Siemens Vectron loco trialled in Channel Tunnel

Published 14th February 2013

Successful tests prove a single loco is capable of safely handling trains between France and England

Siemens has successfully trialled a Vectron Bo-Bo electric locomotive in the Channel Tunnel as part of gaining acceptance to haul through trains between France and England. The locomotive No. 193 922 hauled a test train under its own power in the tunnel during the night of January 25-26.

The tests were part of efforts by Eurotunnel to develop cross-channel rail freight and they validated the compatibility of the locomotive with the systems and safety regulations applying to the Channel Tunnel.

They were carried out with the Vectron AC locomotive in standard configuration but with its two German pantographs replaced by ones suitable for the tunnel. The trails confirmed that the Vectron can operate without any problems pulling trains of 1,350 metric tons up the steep gradients in the Channel Tunnel.

The loco entered the French portal in the late evening on January 25 to perform a series of traction, brake and pantograph tests. It then went through to Folkestone before reversing, carrying out more tests and emerging back in France before dawn on January 26.

Approval of the Vectron Class means that four-axle locos can be used for cross-Channel freight in addition to the purpose-built Class 92 six-axles locos currently in use with DBS, GBRf and SNCF.

The exercise follows similar trials with an Alstom Prima II loco in September 2012.

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