by the French regions, signed on October 27, 2009 between Alstom and SNCF. The initial contract included a firm order of 800 million euros for the delivery of 100 Coradia Polyvalent trains.
Up to now 171 trains in total have been ordered by the following French regions: Alsace, Aquitaine, Auvergne, Lower Normandy, Upper Normandy, Lorraine, Midi-Pyrénées, Pays de la Loire, Picardy, Poitou-Charentes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. The framework contract should in time reach a volume of 1,000 trains for a total of more than seven billion euros. The delivery of the first of the 171 trains should take place in March 2013, with subsequent deliveries being staggered until mid-2015.
1 EPSF: French Railway Safety Authority (Etablissement Public de Sécurité Ferroviaire).
2 Power-pack: the power-pack supplies DC current to the traction chain from a diesel source; it may be likened to a generating set.
3 Réseau Ferré de France.
4 Aubrais-Vierzon (Centre), Epernay-Vitry Le François (Champagne), Toul-Culmont (Lorraine), Moûtiers-Bourg St Maurice (Rhône – Alpes), Caen-Cherbourg (Normandy), Plouaret (Brittany), Epernay-Meaux (Champagne), Tours-Les Aubrais (Centre) and Millau-Bédarieux (Midi-Pyrénées).