Credit: CFL

On Tuesday 20 September 2022, Luxembourg's national railway company, the CFL, presented its new rolling stock to the public at the InnoTrans exhibition in Berlin.

The presentation of the new CFL 2400 series railcar was one of the many novelties unveiled in Berlin at the trade fair, which presents innovations in the field of transport technology every year. On this occasion, the public was thus able to discover, for the first time, multiple units of the Coradia Stream High Capacity type from the supplier ALSTOM.

The first electric railcar of the 2400 series will be put into service in the summer of 2023. Initially, customers of the Northern Line will be the ones who will benefit from the new type of railcar. The new railcars are also planned for cross-border journeys towards Belgium (Athus and Arlon) and France (Longwy).

Extensive testing as part of approval procedures

As part of the ongoing approval procedures, numerous tests and validation journeys have already been carried out prior to the InnoTrans exhibition. These were carried out at different locations in Europe, on the one hand at the ALSTOM test site near Barcelona (Spain). Other validation journeys followed, notably at ALSTOM's Center d'Essais Ferroviaires 2 in Bar-le-Duc (France) and on the Vélim test ring (Czech Republic), where, during dynamic tests, the behaviour of the new rolling stock has been tested and evaluated with precision under conditions of maximum speed (160 km/h), braking and emergency braking. While other tests have taken place around Salzgitter (Germany), the railcar bearing the number 2403 has been in Bertrix (Belgium) since June 2022 for the performance of tests aimed at allowing its homologation on the Belgian rail network. The launch of certification tests for the operation of the new multiple units on the Luxembourg rail network is planned for the coming months.

With these new multiple units, the CFL are setting a new standard for train travel in Luxembourg. The acquisition of this new rolling stock will allow us to significantly increase our seating capacity, especially during peak hours – a comfort and quality criterion considered particularly important by our customers", said Marc Wengler, CEO of the CFL Group.

Coradia Stream High Capacity: modern rolling stock for the mobility of tomorrow

The new rolling stock ordered by the CFL combines a modern and dynamic appearance with an increased capacity of seats, also for users of wheelchairs, pushchairs and bicycles. The acquisition of 34 new electric multiple units in December 2018 is an integral part of the CFL Group's strategy, particularly in the face of the exceptional growth in the number of passengers. In less than 20 years (2003 - 2019), the number of customers who have chosen the train as a means of transport has increased by 85%. The acquisition of new rolling stock will make it possible to gradually replace the “Z2” railcars (2000 series) which date from the 1990s and to increase, by 2025, the capacity of seats by almost 50%.

State-of-the-art rolling stock

Ordered in December 2018, the 34 new electric multiple units will benefit from top-of-the-range equipment that meets many of the requirements expressed by customers in the past. The new equipment will be equipped with WiFi, LED lighting, USB-A, UBS-C and 230V/AC sockets. It also impresses with a generous capacity of seats and an automatic passenger counting system that provides real-time information on the occupancy rate of the train in question; a large database that will allow the composition of the trains to be adapted from time to time if additional seating needs are identified in this way.

Pioneering work in Europe with the deployment of ATO (Automated Train Operation) technology

In addition to all of the aforementioned technologies, the new railcars are equipped with an automated driving system, ATO technology. The CFL are thus part of the "first movers" in Europe concerning the deployment of this technology which will allow a more efficient use of the capacities of the network. To this end, various driving functions of trains equipped with ATO are automated, in particular the automatic adaptation of the speed on the basis of real-time data relating to the situation on the rail network.

This technology therefore not only streamlines rail traffic and therefore minimises disruptions, but also saves energy and wearing parts. In view of the degree of automation (GoA2) offered by this configuration of the ATO system, the train driver will continue to play an important role within the driving position of trains equipped with ATO. The driver is thus constantly responsible for monitoring the system throughout the entire journey, taking control if necessary and intervening in the event of an emergency. The departure decision and the operation of the doors are also part of the safety-related tasks assigned to the driver.

The entry into service of new railcars – an important element of the CFL strategy

To become the preferred mobility player for their customers, CFL continues to combine the use of innovative elements, in particular state-of-the-art rolling stock, with the know-how and expertise of its train staff. Combined, these two elements will make it possible to offer not only a gain in capacity in terms of seats, but also a gain in efficiency in the use of their resources. The delivery of the new equipment ordered at the end of 2018 and gradually put into service from the summer of 2023 will thus make it possible to increase, by 2025, the number of seats by almost 50% while rejuvenating the CFL fleet. By embarking on the deployment of the ATO at the level of new rolling stock and their infrastructures, the CFL are positioned among the European pioneers in terms of the automation of certain train functions.