[IMAGE]MET11alstom-innotrans-2.jpg[/IMAGE]Alstom Transport pulled out the big guns or, rather, the big trains for the company's showing at the biannual Innotrans rail transport technology trade fair held in Berlin. Among the company's offerings showcased on the outdoor track site: The high-speed Pendolino train, the Coradia regional train, and the Prima II locomotive. Inside the event hall, Alstom's booth displayed various rolling stock mockups, including one for of its newest high-speed train — the Speedelia.
Innotrans presented 121 rail designs from around the world, including ultra high-speed trains, new trams and hybrid locomotives to a nearly 500-foot-long track-laying vehicle. More than 2,200 exhibitors and a total of 106,612 visitors from more than 110 countries attended the eighth InnoTrans event held September 21 to 24.
During a press conference, Alstom President Philippe Mellier gave an overview of the rail market and discussed the company's global reach.
"We are competing in all segments: maintenance, renovation, new build, any type of rolling stock, infrastructure, substations, signaling, and we are a multi-specialist in rail transport," Mellier said. "What is becoming more and more important to us is the multi-geographic dimension of the company."
Mellier also mentioned key contracts signed with France, Germany, Brazil and the opening of a depot in California. Other key project locales include Russia, China and India.
Steady growth is predicted for the company, according to Mellier. Because the company is immersed in all segments of the rail industry, it is able to remain stable when particular segments are not performing as well. "When rolling stock was not doing well because of cuts, we can still do well in signaling, renovations, parts supply and energy supply chain," Mellier said.
While larger metropolitan cities/countries are investing less, new countries like Nigeria, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia are joining the market, he said. "We want to be there with infrastructure products and signaling products and capture this potential. We want to [use] all the product lines we have to offer, and we want to go address new geographical markets when they open."
According to Mellier, a few years ago, Russia was not an open market, but now it's potentially the biggest rail market in the world. "They have at least 20,000 locomotives to replace in the next 20 years: 1,000 locomotives per year. To be there at this time is clearly a good opportunity for us," he said.
"At Alstom Transport, we strongly believe that we are the only railway specialist involved in all product lines. We have four types of rolling stock: Trams, regional trains, very high-speed products and the new Speedelia," Mellier said.
The company is also developing a lot of business and investing in turnkey systems.
During the press conference, when asked how Alstom is ramping up for potential high-speed projects in the U.S., Mellier said the company is well positioned. "[Alstom] is well known in the U.S., selling passenger cars. We also have various projects in metros, in signaling and in renovation. So, we know this market quite well."
Mellier spoke about a meeting he had with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood where they discussed the U.S. projects. "We said we are very interested."
While there are multiple corridors, the projects would be running on various types of track at different speeds. "There are corridors, which are running at 100 miles per hour and they have to run on freight tracks. On the other hand, you have projects in Florida and in California, which are going for very high-speed, with dedicated track. We could see trains going there at 250 miles per hour," he said.
"So, we are carefully monitoring the situation. We have a business developer who is dedicated to [the high-speed rail project] activity. We have a team on the ground who is talking to the various administrations in Florida, California and so on," Mellier said, adding that the company has a network of U.S.-based suppliers, so that it complies with Buy America laws.
[PAGEBREAK]New high-speed platform
When it comes to high-speed rail, Alstom has a variety of products to choose from. The company unveiled its newest high-speed rail platform, the Speedelia at Innotrans. This non-articulated model is capable of reaching speeds up to 224 mph.
"The new Speedelia platform completes an already rich offering with a new non-articulated train, which is very high capacity and entirely interoperable," said Mellier.
The new platform is based on eight traction systems with 16 engines in motorized bogies, with total power of 10 MegaWatts. In order to free up a maximum of space for passengers, all the technical equipment has been placed beneath the chassis. The interiors provide optimum passenger space via its enhanced body-shell design and the positioning of the pantographs, which allows the same roof height for the entire length of the cars.
This arrangement provides the best ratio in terms of floor area, number of seats (between 600 and 720) and total train length (8 cars, approximately 656 feet), according to company officials. The train can be fitted with three redundant pantographs of different types (1,500 volts DC, 3,000 volts DC, 15,000 volts AC, 25,000 volts AC) and can integrate 10 different on-board signaling systems. The Speedelia rail platform targets operators who are looking for very high capacity in countries where networks with wider gauges permit non-articulated train sets.
"The platform draws on sub-systems and components that have been tried and tested on the latest generations of Alstom's very high speed trains," said Frederick Hendrick, Alstom's vice president of marketing.
The new platform includes traction equipment that uses integrated IGBT technology currently in operation on TGV Duplex, TGV and Pendolino trains, providing an outstanding power/mass ratio. Its control and monitoring technology is based on Alstom's proven TCMS (Train Control and Monitoring System) and ETCS (European Train Control System) systems.
The braking systems integrate a combination of mechanical braking, electric braking (rheostatic and regenerative) and electromagnetic braking. The traction equipment has been designed with a high degree of redundancy, with 50 percent of the wheel sets being motorized. The motor bogies are fitted with two self-ventilated traction motors.
Other features include a modular interior design, which allows for customization of the product by operators. Redundant air conditioning systems, acoustic insulation, and ergonomic designs for seats and all passenger areas are also featured. The railcars are constructed using environmentally friendly materials that are easily recyclable and optimize energy consumption.
During the exhibition, Alstom Transport received certification for its environmental practices and reduction of CO2 by its Netherlands facility. Alstom is the first train manufacturer in The Netherlands that is certified to Level 3 of the ProRail CO2 performance ladder. ProRail is one of the main principals for the Dutch rail transport business. The company manages the Dutch railroad network and encourages the parties with which it cooperates to take energy saving measures through the CO2 performance ladder.
"Rail transport has the advantage to be the most environmentally friendly means of transportation, especially due to the fact that it uses electricity. Receiving certification for going beyond rolling-stock activities attests to our global efforts in sustainability," Mellier said.
Lloyds, an independent conformity assessment body, audited the collected and issued data, resulting in a certificate Level 3 attributed to Alstom Transport in the Netherlands. The audit checklist contained: Insight in internal processes concerning the company's carbon footprint, the targeted ambition for CO2 emission reduction, transparency in the way the company communicates internally and externally, and participation with other companies to set up CO2 reduction programs. The audit focused on the use of public transport for business travel, commuter travel, waste disposal, paper used, electricity used at client sites and business car travel.
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