Preview of the Railvolution 6/2008

Sm5 Debut - FLIRTs For Helsinki Suburban Service
Until very recently, the remarkable success story of Stadler's FLIRT EMUs was confined to the 1,435 mm gauge, although it has spread its wings beyond Europe. All that changed when in November and December 2008 the first two four-car trains out of an order for 32 were dispatched from the company's Bussnang works to Helsinki.
Finnish gauge at Bussnang station in Switzerland? Not quite. Sm5 001's bogies are riding on diminutive 1,435 mm gauge wheelskates! Photo taken on 24 September 2008.
Photo: Stadler
Tauruses Traverse Czech Tracks
As we reported on page 69 of R 3/08, in June 2008 the type ES64U4-C was granted approval to use the main Czech rail corridors - a milestone in Czech railway history, since these are the first modern three-phase asynchronous traction electrics to receive such permission. Now any operator with this type of locomotive can employ them, without constraint, on services into, or across the country which lies at the rail crossroads of Europe.
During a ČD driver training session, 1216 235 passes through Praha-Klánovice, in the suburbs of the capital, with Ex 572 „Punkva“ Brno - Praha-Holešovice. This section of line has still not been upgraded, even though it forms a vital part of the SŽDC arterial network. Perhaps the Taurus heralds a brighter future for the system? After all, Siemens can be hailed as the pioneer of traction modernisation in the Czech Republic. The first step was taken in 2004, when the manufacturer's Desiro DMU received Czech authorisation. ČD is currently at least planning to hire a batch of these trains for fast middle-distance services on two routes, though until they will really arrive in the country, nothing can be taken as for sure...
Photo: Bohuslav Kotál
Maxima Tested In The Czech Republic And Slovakia
Between 25 and 27 November 2008 the second of the two Maxima 40 CC prototypes (see R 3/07, pp. 42 - 44) made a series of loaded test runs across the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Maxima 40 CC are currently the most powerful diesel locomotives with hydromechanical transmission in the whole world, built by Voith Turbo Lokomotivtechnik of Kiel. Since 2006 they have been undergoing authorisation testing for the EBA, and one of the requirements of the latter is a run over a difficult route with a heavy trailing load, mixing with regular traffic.
East of Poprad-Tatry, between Spišská Nová Ves and Markušovce, the test train heads for Velká Ida on 27 November 2008. On a really clear day the High Tatra would be visible in the background, but on this occasion the peaks are obscured by the low level cloud layers caused by temperature inversions.
Photo: Tomáš Kuchta
InnoTrans 2008, Part 2
This second part of our InnoTrans 2008 review covers the electric and diesel locomotives exhibited. On this occasion, the diesels clearly had the edge over the electrics as far as the number of new faces was concerned. Was this merely a fluke, or does it really mean that in the future many operators will still prefer to rely on diesels - in spite of the dramatic rises in oil fuel prices which continued until autumn 2008?
Two Voith Turbo Lokomotivtechnik products made their public debuts at InnoTrans 2008 - the Voith Maxima 30 CC main line diesel and the very first Voith Gravita. The Maxima 30 CC is a somewhat less powerful version of the 40 CC, which was exhibited in 2006, and like the latter machine has a prime mover supplied by ABC. On the Voith exhibition stand there was also a model of the future Maxima 20 BB - a smallish Bo'Bo' designed for main work, and a response to interest shown by FS and a recent and long-anticipated invitation to tender by DB for a batch of four-axle machines in the power range 2,000 to 2,200 kW. Full details of what the Maxima 20 BB will eventually look like have yet to be released, but it will be a mixed-traffic machine.
Photo: Petr Kadeřávek
Sapsan - The First 1,520 mm Gaugue Velaro
Since July 2007 the Siemens works at Krefeld has been busy building the eight Velaro RUS high speed trains ordered by RZD - the first to be designed for operation on the 1,520 mm gauge, the first to comprise ten rather than eight cars, the first of dual voltage (3/25 kV), and the first designed to operate off DC overhead.
On 22 November 2008 the first Velaro RUS to be delivered passes through Tosno en route to its new home at the TCh 10 depot in Metallostroy.
Photo: Konstantin Menshikov
Over the past few years, NEWAG Nowy Sącz has undertaken radical reconstructions of elderly Class EN57 EMUs for SKM Warszawa. Building upon the experience gained through this, the company has now developed its own modern EMU design, a striking vehicle with the type designation 19WE which caused many heads to turn when it made its public debut at InnoTrans 2008.
19WE-01 on the Zmigród test track near Wrocław on 17 August 2008.
Photo: Waldemar Szulc
ZSSK Modernises Passenger Fleet
ZSSK has not hit the headlines very often over recent years in the field of passenger rolling stock modernisation and replacement programmes. Soon after the turn of the millennium, the Slovakian national operator acquired a small batch of GTW 2/6 EMUs and DMUs, and since then a few small batches of new carriages have been purchased and others refurbished.
Celebrations at ŽOS Vrútky on 4 December 2008 when the first of the current batch of five Ampeer carriages was handed over to ZSSK. More of these will soon be ordered. In terms of design, the Ampeer is very similar to the second class Bmpeer (see R 4/08, pp. 71 - 72), measuring 26,400 mm in length over buffers, riding on Siemens bogies designed for a maximum speed of 200 km/h, and fitted with air conditioning. The lower view shows the comfortable 2 + 1 bay seating supplied by the Czech manufacturer Borcad.
Photo: Tomáš Kuchta
And much more!
Cover of 6/2008

Features: D20E-003 on 17 December 2007 at Hai Van ("Sky") Pass, the highest point of the line which links Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City.