IAF: Next year will see the roll-out of an HSG-metro self-propelled grinding train being developed specifically for the Chinese market, the Managing Director of Vossloh Rail Services Marcel Taubert told Railway Gazette at the IAF fair in Münster.

The five-vehicle unit is one of two prototypes being developed under an agreement with CRCC High-Tech Equipment Corp signed at InnoTrans 2016 in Berlin. The other is a similar unit designated HSG-S, aimed at the main line market; this is currently under construction and due to begin test running later this year.

According to Vossloh's head of high speed grinding Aiko Püschel, both grinders will have a pair of CRCCE-built driving power cars. The main line unit will have three locally-built grinding vehicles for which Vossloh is supplying the grinding equipment plus the electric and hydraulic control systems. The intermediate vehicles for the HSG-metro will be developed entirely by Vossloh. Whereas the current HSG-2 grinder has four banks of passive grinding wheels set at 90° and the small HSG-city trailer has two, the HSG-metro will have three banks arranged at 120° in a Y configuration.

Vossloh has already supplied one HSG-2 grinder to China, and a second is about to be delivered. These are operated by a joint venture with China Railway Materials, in which Vossloh holds a 47% stake, as the only private company supplying track maintenance services for China's network of high speed lines. Vossloh has also supplied two HSG-city grinders which are used by various metro and light rail operators.

Püschel says that as yet there is no designated customer for the HSG-S prototype; under the agreement CRCCE is responsible for sales and marketing. Both Beijing and Shanghai have expressed interest in the HSG-metro prototype, which is due to begin operation in the second half of 2018. Taubert anticipates that this is 'most likely' to start work in Beijing.