INTRO: Harry Hondius MSc reports from Salzgitter

SEPTEMBER is due to see the entry into revenue service of the first of 55 X60 low-floor EMUs, ordered in May 2002 by Storstockholms Lokaltrafik for use by Citypendeln operator Keolis.

The contract with Alstom includes an option for 50 more sets. Total price for the initial 55 is €400m, which works out at €21166 per m2. Being assembled at the LHB plant in Salzgitter, the X60s will be based at a new depot north of Stockholm, complete with its own de-icing installation.

The basic concept was described in RG 9.03 (p545), which included drawings of the bogies. At 105·7m over the body, the X60 is one of the longest articulated trains to be developed, and at 3250mm it is also one the widest for use in Europe.

Six of the seven bogies are powered, with 12 motors rated at 260 kW, and three have magnetic track brakes. Each trainset weighs 206 tonnes, or 600 kg/m2, giving a power-to-weight ratio of 14·6 kW/tonne and an acceleration of 1·1m/s2 up to 100 km/h. Maximum speed is 160 km/h. Each trainset can carry 374 seated and 565 standing passengers, giving an average weight of 551 kg/seat.

The stainless steel construction is designed to withstand the roughness of the Scandinavian climate, and the unit is built for a buffing load of 1500 kN. The nose is designed to absorb 2·3 MJ of crash energy before the body structure starts to deform.

Floor height through the majority of the unit is 790mm above rail, sloping down to 760mm at the entrances, but with high-floor sections at 1080 mm above the end motor bogies. Aisle width is 610mm.

The air-conditioning circulates the air through the centre aisle, with warm air introduced through side ducts at the level of the passengers’ feet. Norsk Veritas, one of the approval bodies, has demanded that for fire protection the glass doors within the Hübner double bellow articulations should close automatically when the measured temperature in the air ducts in one of the coaches exceeds a certain limit. The doors are held closed by magnetic catches and can be pushed open by hand.

Testing and approval of such a complex train has proved to be a costly business. Seven trains have been involved in the certification process.

Power and braking systems were optimised on the Velim test ring in the Czech Republic, whilst electromagnetic compatibility with the traction supply was tested by DB Systemtechnik in München. Dynamic winter tests took place at Kiruna, and static tests at the Wien climate chamber. Brake tests were undertaken by DB Systemtechnik at Gütersloh, and testing of two units in multiple has been done both at Wildenrath and in Sweden.

As a final stage, dynamic riding quality tests at 160 km/h to check compliance with UIC 518 standards took place in Germany and Sweden. Dynamic commissioning was undertaken on a 247 km route between Salzgitter, Maschen and Rothenburg in Germany. The Swedish authorities are expected to certify the train for operation in August, ahead of the planned start of service the following month. Driver training has already started.

Demonstration runs were undertaken on June 14 using train 8, running at up to 140 km/h on a well-used section of track between Vechelde and Lehrte. The primary suspension gives a very soft ride, and the train can be a lively roller. Gears and electronics are perfectly silent, in marked contrast to the ET42x family. Noise levels inside the train whilst running at 140 km/h were recorded as 55dB(A) in the open saloon areas and 58dB(A) in the articulations, setting a new benchmark for this type of train.

Alstom sees the Coradia Lirex¨ design as its future standard S-Bahn vehicle. The train has been developed in such a way that roof and floor modules are 2920mm wide. When paired with straight sidewalls this would give a train width meeting UIC-505-1/G1 specifications.

The train is being offered in three, four, five and six-car variants, with lengths of 55, 71, 87 or 104m excluding any crashworthy nose. Both electric and diesel multiple-units are envisaged, with the diesel generator sets to be put on the roof as with the rest of the equipment. This formula has already been tested with the experimental VT618 Lirex prototype for DB.

Alstom has already submitted a bid to supply 50 six-car EMUs to SNCB for the planned Brussels RER, with options for a further 50 and 57. Alstom is also bidding to supply EMUs for the Nürnberg S-Bahn. n

CAPTION: X60 train 8 approaches Vechelde during the demonstration run on June 14. Note the roof-mounted equipment and the curved body profile, 2920mm wide at floor and roof levels but opening out to 3250m at elbow height

CAPTION: LEFT: Interior of the X60, showing the 430mm wide seats and the 610mm wide aisle. Under-seat boxes are only found over the bogies. Reflecting short-distance suburban operation, there are no toilets

RIGHT:The stainless steel bodyshell for an X60 driving module takes shape at Salzgitter, showing the crashworthy nose with built-in energy absorption