SBB train © SBB CFF FFS

Curtiss-Wright to deliver stabilisation tech for SBB high-speed trains

Curtiss-Wright is selected to provide SBB Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) with a new electromechanical train tilting stabilisation system. It will be used for the RABDe 500 ICN high-speed passenger trains in operation. Shipments of the systems are scheduled to begin in 2023, and run through 2029.

Under the contract, Curtiss-Wright will provide its stabilisation technology to upgrade 32 SBB’s RABDe 500 ICN high-speed trains currently in operation. It is an option to also upgrade the remaining 12 of the 44 trains. Curtiss-Wright’s electromechanical stabilisation technology is expected to enable safer, more comfortable, passenger travel and help maintain schedules. The system will be produced in the facility in Neuhausen am Rheinfall, Switzerland.

Smoother ride

The stabilisation system is a modular solution, with highly responsive train tilting capabilities. “Our flexible modular approach to high precision electromechanical stabilisation delivers a cost-effective method for upgrading legacy train tilting systems”, said Chris Wiltsey, Senior Vice President of Curtiss-Wright. “Instead of replacing the entire system, we enable individual hardware components to be replaced or upgraded as needed.”

The train tilting systems use a combination of sensors and train-tilting computers to tilt each car at an angle of ± 8 degrees as high-speed trains round curves in the track. The active tilting technology can “force” the body of a train to tilt at specific times and angles based on track information. This should deliver smoother car body movements that constantly maintain the stability of passenger compartments. Additionally, the upgraded system will allow trains to maintain higher speeds around curves on railways. This should result in some reduced travel time.

Stabilisation technology

The RABDe 500 ICN upgraded tilting system will include the latest advances in motion control and inertial stabilisation technology. The stabilisation system hardware and software includes the coach tilting drives and controllers, train tilting computers, pantograph tilting drives, power electronics and the pantograph tilting system. Curtiss-Wright will also develop the required processes and procedures in accordance with the SIL2 (Safety Integrity Level) standard.

Curtiss-Wright is a supplier of electromechanical and electrohydraulic stabilisation products that provide motion control for defense and industrial customers. The solutions are used in military ground vehicles, high-speed trains, camera crane rigs, specialty lift applications, and theme park rides. The first prototype solution for the SBB trains is scheduled for delivery in mid-2022. Following approval and system review by SBB, shipments of operational systems are scheduled to begin in 2023, and run through 2029.

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Author: Esther Geerts

Editor of RailTech.com

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