Testing the new high-speed train ‘Giruno’
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Testing the new high-speed train ‘Giruno’

October 11, 2019

Boarding with the test team
in Wolfsburg. The two units are over
400 m long, the seats are still covered,
the cables still visible. Technical Project Manager
Thomas Legler is also on board. We’re now carrying out
the last tests for speeds between
200 and 250 km/h. Of course it’s
a great feeling, when it all works out as you planned at the
start of the project. We travel from Wolfsburg
towards Berlin. The German ICE is also
in its element here, as high speeds are allowed. Project Manager Thomas Legler
previously worked on the ICE. Now he’s helping the
Thurgau-based train-builder Stadler with its first ever
high-speed train. The weather is important
for the test runs. And the wind was good too. Yes, calm. When there’s rain
there’s usually wind. It’s calm,
the tracks are dry again – decent driving
conditions. The train has now accelerated
to 250 km/h. It could even reach
a top speed of 275. Speeds that are
not usual in Switzerland. The maximum is 200 km/h, and there are
no plans to increase this in future. We asked the
buyer of the train, SBB. Why is SBB purchasing
a high-speed train when it can’t even travel at
high speeds in Switzerland? The train will also be used
in Germany and Italy, where there are stretches
on which trains can travel at 250 km/h. And we’re buying the train with
a timescale of 40 years in mind. It’s therefore good
to think long-term, so that we have other
options in the future. Between Wolfsburg and Stendal,
somewhere in Sachsen-Anhalt. Deutsche Bahn has a mobile
measuring facility here, constructed specially for the test runs
by the Swiss Giruno. Right next to the track are
measuring instruments and pressure sensors. Why are these measurements
so important? To verify that the pressure wave
caused by the vehicle and the turbulence left in
its trail don’t pose a risk to people. To prevent any dangerous situations
on the platforms or for track workers working near
the tracks. So that they’re not endangered by the
pressure and suction waves from the vehicle. This is only necessary for high-speed
trains like the Giruno. It approaches at 250 km/h. The air turbulence can be clearly felt
about 3 m next to the track. The camera
has to be held tightly. In the monitoring vehicle next door,
all the figures are recorded. The Giruno has to repeatedly pass
the measuring point. What’s your first impression
of the Swiss train? It’s very good. It complies with
all the requirements. A complete success here. Back in the test train. Much is still
provisional and unfinished. But what’s noticeable is
the floor with numerous raised surfaces. This is because the doors are
fitted at different heights. Some at a boarding height of 55 cm,
others at 76 cm. A special solution,
devised for the Giruno. The train is intended for
cross-border travel in Switzerland, Austria,
Germany and Italy. These four countries have
different platform heights. Here we have a door for
76 cm platforms, and there’s also one for platforms with
a height of 55 cm. This means that wheelchair users
can board at the same level at all platform heights
in the four countries, without needing help from train staff. All the tests are done for today. Now the train-builder has to
wait for the remaining approvals. The first Girunos
should start running on the Swiss rail network in
March 2019.

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