Spring in ZC Velim: Southern European offensive and an exotic customer

Spring months in Cerhenice brought a great interest in test driving vehicles, new customers and also one long-term track closure. From the beginning of April, track 3a, which is not among the longest and most important track sidings, was closed for all rail operations for about three months.

Though in pieces, a viewing channel is found in a section of this track, where it is possible to get under the vehicle’s carriage. It is partially equipped with traction wires, so it is widely used for letting wagons and locomotives idle as well as for stationary tests and preparation of tests (for example braking). With regards to test-driving vehicles, the Italian and Spanish flags again flew side by side above the courtyard for a set period of time. The Spanish company Stadler continued to test the electric locomotive UK DUAL, which is equipped with a diesel motor. Since this was the first dual locomotive Stadler had manufactured at its plant in Valencia it was necessary to carry out a validation of the control software’s new functionality, such as the transfer from electric mode to diesel and back or tuning the automatic speed regulation.

The testing period was also used as a first possibility to show the customer, the freight company DRS, how the locomotive performed and to let the customer get an initial feel for its operation. Only about 1400 km from Stadler’s plant in Valencia in the Southern Italian city of Reggio di Calabria, is located the manufacturing plant of Hitachi Rail. And six brand new wagon models have just arrived in Cerhenice from here. The customer this time selected not an entirely traditional means of transport whereby the individual wagon models were shipped in two stages by flatbed truck and assembled and coupled in ZC. Between the arrival of the first three wagons and the remaining part more than half a month elapsed. Right at the end of June the whole unit was completely prepared for its preliminary tests and subsequently for the start of all planned tests.

When we mentioned an exotic customer at the beginning, we did not have Stadler or Hitachi in mind but rather the future operator of this new model. An Italian manufacturer obtained this tender from the Ministerio de Transportes y Comunicaciones (MTC) and the train will be operated in the South American city of Lima, the capital of Peru. The tender was for fully-automated metropolitan trains, each of which is comprised of six wagons from which four are motorpowered and two ordinary. The total distance is 107 metres with a maximum operational speed of 80 km/h. Tests at ZC Velim are planned up to a maximum speed of 90km/h. 42 trains in total were ordered, which will ensure the transport of commuters on two recently built lines on Lima’s metropolitan railway system. Since the beginning of May, the tests of a brand spanking new locomotive with serial no. 109E3, which will be labelled nationally with the serial no. 102 DB, have started taking place at full steam.

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