This category embraces the high speed inter-city train project and a new track design. The train would run at more than 200 km/h and the project is aimed at developing new technologies or equipment needed for a train to run on existing lines at high speed. So far three individual research projects have been agreed.

  • Procab (Protection de Cabines) consists of research to determine how train drivers can be better protected in the event of a collision at a level crossing or with another train. Equipment and materials and biomechanical aspects will be examined using numerical methods that can be validated and tested. Project leader is Bombardier, which has a budget of €4m to spend over three years.
  • Ultimat (Utilisation Innovante de Nouveaux Matériaux) will examine new materials such as composites, metallic mousses, new types of steel and steel-polymer sandwiches to develop a bodyshell with lower mass. Partnership with the aerospace industry is envisaged. Alstom is project leader, the budget is €10m and the timescale is three years.
  • The Audio-coupler MPEG wi-fi project led by Infodio is aimed at a demonstration which would permit public address equipment on trains used in Europe to be standardised. It forms an essential part of the Viatic cross-mode information project (right). The project is expected to take two years and nine months at a cost of €557958.
  • The New Track Design project complements the high speed inter-city train project and is aimed at developing a French ballastless track design. This could be used on existing infrastructure in upgrading projects, allowing the high speed train to operate at speeds above those presently permitted.

    Specifically, the NBT track project envisages the development of a track design that would permit trains to run at 350 km/h. Although it is not intended primarily for use on viaducts or bridges, it could be developed to do so. The design is intended to cater for mixed traffic or for high speed trains. Heading the scheme is Railtech International, part of the Delachaux group, which has a €4·5m budget to complete the project in four years and two months.

Safety and acoustics

  • The Vermetal project will look at the materials interface between metal and glass on road vehicles, but the results are expected to be directly applicable to the window-bodyshell interface on rail vehicles. The three-year programme with a budget of €3m is led by Saint Gobain. Three other projects in this category concern road vehicles only.

Intermodal freight

  • Five projects have been approved. Detrace is a 15-month project led by Transports Terrestres Promotion which aims to put together a preliminary design for a freight tracking system that could be used across Europe. The budget is €300000.
  • IPMN (Interconnexion entre les Plateformes Multimodales du Nord-Pas de Calais) is a scheme designed to provide a network of multimodal 'platforms' across the Nord-Pas de Calais region that would be available for forwarders and importers. In charge is Club Logistique et Transport which will aim to complete the project in 18 months for €247500.
  • PQCCV (Plan Qualité des Chargeurs des Conteneurs Vides) is intended to give shippers precise and comprehensive information on the location of containers. It will be led by the Chambre Régionale de Commerce et d'Industrie Nord-Pas de Calais over a three-year period, for which €85000 has been allocated.
  • RELTM (Référentiel E-business de la Logistique et du Transport de Marchandises) is designed to encourage the development of intelligent transport in the Nord-Pas de Calais region with the help of a web portal. CCI Lens will conduct the three-year project for €300000.

Cross-mode passenger information

  • The Viatic Mobilité project is considered to be an initial step in a campaign to persuade people to choose public transport rather than their private cars. It will cover information needed for connections at interchanges, tourist information and e-ticketing with a range of information provided on the e-ticket. A demonstration of the system across the region is envisaged. INRETS has been allocated responsibility to complete the project in two years within a budget of €2·2m.

Other projects

In addition, there are a number of 'innovation' projects.

  • ACMC, which covers design and development of composite structures for railway infrastructure, has a €600000 budget but has not yet been allocated a lead company.
  • Bartherm is a project to develop non-metallic thermal barriers for rail and automotive applications and is being led by Amkey, which has €1·7m to spend.
  • Cemrail will model substations and electrical distribution to define the electromagnetic compatibility of rail systems. In charge is Alstom, which has been allocated €1·4m for the work.