The introduction of the new “FV-Dosto” double-deck long-distance train on the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) route network is making significant and measurable progress. As the manufacturer Bombardier Transportation explained at its Swiss headquarters in Zurich, the reliability of the 25 trains available to the SBB has been increased by a factor of seven, and ride comfort has been substantially improved thanks to newly installed software. This and the train’s highly energy-efficient drive concept, also led to a significant improvement in punctuality on the routes operated with the FV-Dosto. With the help of software developed and adapted by Bombardier, it has been possible to reduce the previously noticeable vibrations, particularly in the upper decks of trains by up to 75 per cent, thereby substantially increasing ride comfort.
As Stéphane Wettstein, the Swiss Managing Director of Bombardier Transportation, explained, the technical reliability of the FV-Dosto trains used, once again significantly increased to 6,914 km of trouble-free operation in October. This corresponds to an improvement by a factor of seven over the last 11 months. Approximately 34 per cent of service disruptions are caused by operational and passenger-triggered incidents and accordingly affect the overall reliability of operations. Wettstein put the increase in the technical reliability of the trains down to the effectiveness of the agreed actions and the increasing mileage of the Dosto fleet, which has now covered a total of around 2.27 million kilometres. He is therefore confident that technical and operational reliability will continue to improve steadily. Since the timetable change in December 2018, around 75 per cent of the technical causes of disruptions have been eliminated.
The greater reliability and increasing trouble-free availability of the trains also have a positive effect on the punctuality of the IR and IC services operated by the FV-Dosto. According to the surveys on the statistics website pünktlichkeit.ch, it is better in eastern Switzerland than in other parts of the country. This is not only due to higher reliability of the FV-Dosto trains, but also to their drive concept: unlike conventional trains, the FV-Dosto is not pulled or pushed by a locomotive, but driven by high energy-efficient and permanent magnet motors on the axles of the individual carriages. This allows long-distance trains to accelerate much faster, which positively contributes to timetable adherence.
In recent weeks, great progress has also been made in terms of ride comfort. With the new software installed in September 2019, it has been possible to eliminate the vibrations that used to be felt, mainly in the upper deck, to such an extent that some of them are now lower than in conventional double-deck trains. However, Stéphane Wettstein pointed out that, although Bombardier’s mechatronic bogies had been able to improve ride comfort, railway infrastructure, which also influences passengers’ level of comfort, has not gotten any better.
The technologically complex system for eliminating vibrations is based on stabilizing the carriage body in every driving situation, in such a way that the passenger feels less of the centrifugal forces in curves and changes of direction when passing over points than in conventional double-deck or tilting trains. While the ICN tilting train, which was also built by Bombardier as the consortium leader, tilts inwards in curves up to 7°, the FV-Dosto stays perpendicular to the track level. Together with the drive system and the pressure-tight carriage body, which prevents unpleasant pressure on the ears, especially when travelling through tunnels, this system is one of the major innovations of what is currently the world’s most modern long-distance train.
“The FV-Dosto is technologically a leading product in the industry in terms of its energy efficiency and the wide range of comfort it offers its passengers, even on a global scale – something Switzerland can be proud of, especially since important systems such as the traction or the bogies were developed in Switzerland and are largely manufactured in Switzerland,” says Swiss Managing Director of Bombardier Transportation Stéphane Wettstein.
Bombardier has now delivered a total of 25 of the FV-Dosto trains, which corresponds to SBB's planning for the timetable change in 2019. By summer 2021, the entire fleet of (62) trains will have been delivered. The great public interest in the FV-Dosto has also prompted Bombardier to intensify communication regarding this high-tech train. The company has launched a website at swissdosto.ch which provides continually updated information on the introduction and operation of the train on the Swiss rail network.
Bombardier Transportation is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of public transport vehicles, mainly rail vehicles. The company is headquartered in Montreal, Canada and employs around 40,000 people around the world. More than 100,000 Bombardier vehicles are in service worldwide, carrying some 500 million passengers every day. In Switzerland, Bombardier’s roots go back some 120 years; many of the famous Swiss railway manufacturers from Secheron and MFO to BBC, ABB and Schindler Waggonbau to SLM have been combined under Bombardier over the decades. Today, around 870 employees work for Bombardier in Switzerland, 340 of them at the headquarters and global development centre in Zurich and 530 at the Villeneuve (VD) plant. Numerous Swiss suppliers are also involved in the development and production of the FV-Dosto, and their order volume accounts for around 50 per cent of the total external investment volume of CHF 600 million for the (62) ordered trains. After all, Bombardier is not only the supplier of FV-Dosto for SBB, but also of locomotives, technical services and the BOMBARDIER FLEXITY tram, which is already being used successfully in Geneva and Basel and the first of which will also be handed over to the Zurich public transport operator VBZ on November 15, 2019.
Bombardier Transportation is a global mobility solution provider leading the way with the rail industry’s broadest portfolio. It covers the full spectrum of solutions, ranging from trains to sub-systems and signalling to complete turnkey transport systems, e-mobility technology and data-driven maintenance services. Combining technology and performance with empathy, Bombardier Transportation continuously breaks new ground in sustainable mobility by providing integrated solutions that create substantial benefits for operators, passengers and the environment. Headquartered in Berlin, Germany, Bombardier Transportation employs around 40,650 people and its products and services operate in over 60 countries.
With over 68,000 employees, Bombardier is a global leader in the transportation industry, creating innovative and game-changing planes and trains. Our products and services provide world-class transportation experiences that set new standards in passenger comfort, energy efficiency, reliability and safety.
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