HS2

24.07.07

First passengers travel on world record train high-speed train

The Siemens-built Velaro E (AVE S 103) high speed train has started operating in Spain on the Madrid-Tarragona and Madrid-Sevilla lines. The Velaro can travel at a speed of 350 km/h and has already reached speeds over 400 km/h during test trips in Spain, making it the fastest series-production high-speed train in the world.

The special characteristics of the new train are its exceptional comfort, video and audio entertainment, and catering for which four on-board galleys were installed. At the front of the train, there is a club class end car with a conference room and a VIP room as well as its own galley. The adjacent preferente class offers high-quality furnishings and individual service on a business class level. The transition to the turista (tourist) class is through the cafeteria car, in which there are rooms for a customer support service, the train personnel and unaccompanied luggage. Nearly all the seats in Velaro E can rotate and thus be turned to face in the direction of travel before the journey begins. Large video displays in all car classes offer a variety of entertainment programs. Furthermore, there are six different audio programs for at-seat listening in stereo quality. Internal and external LED displays supply the passengers with information in several different languages. In terms of train control system, the AVE S 103 is already equipped with the new European standard ETCS (level 2), which is a precondition for cross-border train service.

In terms of technology the Velaro is based on further developments of the successful ICE 3 trainset designed for German Rail (Deutsche Bahn AG). The 26 high-speed Velaro E trains (customer type designation AVE S 103) for Spanish National Railways Renfe were the first order for the Velaro platform from Siemens. In July 2005, Siemens Transportation Systems presented the first Velaro E to the customer in Spain. Of the 26 trains ordered, 18 have meanwhile been delivered. With an output of 8,800 kilowatts, the multiple-unit train reaches a normal operating speed of 350 km/h. With a length of 200 meters, the AVE S 103 has space for 404 passengers in three different classes: Club, Preferente and Turista.

A precursor of the Velaro, the ICE 3, which was built by a consortium led by Siemens, has been operating successfully in Germany since the Expo 2000 and also in the Netherlands. The aim was to use this multiple-unit concept to develop the Velaro in view of the international interest in these trainsets owing to their various advantages over conventional push-and-pull trains: In a multiple-unit train, the traction equipment and all technical modules are arranged under floor and distributed over the entire length of the train. This contrasts with the push-and-pull approach where everything is packed into two locomotives coupled at the front and the rear of the train formation.

For the same length of train, therefore, this means an increase in seating capacity of around 20 percent as the absence of locomotives creates more space for passenger accommodation. The Velaro for China, for example, has room for over 600 passengers. Because 50 percent of the axles are driven directly, the train can accelerate more effective due to better utilization of the coefficient of adhesion. This traction concept enables the train to run on track sections with steeper grades of up to 40 per mille. One additional but equally important advantage is the lighter load on each axle due to the better distribution of weight over the vehicle as a whole. As a result, the vehicle meets the international standard (TSI), which specifies a maximum load of 17 metric tons per axle. The train length of 200 meters enables the Velaro to be used in double-heading or multi-section operation. In the case of the Velaro, a platform concept was chosen that would ensure individual compliance with special customer wishes, such as different car classes, and operating requirements, such as temperature or topographical differences. Due to these features, orders for the Velaro platform have also been placed by China and by Russia.

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