IAF: On show at the 27th IAF track technology exhibition in Münster is the first of a fleet of vehicles for maintaining the LGV Sud Est Atlantique high speed line between Tours and Bordeaux which opens in July.

The vehicles are being developed by Socofer to a specification prepared by maintenance contractor Mesea and then tendered competitively, according to Mesea's Deputy Managing Director Olivier Gouin. The vehicle on show is one of five road-rail lorries which will be stationed at the three maintenance bases along the 302 km route. These have a cab, power pack and a toilet compartment, with a roof-mounted pantograph for earthing the overhead line during work.

The lorries are intended to carry four types of modular work unit, which have been designed as swap bodies which stand on their own legs and can be picked up by adjusting the vehicle's pneumatic suspension. Each module includes a rear cab with brake controls and a radio link for use while running in reverse, although the vehicle will still be driven from the main cab. Road-rail access points are provided at roughly 10 km intervals along the line.

The crane module includes a telescopic crane and a scissors-lift working platform, while a second module has a workshop with a roof working platform. A third type is for overhead line maintenance, while the fourth has a catenary wire stringer supplied by OMAC of Italy. Gouin says three crane modules working together should be able to lift and position a 60 m long turnout section brought to site by train on the adjacent track.

As well as the road-railers, Mesea and Socofer are developing the streamlined BROOM LGV160 inspection car, which will be used to check the entire line before it opens to traffic each day; this is expected to be cheaper than hiring an empty 'sweeper' TGV from SNCF as used on other routes. The 1A-A1 diesel-powered BROOM will also contain track geometry measurement systems and Balise Life Check test equipment from ERTMS Solutions, plus a small saloon area.