Euro­tun­nel to in­tro­duce three new freight shut­tle sets

Rail (UK) - - Network News -

Euro­tun­nel is adding 20% more ca­pac­ity to its cross-chan­nel freight op­er­a­tion with the in­tro­duc­tion of three more 800-me­tre-long lorry shut­tles.

Built by Wag­gonbau Niesky in eastern Ger­many at a cost of 40 mil­lion eu­ros (£33.9m), the trains fea­ture three load­ing wag­ons and 32 lorry car­ri­ers (nine load­ers and 96 flats in to­tal) and are Euro­tun­nel’s first new rolling stock since 1999. The or­der in­cludes an op­tion for two more sets, which look likely to be re­quired as the com­pany aims to carry two mil­lion lor­ries per year by 2020.

The or­der in­cludes three types of wagon: a 25.2-me­tre end loader, a 24.85-me­tre mid­dle loader, and a 20-me­tre car­rier flats with raised crew/driver walk­ways ei­ther side of the cen­tral road­way.

Power for the three new trains will be pro­vided by lo­co­mo­tives from the ex­ist­ing fleet of 57 Brush Bo-Bo-Bo electrics. How­ever, ex­tra lo­co­mo­tives may be re­quired later if the op­tions are taken up, in­creas­ing the com­bined pas­sen­ger and freight shut­tle fleet to 27 trains and leav­ing just three spare lo­co­mo­tives.

The re­sult of a three-year de­vel­op­ment project, us­ing ex­pe­ri­ence gained with the six orig­i­nal Breda trains and nine Ar­bel freight shut­tles dat­ing from 1999, these ‘third gen­er­a­tion’ ve­hi­cles are built for Euro­tun­nel’s unique (and ex­tremely in­ten­sive) oper­at­ing con­di­tions.

De­liv­ered by road from Ger­many, the first set has been in trial use since Fe­bru­ary 20, un­der­tak­ing 220 hours and 6,000km of dy­namic test­ing, since when it has com­pleted 1,000 ‘mis­sions’ and car­ried 20,000 lor­ries, cov­er­ing more than 58,000km in ser­vice. A sec­ond set will be in­tro­duced shortly, with the third ar­riv­ing later this year.

They have been de­signed to elim­i­nate some of the ov­erengi­neer­ing of ear­lier ve­hi­cles, mak­ing them sim­pler to op­er­ate and main­tain, more re­li­able and more ef­fi­cient. The wag­ons are also de­signed to be more aero­dy­namic, re­duc­ing energy con­sump­tion for the trains, which weigh 2,500 tonnes when fully loaded and travel at up to 140kph (87mph).

Euro­tun­nel’s cur­rent sched­ule fea­tures a freight shut­tle de­part­ing the Cheri­ton and Co­quelles ter­mi­nals ev­ery 9½-10 min­utes at peak times. This is set to in­crease to ev­ery seven min­utes - or eight departures per hour. Freight shut­tles make up to 20 trips per day through the tun­nel, car­ry­ing around 150,000 lor­ries ev­ery year.

Euro­tun­nel is also in­vest­ing in its pas­sen­ger op­er­a­tion, with new ‘Flex­i­plus’ lounges un­der con­struc­tion at both the UK and French ter­mi­nals and due to open in 2018. Ac­cord­ing to Euro­tun­nel Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Jac­ques Gounon, there are no cur­rent plans to ac­quire more pas­sen­ger shut­tle trains, but the com­pany is look­ing to pro­vide a higher level of ser­vice and a bet­ter-qual­ity ex­pe­ri­ence through­out the jour­ney.


One of Euro­tun­nel’s new freight shut­tle wag­ons stands at Co­quelles on April 28. Three have been de­liv­ered, de­signed to add 20% more ca­pac­ity to Euro­tun­nel oper­a­tions.

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