škoda 2024


posted on 25th Dec 2023 10:52

Recently, for the first time, the on-board ETCS was retrofitted to the TRAXX locomotives already in service without the involvement of the manufacturer of these locomotives, i. e. Alstom (originally Bombardier Transportation). These were DB Cargo‘s 185 397 and 399 and the Type GUARDIA ETCS OBU according to Baseline 3.4.0. from Angelstar, a Stadler/MerMec joint venture, was used. 

Stadler, DB and Angelstar were involved in the whole process, the installations were carried out in the Uwe Adam depot in Eisenach. The GUARDIA OBUs are manufactured by Angelstar in Mola di Bari, Italy (i. e. near Bari in south-eastern Italy).

The prototype installation on 185 397 had to overcome a particularly complex legislative process to get the locomotive (re)approved, so the retrofit took from October 2020 to July 2021, but ERA approval for this „First of Class“ was only achieved in October 2023. For the first series installation on 185 399, the approval was already much simpler, as it is a so-called Conformity to Type (C2T). Here the installation was simultaneous to 185 397, but C2T approval took only one week. This is how all future retrofits will be carried out.

Both vehicles were then tested on the German network, including running in double traction of locomotives with and without the retrofitted ETCS OBU. In October 2023, ERA issued type approval for the operation of the Class 185.2  machines with GUARDIA ETCS in Germany, which included EBA assessment, and both locomotives are now back in service. 

In this way, the companies involved want to simplify and speed up ETCS OBU retrofits, as the capacity of the manufacturers is one of the bottlenecks for ETCS installations, with around 13,000 vehicles in Germany due to be retrofitted in the next few years. The possibility of retrofitting ETCS OBUs to vehicles already in service without the involvement of the original manufacturers of these vehicles thus opens up new capacities and contributes significantly to the introduction of ETCS in Germany.

Stadler Signalling is now also executing a contract for DB Netz, which awarded the contract in June 2022 to retrofit on-board ETCS to up to 80 special vehicles. In the first phase, the GUARDIA Baseline 3.6.0. will be retrofitted to eight Class 711.1 railcars and Class 741 draisines, which are to be returned to service in 2024. The contract includes an option for up to 72 additional vehicles.

The first ever GUARDIA at Deutsche Bahn was installed in the Class 605 ICE-TD Advanced Train Lab in 2022. Up to now, Stadler has mainly dealt with orders for the installation of the on-board ETCS on its own vehicles. The first retrofit order was received in 2020 from Arriva Nederland for 36 FLIRT EMUs, which are also used for international services from the Netherlands to Belgium and Germany.

GUARDIA has already been approved in 14 European countries and is currently in operation on trains of operators in Germany, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

We asked Stadler, if the other ETCS manufacturers are complaining about capacity bottlenecks, does Stadler have enough of such capacity for third parties? The company answered us: „Stadler Signalling is working and has capacity to provide solutions for third party vehicles conversion to ETCS. Projects such as the Class 185.2 GUARDIA conversion has demonstrated how a colaborative approach between ETCS OBU manufacturers, installation companies, operators and authorities works.“

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