New wires for Russian high-speed rails

Sapsan high-speed train, source: Russian Railways (RZD)

A brand new contact wire for the rail sector has been patented in Russia. It was made of copper-niobium alloy (CuNb). The new product will be able to provide a train speed of up to 450 kilometres per hour. In the coming future, the new wire will be tested on the Russian high-speed rails.

The copper-niobium wire has improved electrical conductivity and tensile strength of 650 Pascals. Owing to these features, the new product will provide a better current collection and has a longer lifespan. The new wire was developed by Russian company Nanoelectro, a joint venture of state-owned holding Rusnano and state research institute JSC VNIINM (part of Rosatom Group). It is expected to be used by Russian Railways (RZD) on its network. NanoElectro declares that a new wire will allow the railway companies to save their costs for installation works up to 50 per cent.

After patenting the new product, Nanoelectro plans to discuss with RZD future trials. It is planned to test the new solution on the three-kilometre section of the Moscow – Nizhny Novgorod high-speed line. The test site is situated in the Vladimir Region. It serves the daily high-speed trains running from Saint Petersburg and Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod and back at a maximum speed of 140-160 kilometres per hour.

Maximum speed

Currently, the maximum speed allowed on the Russian railway network is 250 kilometres. But most of the high-speed sections are able to serve trains at a speed of 200 or 160 kilometres per hour. At maximum speed, Sapsan trains run only on the Okulovka — Mstinsky most section of the Moscow – Saint Petersburg line. For most of this route, it is allowed to drive at 200 kilometres per hour.

The same rate is also available on the Russian section of the Saint Petersburg – Helsinki cross-border high-speed rail. On the Finnish side, Allegro trains run at a speed of 220 kilometres per hour. The Russian government plans to construct new high-speed rails from Moscow to Saint Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Yekaterinburg with a maximum speed up to 350-400 kilometres per hour.

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

Mykola Zasiadko is editor of online trade magazines and

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