posted on 13th Mar 2023 18:20
At InnoTrans 2022, one of the wagons on display impressed with its very unusual design and construction. It was the Extended Market Wagon (EMW), the first result of the Competitive Freight Wagon (CFW) project. It is developed under financial support of Shift2Rail, within FR8RAIL IV project under Shift2Rail IP5 (Technologies for Sustainable & Attractive European Rail Freight) chapter. Of the total project value 17,705,028 EUR, cofunding to the tune of 7,829,217 EUR was granted.
The wagon is branded as „Extended Market Wagon“ with the supported project, this name emphasizing that the idea is to increase the railway’s market share. The main project participants are DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V. - German Aerospace Center), CEIT (a non-profit technology centre run by Universidad de Navarra), ConTraffic (Berlin-based consultancy company), VDB (Verband der Bahnindustrie in Deutschland - German Railway Industry Association), CAF, Dellner and Knorr-Bremse. The project is running since 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2023, so approaching to its end.
The Competitive Freight Wagon project includes three length variants of two-axle wagons, depending on kind of intermodal units being primarily transported:
- 12.7 m long, tailored for transport of maritime containers (40ft/2 TEU per wagon, 56 wagons/112 TEU per train);
- 14.3 m long, tailored for transport of Type A swapbodies. These are of three length variants - 12.192 m, 12.5 m and 13.6 m long. 50 wagons are coupled in the train, hence carrying the same number of swapbodies;
- 16.5 m long, tailored for transport of Type C swapbodies. These are of three length variants too – 7.15 m, 7.45 m and 7.82 m long. 44 wagons are coupled in the train, so that offering capacity of 88 swapbodies. This length variant was the exhibit, Extended Market Wagon, the first one construcuted so far. In particular its exact length over couplings is 16.84 m.
Train length of 750 m including locomotive is foreseen, so this determines the number of wagons in the rake as stated above. The overal aim of the CFW initiative is not just the new design of intermodal wagon, but also an operational concept. Not just usual point-to-point operation, but also closed train loop operation of block trains is foreseen.
This means circle operation of unchanged composition of wagons while the intermodal units are exchanged in the terminals served en route. Layout of the terminals shall therefore allow the train to pass through it, without the need to use another locomotive for shunting, the train entering and leaving the terminal using its mainline locomotive, and with the highest possible degree of automation during reloading.
The innovative ideas applied for the design of EMW include:
- Maximum utilisation of the train length for loading length. This requires the shortest possible space between ends of loading areas. Wheelsets have a 850 mm diameter, so that the loading deck can be just 990 mm above TOR, so that intermodal units up to height of high cube containers (9‘ 6‘‘ high) can be transported on lines up to G2 loading gauge.
- High energy efficiency through low-weight design, improved aerodynamics and better running dynamics. The weight of just around 11.8 t was only achieved by optimising the design, using the standard universal structural steel S355J2, so as not to increase production costs.
- The improved aerodynamics is achieved by shields covering the sides of underframe area, which also was presented on one side of the wagon.
- For the target of better running dynamics, the undercarriage includes many unstandard features. Uniqely for the freight traffic, single-axle bogies are used, with secondary air suspension. Their primary suspension is provided by rubber-metal blocks and furthermore, the bogie is linked with the wagon by damper of lateral forces and a pair of traction rods, which transfer the longitudinal and lateral forces between the wagon and the bogie. They are arranged diagonally so that their elongation forms a virtual pivot point in the middle of the wagon’s frame, this enabling a load-independent radial steering of the wheelset in the curves of small radii.
- lmproved train dynamics for daytime access to the network. Operating speed of 140 km/h is foreseen, the wagons being equipped with ep-brake control, to optimize its dynamics and acceleration. Disc brakes are installed.
The Type 5 DAC is foreseen to utilise all advantages and full automation potential that the DAC project can bring. This wagon was therefore one of many on the exhibition area fitted with automatic coupling, however only this one was the case of the level 5 - remotely controlled coupling.
The current EMW is finished from a structural point of view and the next step will be testing the wagon. DLR is currently scouting for testing opportunities to perform running tests, for example to verify that the wagon is able to take tight turns or S-curves and has stable running behaviour.