The RFI railway workshop is now fully operational
Innovative solutions from GCF for servicing trains high speed
It consists of approximately 250 metres of track raised on posts for each of the 4 lanes and a fully equipped shed covering 8,500 square metres with an innovative removable rigid overhead catenary. Lit during the daytime by over 1,000 powerful LED lights, the modern maintenance depot built by GCF and commissioned by RFI for trains high speed in Mestre is now fully operational.
The project, designed to offer special, innovative solutions, has focused on making it easier to perform not only routine washing and cleaning of trains, but also more complex servicing work on engines, pantographs and bogies.
“The idea was to make maintenance work as streamlined as possible", Renato Battaggia, GCF Site Manager, explained, "and this has guided all the decisions made with regard to the raised track and, above all, the motorized catenary.”
The catenary has a total of 24 moving arms for each of the 4 internal tracks, one of which is powered at 25 kV, and every other arm is equipped with a motor making a total of 12 motors which, controlled by a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), can move the catenary and release space above the train. The removable catenary offers two advantages. “The trains", Battaggia explained, "can move through the maintenance shed autonomously without being shunted by other engines and, once the catenary has been removed using its powerful motors, maintenance work can be carried out above the train and the 7 raised service walkways can be accessed safely.”
For underfloor work, on the other hand, each raised lane has been equipped with a Bertolotti motor-operated drop system which make it easier to work on the wheels and bogies. The powerful 10 tonne Demag bridge crane with safety sensors completes the equipment.
Finally, every track has an individual safety system actuated by sequential interlocks known as “exchange devices”.
The inside of the maintenance workshop built by GCF in Mestre
Outside, 2 kilometres of track on ballast and 5 points connect the rail network to the maintenance depot providing access to the four tracks inside the shed and the two tracks outside which will be used for washing the trains.
The electric traction is supplied by a medium voltage (MV) cabin and a special multi-voltage cabin that can supply the trains being serviced with the 3 kV direct current that is normally used on traditional lines and the 25 kV alternating current used on high speed lines that is suitable for Italo superfast trains.
A "sand bin" which is a tank that can contain 20 m3 of silica sand with particles ranging from 0.25 to 2.5 mm at a humidity level of below 0.5% is also being installed. It will serve the mobile high pressure sand filling system which, supplied by Bertolotti, will be used in the depot to fill the sand tanks in the locomotives.
Points, multi-voltage cabins and sand bin for external area
“The internal installation", Renato Battaggia concluded, "has been completed in record time, 105 days in all, thanks to the important work managing the contract and coordinating the various companies performed by the RFI Works Manager, Francesca Perrone, who has been assisted in this delicate task by all the RFI technicians involved in the project. Now we can concentrate on the final stage of the project: the construction of an external double-track wash area. But the most important stage has been completed. The service depot has passed all the test and calibration procedures and is now fully operational.”
It is 23.00 hours exactly, on one of the coldest days of the year, when one of the first high speed trains turns up for daily servicing: a green light comes on, the door opens and in just a few minutes the train is in position ready for servicing.