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New lease of life for regional trains: Knorr-Bremse extends service life of Deutsche Bahn’s regional commuter trains
- Knorr-Bremse is to modernize the braking systems of at least 155 of Deutsche Bahn’s VT 642 regional multiple units
- Knorr-Bremse and Deutsche Bahn concluded the relevant framework agreement governing the supply of conversion kits for the brake control units and the provision of training for Deutsche Bahn technicians
- Modernizing the existing braking systems makes a key contribution to extending the vehicles’ service life and improving their availability in nationwide operation
Knorr-Bremse, the global market leader for braking systems and other rail and commercial vehicle systems, and German national rail operator Deutsche Bahn have concluded a framework agreement governing the modernization of the braking system in VT 642 regional multiple units. During the term of the agreement, which runs until year-end 2024, Knorr-Bremse is to supply at least 155 conversion kits with the new ESRA Evolution brake control, and will be supporting Deutsche Bahn with training courses on recommissioning the vehicles when modernization is complete.
“We are delighted about the framework agreement concluded with Deutsche Bahn for modernizing the braking systems in existing stock,” says Dr. Jürgen Wilder, Member of the Executive Board of Knorr-Bremse AG and responsible for the Rail Vehicle Systems division. “Through this conversion work, Knorr-Bremse is making a decisive contribution to increasing the reliability and availability of these regional commuter trains.”
“The modernization work will help prolong the service lives of the vehicles and avoid the risk of obsolesence, whereby whole vehicles have to be retired due to outdated components. So this measure is also fully aligned with the more sustainable use of resources,” adds Mark Cleobury, Member of the Management Board of Knorr-Bremse Rail Vehicle Systems. “This commission from our partner Deutsche Bahn attests not only to the systems and solutions expertise of our company but also to our strong position as an aftermarket supplier and modernization partner.”
During the term of the agreement, which runs until year-end 2024, Knorr-Bremse will supply at least 155 conversion kits with the new ESRA Evolution brake control. By the end of January 2020, Knorr-Bremse had already supplied five of the new brake control units and will be delivering at least 30 per year up to and including 2024. The modernization work will take place at the Deutsche Bahn workshops in Chemnitz and Erfurt. Knorr-Bremse RailServices will be supporting the initial commissioning and training Deutsche Bahn technicians in the integration of the new brake control platform into the regional vehicles’ braking system.
Federal Railway Authority grants unconditional ‘authorization for placing in service’
Even before the framework agreement was concluded, Knorr-Bremse had already been granted its first ever unconditional ‘authorization for placing in service’ (Inbetriebnahmegenehmigung – IBG) by the German Federal Railway Authority (EBA) for a modernized prototype from the VT 642 class. This means that an unlimited number of vehicles can be converted to brake control units corresponding to the one with which the prototype was modernized and then used for public transportation.
The decisive factor for granting the IBG was that the design of the brake control unit complies with all current requirements and that its interface compatibility facilitates integration into existing vehicles. Knorr-Bremse underpinned this with a safety assessment conducted in line with the Common Safety Method (CSM) and involving the appropriate experts.
With both the framework agreement and the unconditional IBG for VT 642 vehicles with identical brake control modernization in place, Knorr-Bremse will be able to leverage numerous advantages of the ESRA Evolution brake control unit which is in use across the globe. These include more ready availability of replacement parts as well as improved wheel slide protection that complies with the Technical Specification for Interoperability (TSI) and thus with EU-wide regulations.