posted on 6th Feb 2023 10:45
The m2 project was officially presented in September 2020 and has been moving forward since then, so wouldn’t there be a covid break, it would probably have already had more public presentations. It was developed in cooperation of DB Cargo and VTG and its basis is the concept of the construction of wagons, based on the idea of a separate platform wagon and exchangeable superstructures. However the main and rather atypical aspect is the construction of the wagons, in more circumstances.
Especially in the fact that it consists of three segments, two head stocks and one centre beam. The latter is designed with the visible aim of minimizing weight and can be of variable length according to the customer's request, or nature of use. The head stocks and centre beam are connected by bolted joins, which allows for the replacement of the centre beam at a later time. The adaption of the loading length is expected to be undertaken in such cases, when the wagon has been used for a long-term and the intial operation puropse needs to be changed stretegically.
The first wagons started tests in spring 2020 and the approval process by ERA was completed in 2021. The homologation is applicable to any value in the range between 10.8 m and 22.66 m loading length, within which the portfolio of variants is planned. Therefore once some of other versions will be placed on market, new approval procedure will not be required. Subject of the certification is plain basic core wagon, in which the centre eam is just a relatively slim backbone. Therefore more structures will usually be mounted, depending on needs arisen from kind of transported load. Usually, these are crossbeams mounted on sides and outer longitudinal beams. Once these are mounted, the loading surface in usual appearance is complete.
The head stock and centre beam are joined by 30 screws - as can be partly seen in one of the photos, there are seven in each of two vertical joins and eight in each of two horizontal joins. The other photo shows look into inside of the centre beam. This backbone is formed of welded parts, for example 12 m long centre beam is made of only eight parts, joined by welds optimized for robot welding. The screws on sides join it with the crossbeams. These can be seen on the third photo. The crossbeams are smaller segments of a triangle shape, mounted by screws perpendicularly to the centre beam. On the outer top side of the crossbeam, outer longitudinal beam is screwed.
The first batches were produced in 2021, with five wagons of a 45‘ version and 45 wagons of a 74‘ version, followed by a further 50 of a 45‘ version and 20 of a 74‘ version in 2022. Production and operation are only taking place with the respective two length versions at the moment. However, they have already undergone construction modification, optimization for an easier robotic welding procedure for both central and end parts. Therefore starting with the 2023 production, the centre beam will feature quite diferent structure, reminding warren truss shape. These modifications do also have impacts on the specifications described here. The plan is to build 95 wagons in 2023, with the length variants not yet firmly decided.
Both of the versions were exhibited. As all versions are covered under single certification, the class designation is uniformly Uas224.
The shorter exhibited wagon was 31 80 9300 055. It has length over buffers 15.22 m, distance between bogies’ pivots 9.68 m, top speed of 100/120 km/h when loaded/empty. Tare weight of the basic core wagon is 17.5 t and actuall tare weight is 18.3 t, including the crossbeams and outer longitudinal beams. Therefore the highest possible payload, including two superstructures and load itself, is 71.7 t.
Two containers were placed on this wagon, demonstrating two main kinds of goods, for which this length version is determined. Both are 20‘ long, 8,5‘ high, 4.5 t heavy and enabling 30.5 t payload, maximal allowed overal weight therefore being 35 t. Both were built by WECON, while development of that one for transport of scrap was financially supported by German Federal ministery for digital and transport.
One of them was Coil container designed to carry steel coils. Its loading space includes three cradles, for coils with a diameter of 780 - 1,650 mm and a maximum weight of 15 t (both extreme cradles), or 780 - 2,100 mm and a maximum weight of 30 t (middle one).
The second container is designed for scrap, this being actually open top container of robust structure made of Hardox steel. It can be fully opened on one end for unloading purposes and there are smal doors in each of the sidewall for cleaning purposes.
In case of the 74‘ wagon (31 80 9300 050 was the exhibited one), length over buffers is 23.9 m, distance between bogies’ pivots 18.36 m, top speed of 100/120 km/h when loaded/empty. This length version is primarily intended for transport of timber. It is therefore fitted with many additional structures - not just crossbeams and outer longitudinal beams, but the loading surface is covered by metal sheets to avoid rests of timber to fall in the waggon structure, and there is also 14 pairs of stanchions and between the stachions, there are protecting thresholds (13 in total).
Therefore weight of the plain wagon is 20.0 t but overal tare weight is 25.8 t, resulting in a payload of 64.2 t. Surface of the waggon is 1,170 mm above TOR (which is of course the same for any version). In this case, the actual loading surface is given by the thresholds, with surface 1,345 mm above TOR. Top ends of the stachions are 3,240 mm above TOR. These structures were built by WECON, too.
While the project was developed in cooperation of DB Cargo and VTG, each of these develop their use and marketing separately, as well as the construction takes place separately.
DB Cargo builds its wagons in its own DB Cargo Polska rolling stock repair works in Rybnik in Poland. Just the core wagons are assembled there, while the additional structures are mounted in German works according to suitable capacities and locations. Many of the last year’s productions are yet to be fitted with the additional structures and are used for customers’ presentations, so the project is not yet frequent appearance in the everyday traffic.
VTG is progressing independently, however has so far built, in its Waggonbau Graaff site, just two prototypes of the version of 12.04 m length over buffers (34,7‘ loading length) and one prototype of articulated eight-axle wagon of 23.48 m length over buffers (2 x 34,7‘ loading length), therefore different versions than those of DB Cargo.