16. May 2022

High-tech drive systems for railway applications: Part 2 - ...

Development of a completely new, speed-controlled drive system for railway applications

Milan Central Station: 4 o'clock (p.m.) and one of Europe's fastest trains, the Frecciarossa1000, is already waiting for its passengers on platform no. 1. I'm standing on the platform and I'm on my way to Rome. The passengers will arrive in Rome, Termini station, after only 3 hours and 10 minutes of travel. In the past, they took twice as long to travel the 477 km route.

In the high-speed shuttle through Italy: From Rome to Milan at almost 300 kilometers per hour

I work at VEM. My company produces electric motors, also for the railroad industry. Together with partners, VEM developed a drive that cools the traction motor of the high-tech train. In the first part, I reported about the development of our speed-controlled drive system. Bombardier Transportation presented a model of the train in which our drive system is installed at InnoTrans in 2012 for the first time. The high level of interest in the model indicated even then that the new high-speed train would be very popular among future passengers. Now I can see the advantages of the train for myself, which offers a high level of comfort and also enjoys a reputation for punctuality, safety and reliability. In addition the Frecciarossa1000 has active lateral suspension and dispenses with a tilting system, which makes traveling much more comfortable.

With its aerodynamic design, it runs much quieter and is well suited for high acceleration and for use on curvy routes. It travels on many routes, connecting metropolitan areas from the north of Italy to the southern tip of Italy with unsurpassed speed. For example, it shuttles between: Turin - Milan - Reggio Emilia AV - Bologna - Florence - Rome - Naples - Salerno - and Reggio Calabria.

I'm sitting comfortably in the adjustable leather chair, enjoying a cappuccino, and hardly notice the high speed of 300 km/h that the train travels on one of the high-speed routes to Bologna just 15 minutes after leaving Milan. WLAN, a meeting room with conference technology, plenty of space for passengers and their luggage define the interior. There are screens in all the wagons displaying information about the journey. Dining wagon, bar-restaurants and exclusive travel services in executive and business class are also part of the equipment to make traveling as pleasant as possible for all passengers. Families traveling to visit another city, commuters, and me are delighted with the service.

Test drive of the Frecciarossa1000 - compact drives cool reliably

I remember, that on March 26, 2013, the first train was presented to the public at Ansaldo-Breda's plant in Pistoia. After that, one train was equipped with measuring equipment to test it for possible faults on the railroad test circuit Velim. The other 4 trains ran on the Italian rail network. During the test runs, our compact drives from the series: M21 AST BAH also proved their worth. At Expo 2015, the first 6 trains were released for regular railroad traffic.

The 200 m long train consists of eight wagons. Every second wagon is driven by four traction motors. To ensure that the motors work reliably and are properly cooled in very hot conditions, they are equipped with a cooling system in which our drive operates. When the train starts, the ambient temperature can be as high as 70°C. In case of such extreme ambient temperatures, as they occur in the southern Italian summer when leaving stations after standing for several minutes, our drive must be able to deliver full power for 10 minutes. The underbody-mounted drive and its control electronics are also subjected to high temperature shocks when entering or leaving tunnels. To ensure that the train's 16 traction motors can withstand these immense loads at full load, our compact drive is used. To guarantee this, compliance with railroad standards is also part of the job. Our series M21... AST ... BAH meets all requirements, which can be viewed with further information about the drive on our website under the link: Product info M21ASTBAH. In addition, the traction motors as well as the cooling system are mounted on the underbody and have to withstand extreme vibration and shock loads that occur during acceleration at start, during travel and during stopping.

Within the next few years, our drives will be replaced during the general maintenance of the first 50 trains. We attach great importance to particularly efficient and resource-saving solutions.

In the meantime, we are slowing down again. We are now at the gates of Rome. The train driver needs a distance of about four kilometers to stop the train with its weight of 1,000 tons plus passengers and their luggage. My journey continues as well as the development of our compact drive. Be curious about the third part.

Link 1 (graphic): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gm1kUMdPiBs

Link 2 (graphic): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F63ybnjs7cY

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