- Siemens starts Rhine-Ruhr Express test program
- Digitized train technology
- Service planned beginning in late 2018
Siemens presented the first prototype of the Rhine-Ruhr Express (RRX) today. The testing of the multiple-unit electric train will now begin at the Siemens Test and Validation Center (PCW) in Wegberg-Wildenrath. All seven pre-series trains will be commissioned at the PCW and complete extensive tests in the coming months before undertaking their first test runs in the public railway network. The RRX is scheduled to enter service in the greater Rhine-Ruhr region at the end of 2018.
Sabrina Soussan, CEO of Siemens’ business with high-speed and regional trains and locomotives, said:
“The start of tests at the PCW shows that we’re right on schedule with the RRX project. We’re testing here whether the trains are fit for their daily service in and between the cities in North Rhine-Westphalia. Each train of the entire RRX fleet will be commissioned right here, virtually on the doorstep of the public rail network.”
Siemens was commissioned in March 2015 by the special-purpose associations Nahverkehr Rheinland (NVR), Nahverkehr Westfalen-Lippe (NWL), Schienenpersonennahverkehr Rheinland-Pfalz Nord (SPNV-Nord), the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr (VRR) and the Nordhessischer Verkehrsverbund (NVV) to deliver 82 multiple-unit electric Desiro HC trains and provide their maintenance for a period of 32 years. The order has a total volume of over €1.7 billion.
Siemens has developed a new design for the RRX fleet based on the successful Desiro platform. The train’s concept combines premium features with state-of-the-art technology. Each train consists of four cars; the first and last as end car and driving trailer have one passenger deck, while the two middle cars are double-deckers. Each train has a seating capacity of 400. The trains are designed in a white, grey, black and orange color scheme. The design of the RRX continues into the interior, where generous sight lines and large windows provide a pleasant atmosphere. In addition, the RRX has Wi-Fi access and socket outlets throughout the train, folding tables and reading lights in first-class, as well as advanced information systems and energy-efficient traction units and air-conditioning.
The trains not only offer excellent passenger comfort, but optimal availability throughout their lifecycle. Modern data communication provides a continuous dialogue between the trains and their service facility. As part of the predictive maintenance concept, potential technical faults can be rectified before they actually occur. By taking over the lifecycle service and maintenance of the RRX, Siemens guarantees over 99-percent availability for scheduled operation. With a top speed of 160 km/h and a driver assistance system for look-ahead braking and acceleration, the RRX will ensure optimal traffic flows on heavily traveled routes in the Rhine-Ruhr region.
New Siemens technology to enhance mobile signal reception in the Rhein-Ruhr Express
- Special coating on windowpanes significantly improves reception
- Rhein-Ruhr Express first train worldwide with the new technology
- Maintenance-free, cost-effective solution
The Rhein-Ruhr Express (RRX), a train for Germany’s Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region, will be the world’s first train in series production to feature a new radio-frequency windowpane solution from Siemens that massively improves mobile phone reception in trains. The new windows on the RRX will allow radio waves to pass through up to 500 times more easily than is the case with conventional thermal insulation glazing. As a result, passengers will be able, for the first time, to surf the Internet and make telephone calls freely without the need for special cellular-signal amplifiers (in-train repeaters). Train operators will also profit from the new technology: in new vehicles, the windowpane solution is significantly more cost-effective than installing in-train repeaters.
Without repeater modules in the cars, it has been very difficult to achieve good cellular reception in many trains. These reception issues are caused by the vehicles’ windowpanes, whose metallic coating provides protection against heat and solar radiation. Unfortunately, heat and solar rays are not the only things that the windowpanes reflect. Other electro-magnetic waves are also blocked. As a result, the cars act like Faraday cages. In high-speed trains, blockage is 99.9 effective.
Siemens researchers in Vienna have now developed a special windowpane coating that allows radio signals to pass through unhindered. This is made possible by a fine pattern that the scientists apply with the help of lasers to the panes’ electrically conductive, transparent layer.
Lukas W. Mayer, project head at Siemens Corporate Technology,said:
“This approach massively improves signal-reception levels for mobile terminal devices in trains. In high-speed trains, our solution enables us to increase signal strength in cellular frequency bands by at least 50 times. The panes also allow all frequencies useful for mobile communication to pass through. What’s more, future mobile standards like 5G will be immediately available without additional investment.”
The new technology will also pay off for train operators. The windowpanes can be used for decades without maintenance. They are easy to install and – unlike in-train repeaters – require no electric current. In new vehicles, they are also more cost-effective. Existing cars can be retrofitted at any time. The panes can be installed in all rail vehicles with thermal protective glazing: the fine pattern in the coating is almost invisible.
The first prototype of an electric multiple unit equipped with the new windowpane technology for the RRX was unveiled today at Siemens’ test and validation center (PCW) in Wegberg-Wildenrath, Germany. In the months to come, a total of seven pre-series units will be put into operation at the PCW, where they will complete a comprehensive test program before making their first trial runs on the public rail network. The RRX is scheduled to begin passenger service in the Greater Rhine-Ruhr Region at the end of 2018.