SPANISH National Railways and Patentes Talgo unveiled a freight derivative of the Talgo gauge-convertible wheelsets at a presentation in Sevilla on July 30. Renfe has formed a partnership with French National Railways and German Railway to develop the technique for cross-border applications throughout Europe.

The Talgo concept, where individual wheelsets are relieved of their load while the wheels are unlocked from the axle and repositioned, has been in use on passenger vehicles since 1969. According to the company, over 1·2 million operations have been recorded without a fault, with a typical time for regauging of 5s per axle.

Development of a freight version has taken four years, including low-temperature trials in Sweden, Finland and Russia. Five prototype wagons have run 100000 km on test, including 20000 km on the Spanish broad gauge network. o