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UK's first freight locomotive with ETCS modules begins dynamic testing

UK's first freight locomotive with ETCS modules begins dynamic testing

As a step towards modernizing the country's rail network for freight trains, Network Rail has begun dynamic trials with the UK's first locomotive fitted with ETCS modules. Siemens Mobility, commissioned by Network Rail five years ago to equip 745 locomotives with ETCS (European Train Control System) internal systems, has now reached a new milestone in the project.

The first locomotive in the series, a DB Cargo Class 66 locomotive named 66039, recently underwent successful static testing and was taken to the Rail Innovation and Development Center (RIDC) in Leicestershire for dynamic testing. These tests are necessary to ensure that the locomotive can handle the new technology under real driving conditions. RIDC's facilities have been specially prepared for ETCS testing and the locomotive will undergo extensive testing in the coming weeks.

ETCS for future rail transport

The ETCS system is a central part of the modernization of the railway network and aims to improve efficiency and safety through digital signalling. By introducing this technology in freight trains, it is hoped that the length, speed and weight of the trains can be increased, which can reduce the number of truck traffic on the roads and thus reduce traffic pollution. The expected outcome is more sustainable and efficient freight transport by rail.

Challenges and progress

The process from the start of the renovation to today's dynamic tests has taken 16 months to complete, and the implementation of this pilot project requires careful collaboration between various parties. Once the engine has passed the 66039 dynamic tests, it must run regularly for 8,000 km to meet the strict requirements for regulatory approvals.

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A milestone for the future

Both Neil Ethell, Operations Director of DB Cargo UK and Rob Morris, Director of Siemens Mobility UK have expressed their commitment and satisfaction with the progress of the project and the significant impact that ETCS will have on the future. The project is not only a technical achievement but also an example of how digitization can promote sustainable transport systems.

In the coming years, more locomotives are planned to be fitted with ETCS, which will revolutionize freight transport on railways by running without traditional signals. This transformation is an important step towards creating a more integrated and efficient European rail system.

Source: LOK-Report