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New trains and machinery for the French Suite Rapide

New Suite Rapide train for GCF

On-site testing for the new high efficiency train

A month of tests for the new Suite Rapide train in the French Department of Oise in Picardy. At the Beauvais depot, 80 kilometres to the north of Paris, the new trains and machinery that GCF has purchased by itself or with the Transalp Renouvellement Consortium, appear on a sort of railway "red carpet". Almost 80 million euros have been invested in an innovative, super efficient second Suite Rapide train.

The last to arrive this week was the powerful Matisa C75-2C ballast cleaner, a high efficiency machine with a work capacity of approximately 800 m3/h for screening and over 1.000 m3/h full excavation. The C75 will be followed by a series of special wagons designed to apply an innovative method of heating the rails which will most probably be part of the Suite Rapide train Batch 2.

Prior to this, a R21 profiling machine had arrived from the Matisa headquarters in Crissier, 700 kilometres east in Switzerland, which is now being tested at the night site of Rouen, as well as a number of locomotives, railway wagons for transporting the sleepers, wagons, hopper wagons for transporting crushed stone, workshop wagons equipped with offices, changing rooms, depots, and finally, other tamping machines and profiling machines purchased by Transalp and its subsidiaries.
Then, at the end of May, the great co-star, the brand new Matisa P95 track renewal train, made its appearance. It is a portable workshop, a masterpiece of safety and technology that can release and collect the couplings, remove the old rails and old sleepers, shape the ballast bed, lay the new sleepers and put the new rails into position securing them with the new couplings.

GCF France Matisa P95 01
GCF France Matisa P95 02
GCF France Matisa P95 03
GCF France Matisa P95 04
GCF France Matisa P95 05

“We are still awaiting the new B45 tamping machine which is currently being assembled in Switzerland, but with the arrival of the C75 ballast cleaner", Carlo Paoloni, Director of the GCF site, said with satisfaction, "we have almost everything. Now, after fine tuning the machinery and the workers' training course, we can proceed with on-site testing which is vital for getting to know the machines and their innovative technical and technological characteristics. The production standards set by the French railways for the Suite Rapide sites are very high, but we are confident that this new "mobile factory" will comply with the requirements.”

In Beauvais, the French railways closed a section of the line to traffic at the end of May until 15 December. This will house the on-site testing until the end of July: on these 4,903 metres of line, the new Suite Rapide train will have to be tested and show that it can handle parts due for complete renewal (sleepers, crushed stone and rails) and smaller sections on which only the rails or only the sleepers have to be renewed. After the tests, the train will go into "actual service" in August in the two sites used for Batch 2: one in Chambery (July – October) and the other in Lannemezan (October – December).

The Suite Rapide worksite in Normandy

In the meantime, in the Northern area of Normandy, the Rouen site, the third in one year for Batch 2, is proceeding at a rapid pace. The work, which began mid May, will involve renewing the tracks and cleaning the ballast on the double track between Gaillon and Pont de l’Arche, on a 31-kilometre long stretch of track.

“Work on this third site is also done at night time", Sabino Carbone of the French GCF Management explained, "to limit the railway traffic which since it is a part of the 340000 line from Paris to The Hague is always rather intense. There are also two tunnels with a total of 5 kilometres of tunnel work and almost one kilometre of viaduct renewal work.”
The renewal work on track 1 has been completed over the last few days and, at the same time, GCF has started renewal work on track 2. Delivery of the third site is scheduled for mid July.

The first video of the Matisa P95 track renewal train

GCF France - arrivo del nuovo Matisa P95

Technical data sheet: Matisa P95 track renewal train

Technical data sheet: Matisa C75 ballast cleaner

Details: Focus On Sites - Suite Rapide, France

Video of SNCF: the visit of the Vice-president of the Region Normandia in the Suite Rapide worksite