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Focus: New design in action

Italian railway construction is getting “greener”

The railways are one of the most environmentally-friendly means of transport. For RFI (Rete Ferroviaria Italiana), responsible for the railway network and the railway infrastructure of the Italian railways, this means: Not just the railways themselves, but also construction and maintenance are to become “greener” and more environmentally friendly.

Francesco Ventura Costruzioni Ferroviarie Srl

has its head office in Rome and its operational office in Paola in Calabria. The company is characterised by a high degree of mechanisation, which is certainly unique in Southern Italy, and offers solutions in all areas of railway construction. A large equipment pool is available for narrow gauge in particular.

RFI increasingly deploys our E³ technology, our new drive concept which allows the machine to be driven by a diesel engine as well as an electric motor. The electric energy from the contact wire is used by the machine, both in driving and working mode.

E³ technology provides ecological benefits

In Southern Italy, lines have many tunnel sections. Here the E³ technology provides great benefits with regard to pollutant reduction when in electric operation. With the new Unimat 09-32/4S Dynamic E³, the construction company Francesco Ventura is well prepared for future invitations to tender, in particular if greater demands are made with regard to environmental pollution. This results in a clear potential for new orders.

The machine provides ecological benefits with its low pollutant emissions and the savings in fossil fuel consumption. The hybrid drive also reduces the noise pollution so that the machine is ideally suited for use in urban areas and for night work.

The continuous action 2-sleeper track and turnout tamping machine was delivered at the end of summer 2018. It is stationed in Sibari in Calabria; its operational area covers all of Southern Italy. After setting up and commissioning, the machine is now used for regular site work.

The two-part machine consists of the tamping machine and the hybrid drive car with the stabilising units. It is one of the first machines with the new modern and ergonomic cab design, in keeping with Plasser & Theurer's Modular Customizing style.

It is equipped with the proven 2-sleeper universal tamping units in split-head design for plain line track and turnouts. They make it possible to tamp turnouts over the complete area, including parts which are particularly difficult to tamp, such as frog, wing rails, check rails and similar.

Electric test runs on the Velim test circuit (Czechia)

The new Unimat 09-32/4S Dynamic E³ was subjected to extensive test runs on the Velim train test circuit in summer 2018 before travelling to take up duty in Italy. This test circuit for railway vehicles is located in Czechia, about 50 km east of Prague.

The test circuit consists of two connected loops. The smaller loop is about 4 km long and allows running speeds of up to 90 km/h. The larger loop of slightly more than 13 km in length (radius 1,400 m, cant 150 mm) is approved for speeds up to 210 km/h (up to 230 km/h for vehicles with tilt technology). For test runs with electric locomotives and power cars, the overhead line system can be switched to any electric system common in Europe. Direct current 3,000/1,500/750 Volts, alternating current 25 kV 50 Hz/15 kV 16.7 Hz.

Most of the tests with the Unimat were related to the built-in electrical systems (3 kV direct current system and a 25 kV, 50 Hz alternating current system).

The following tests were carried out and completed successfully:

  • Maximum power consumption of machines in the 3 kV system and in the 25 kV 50 Hz system
  • Recovery of brake energy
  • Simulation of maximum current consumption in the 3 kV system during working mode
  • Brake tests
  • Noise tests
  • EMC tests
  • Test of switch-over diesel traction – electric traction
  • Joint simulation
  • Tests of various fault situations

This test circuit is in high demand by all large manufacturers of railway vehicles. For Plasser & Theurer, its proximity to the production facility in Linz is an advantage.