GCF’s rigid catenary will be the “standard”
Homologation underway for the catenary by GCF
Tests underway for the rigid catenary manufactured by GCF. The Company of Rossi Group, leader in the sector of railway assembly and electrification, is currently being certified in Italy and manufacturer and official installer of rigid catenary for use in tunnel.
The process, which began a few months ago in response to the specifications issued by RFI at the end of 2018 with the purpose to regulate the sector, requires the parts designed and produced by GCF to be subject to a meticulous series of preliminary conformity exams and tests to be homologated and distributed under exclusivity, on the entire national territory.
“In the last few days indeed – explains the Management of GCF’s Electric Traction Division – technical checks on our components were performed at the production plant by RFI’s technicians and experts. Moreover, at the Polytechnic University of Milan, we will begin a series of simulation tests concerning the interaction of the catenary’s pantograph that will analyse the behaviour of our product at high speeds, in tunnel. Finally, the last checks and tests will be performed in the real environment from the train, RFI’s measurements will be taken in two railway tunnels currently under renovation with regards to TE system, with our rigid catenary”.
The use of rigid catenary is stirring considerable interest for multiple reasons concerning the best safety and operating reliability level, higher energy transmitted to trains, lower maintenance costs and overall sizes.
In the tunnel sections of historic lines, the smaller sizes of the cables represent the best feature of the electrification system with rigid catenary compared to the traditional catenary (with tensioned cables): indeed, the space saving allows adapting existing tunnels to the transit of bigger-size trains and even obtain remarkable savings -in case of construction of new tunnels – on the costs of civil works that feature properties with lower structural impact.
Another important advantage of the electrification system with rigid catenary is the elimination of anchoring structures and regulation of the cables’ tension, which are instead essential in the traditional electrification system, with reduction of sizes and simplification of maintenance operations.
In fact, the rigid catenary is currently preferred for all new tunnel sections (as the Basic Tunnel of Basic Tunnel of Monte Ceneri where Consorzio Arge Mons Ceneris, of which GCF is part, is completing the installation) and also in renovation projects of traditional lines, like the underground railway variant of Lavis – on the Trento-Malé line – first exclusive case in which, last year, thanks to GCF, the rigid catenary was used to electrify “full line” tracks.
Angelo Zullo explains: “Many technical characteristics of the catenary during the homologation phase, are defined indeed by the experience accrued in building Lavis system and also in other projects where we adopted removable solutions of rigid catenary, like in the case of RFI’s railway workshop in Mestre. Now we are ready to complete the homologation process that will soon allow us to proudly input on the market a new, innovative GCF’s product for railway electrification”.