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ROLLING STOCK


Technology for the future


echnology can transform the effi ciency and reliability of rolling stock, and offer operators the chance to cut costs whilst improving passenger experience.


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South West Trains has been collaborating with Siemens to update their trains with the latest technology to drive effi ciency and cut costs. At a briefi ng event held at Waterloo station on July 4, the two companies described the progress that had been made so far and outlined future developments for the fl eet.


This included the success of various maintenance and energy-saving improvements via RailBAM, the installation of variable stiffness bushes, regenerative braking and heating couplers.


RTM heard from SWT engineering director Christian Roth, Siemens’ manager of innovative technology Nicholas Kay and fl eet director Steve Walker on the equipment that was bringing the trains up to date, to cope with increasing passenger numbers with increasing demands.


Meeting expectations


SWT’s engineering director Christian Roth summarised the reliability of the Desiro fl eet, both Class 444 and 450 trains, saying that


136 | rail technology magazine Aug/Sep 12


“The Class 444 fl eet has an average of one three-minute delay every two days. The Class 450 fl eet has had an average of just one delay every day of the period. That’s the kind of level


RTM’s Dec/Jan 2012 edition looked into the technology in some detail with Christian Roth, after the monitoring system was rolled out to cover the whole SWT fl eet.


the performance fi gures showed “a very good story” over their ten years in service.


“We took the product we bought initially and made an even better product through cost reduction on the maintenance side, on energy consumption and for Network Rail as well. With the alliance going forward, there is defi nitely an opportunity to do more of that kind of thing,” he said.


He acknowledged that the last year has seen some punctuality issues arise from fatalities, cable theft and infrastructure problems, but added: “The fl eet did behave and maintained a very strong, high reliability level, and long may it continue.”


A spokesperson for Siemens agreed that the trains had met their function – modern, reliable and safe rolling stock.


He said: “It’s a fl eet of 172 trains, those trains run over 20 million miles every year. They’re now doing more than 50,000 miles per casualty. In terms of what was expected of them, we’ve delivered on that.


Kate Ashley reports on the latest technological developments at South West Trains.


of performance.”


But simply meeting those targets was not enough, he said, reiterating the importance of newer considerations like reduced energy consumption and increasing capacity to cope with the “fantastic expansion” seen on the railway.


They compared the responsibility of buying and running rolling stock as “a bit like buying a puppy; it’s not just for Christmas”.


Acoustic monitoring


Siemens’ manager of innovative technologies, Nicholas Kay, discussed the benefi ts of acoustic monitoring system RailBAM to move towards a more predictive approach to maintenance.


Emanating from Australia, the technology ‘listens’ to bearings as they pass the system to ascertain their condition. Implemented at two sites, Swaythling near Southampton and Mortlake, the intelligent system (pictured) can identify when a bearing is failing on any of SWT’s trains, and even before this point, as soon as a defect is detected.


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