High-Speed Tilting trains

Tilting Trains

Switzerland and Great Britain are the recent European nations to implement fresh trains using tilt technology to boost speeds and decrease travel times without devoted high-speed lines being built.

Tilting train revolution

Although the two nations are just entering the tilt revolution, many other nations have already seen the advantages that tilting trains can add to' classic' routes where building fresh high-speed railways is not feasible.

Italy was an early proponent of tilting technology in the 1960s and created it throughout the 1970s before its first manufacturing cars were introduced.

British Rail was also a tilt pioneer with its Advanced Passenger Train (APT), which was disgracefully abandoned in the mid-1980s after many years of expensive growth.

Since BR left tilt, Fiat in Italy and Adtranz in Sweden have further created the technology and shipped it to a variety of nations. In Italy, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, Finland and the UK, Italian' Pendolino' railways are now in operation or on experiment. In Sweden, Germany, Norway, Japan, Australia and the USA, other tilting trains are in operation.

SBB tilting trains for the Lausanne-Zurich-St Gallen route

In June 2001, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) launched its InterCity Neigezug (ICN) InterCity Neigezug (now Bombardier)/Fiat tilting train on the Lausanne-Zurich-St Gallen path into periodic operation. SBB was permitted to implement a half-hour frequency between Lausanne and Zurich by the seven-car trains.

Locomotive-hauled trains have been maintained on the smaller, quicker track via Bern, but line changes and ICN's tilt capacity imply that the same travel time can now be reached on the longer Pied du Jura track via Neuchatel. Two ICN systems operate as 14-car trains that can seat more than 900 travelers together. The trains ' maximum speed is 200 km/h (120 mph).

The 24 trains are now running as they should after a lengthy and often hard implementation, and SBB has verified that they have ordered another ten, with an alternative for another ten if necessary.

Tilting trains in the United Kingdom

Virgin Trains operates UK tilting technology facilities. Virgin Cross Country has launched its 221 Super Voyager diesel trains in the Bombardier Class since 2002. The West Coast Main Line (WCML) introduces Class 390 Pendolino EMUs constructed by Alstom using Fiat tilt technologies.

At Alstom's Asfordby test path in Leicestershire, the first two pre-series Class 390 trains were thoroughly evaluated and transferred to the WCML in October 2001 for regular tests between Carlisle and Carnforth. Alstom handed over the first manufacturing cars to Virgin on timetable and on budget in December 2001.

The first trains joined operation between Manchester and Stafford in July 2002 after pre-service trials at Asfordby, followed in 2003 by complete service between London, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and Scotland.

The 390s have a maximum speed of 225 km/h (140 mph), but will initially run between London, the northwest of England and Scotland at 200 km/h (125 mph). On completion of the West Coast Route Modernization in 2006, full velocity was scheduled. However, after the crash of infrastructure proprietor Railtrack in October 2001, this now seems unlikely. The maximum of 200 km/h (125 mph) is probably now, but even this is delayed and the 390s will run at 177 km/h (110 mph) until the infrastructure upgrades are completed in 2003.

In the meantime, Bombardier's first diesel-electric 221 units were being tested in Belgium and France and in December 2001 the first train was handed over to Virgin. A total of 40 5 cars and 4 4 221 4 cars enter service gradually in early 2002-03.

They are fitted with 750hp (560kW) engines that power Alstom's internal bogie three-phase traction engines. The cars have swing socket gates that are hydraulically driven, but the absence of gangways between the nose ends implies that it is necessary to maintain two distinct catering equipment.

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