UK: The first of the Class 700 Desiro City electric multiple-unit cars being built by Siemens for use on the Thameslink route through London have been tested at the Rail Tec Arsenal climate chamber at Wien in Austria.

The tests focused on the ability to withstand the effects of temperatures between -25°C and 40°C, solar gain, ice, snow and wind. Tests included:

  • simulated coupling scenarios;
  • traction and brake functionality;
  • exterior CCTV camera performance;
  • ensuring doors can open and close in severe snow and ice;
  • testing windscreen heaters work when the cab windscreen is iced up;
  • ensuring the correct performance of windscreen wipers at speeds up to 160 km/h.

Siemens reports that manufacturing of the EMUs is ‘well underway and on schedule’, with more than 45 bodyshells completed and the first full 12-car train now at the Wildenrath test track.

‘Extreme weather conditions are just part of an intensive test process for the Class 700’, said Iain Smith, Programme Director, Thameslink, at Siemens Rail Systems UK. ‘Each of the 1 140 carriages will also undergo rigorous testing and fault-free mileage accumulation at Wildenrath to ensure the trains are as close to working ‘out of the box’ as possible and ready for passenger service on the important Thameslink routes.’

The first Class 700 is expected to be introduced on the Bedford – Brighton line in early 2016.