Bombardier – leading the evolution of mobility with innovative designs

Posted: 26 September 2013 | | No comments yet

Bombardier Transportation prides itself on offering the broadest product portfolio in the rail industry and delivers innovative products and services that set new standards in sustainable mobility – conserving energy, protecting the environment and improving total train performance for passengers and operators. In an interview for Global Railway Review, Jon Shaw, UK Head of Engineering for Bombardier’s Rolling Stock Atlantic & Services Division, shows how best practice is achieved in the design of the company’s new rolling stock and how this has been tailored into the new AVENTRA train design for the UK…

Bombardier – leading the evolution of mobility with innovative designs

Bombardier – leading the evolution of mobility with innovative designs

How does Bombardier go through the design stages of manufacturing new rolling stock?

Bombardier has a wealth of experience in designing new rolling stock for the global market. Our rolling stock division employs approximately 1,000 engineers worldwide of which around 350 are based in the UK alone.Globally, Bombardier has over 22 product platforms in the rolling stock market and an installed base of over 100,000 vehicles world – wide and therefore we have immense collective capability and the advantage of being able to leverage best practice across our engineering skill-base, as well as drawing on the world’s greatest proven technology.

It’s not a case of one solution fits all, as each market and each customer has its own unique requirements and characteristics. However, what we can do is bring together technologies that we know have demonstrated their performance and reliability in our offered solutions.

How has Bombardier contributed to the worldwide high-speed sector?

To give some particular examples, from a global perspective, it’s worth looking at the development of our BOMBARDIER1 ZEFIRO1 Very High Speed train. As a backdrop to its evolution, Bombardier had participated in approximately 95% of all high-speed projects in Europe and can look back on more than 20 years of experience in this sector. We had proved our credentials in various consortia for important core elements – from carbodies, pantographs and power supply, through to motors and gears as well as testing and homologation procedures. Examples of this include the ICE 3 used by Deutsche Bahn with a top speed of 330km/h or the AVE S-102 high-speed trains for the Spanish state railway, RENFE.

With the ZEFIRO product range, we brought to the market for the first time our own highspeed train, consolidating our experience in some of the core systems while introducing some new aspects of our own, in particular drawing on the aerodynamic experience that – uniquely in the industry – we share with Bombardier’s Aerospace Division. In designing ZEFIRO, we knew we had to offer the market something different from the other products available and we focused our efforts on aerodynamic performance and energy efficiency.

The ZEFIRO trains are designed for operating at speeds between 250km/h and 380km/h and offer extremely high levels of travelling comfort at low operating costs, with a solution that can be tailored for various countries and rail systems.

ZEFIRO technology was first used in China – since 2009, the ZEFIRO 250 trains have been in scheduled service there – so successfully that, together with our joint venture, we received an order for ZEFIRO 380 trains in the same year. Also on order for China is the ZEFIRO 250NG, designed to meet the future demands of this competitive rail market. An evolution of the ZEFIRO 250 train, it features numerous tech – nological advances including a new aluminium carbody to reduce weight and ensure passenger comfort at high speeds as well as an enhanced propulsion system to guarantee performance and reliability. With optimised aerodynamics and energy efficient operation, the ZEFIRO 250NG has been developed with the same approach as the faster ZEFIRO 380 version.

For the European market, including the expansion of the Italian high-speed network, Bombardier, in a consortium with AnsaldoBreda, has also developed the V300ZEFIRO which combines high-speed with aesthetic design, tailored to the requirements of the customer, Trenitalia. As well as being the fastest train in Europe – with targeted commercial speeds of 360km/h – it has been described as the ‘world’s most stunning train.’

How does Bombardier work with its clients and prioritise their needs within its new train designs?

To remain at the forefront of the market, it is important to look at what our customers need and evolve the technology to meet those needs. As engineers we have a natural inclination to innovate. In equal measure, we have to recognise that train operators require products that ‘work out of the box’ with maximum reliability.

Energy efficiency is becoming an increas – ingly important focus for train operators and therefore this is an important criterion for new rolling stock design. This can be traced in all of the company’s latest rolling stock designs, from the ZEFIRO, as just highlighted, to the new BOMBARDIER1 TWINDEXX1 double-deck trains for Switzerland and the new AVENTRA EMU for the UK. To enable us to share and measure our performance in this area, Bombardier has intro – duced a tool known as Train Energy Performance (TEP) which calculates overall energy consumption and performance. This tool is accessible to Bombardier employees working on new train design all over the world.

How does the AVENTRA fit into the UK market?

Our AVENTRA EMU developed for the UK is an excellent example of how we have looked at our customers’ requirements to develop a platform product that we see as being the future bench – mark for EMU performance in the UK.

In the regional and commuter sector, Bombardier has delivered more than 2,000 new generation Electrical Multiple Units (EMUs) for routes around London and the South East of England alone, with a proven track record and award-winning levels of reliability. The BOMBARDIER1 ELECTROSTAR1 is carrying passengers daily on routes for train operators including Southern, Southeastern, Stansted Express, London Overground and c2c. Recent orders for additional vehicles for Southern and London Overground – 40 and 56 vehicles in December 2012 and May 2013 respectively – have confirmed the success of this high performance train and are contributing to easing capacity on some of the UK’s most intensively used routes into the capital.

While recognising the great strengths of the ELECTROSTAR, we are continuously evolving our products to address the latest challenges of our customers. Therefore – and following extensive consultation with our customers to establish their priorities – we have evolved a new genera – tion EMU platform – the BOMBARDIER1 AVENTRA1. Taking feedback from our customers, the AVENTRA EMU builds on proven systems, but also includes innovations that help to reduce cost, as well as making the train more maintainable and more reliable. Plus, drawing on our global portfolio, it incorporates the latest environ – mental technologies, tailored for the UK market. By meeting ambitious targets for weight reduction, increased capacity and improved energy efficiency, while offering outstanding reliability, AVENTRA delivers a product that our customers have told us that they want – delivering the lowest energy, lowest weight and lowest maintenance costs.

How do you involve suppliers in the process?

In the UK, we have a particular advantage. As well as having an excellent pedigree stretch – ing back over 175 years, our site in Derby is a Bombardier global centre of excellence for rail vehicle engineering and manufacturing. What is more, and partly as a result of this legacy of commitment to rail vehicle technology, Derby is also an integral part of the largest railway engineering cluster in the world, with more than 100 companies in the neighbouring supply chain, employing over 25,000 people. We work with the main suppliers for all systems – from brakes and doors, to air conditioning – on joint design and development initiatives at our offices in the city.

What are some of the key features of AVENTRA?

A principal feature of the new AVENTRA is the BOMBARDIER1 FLEXX1 Eco bogie, the only fully proven lightweight inboard bearing bogie in operation today with around 1,000 units in service worldwide. Originally designed by and for the UK (as the ‘Advanced Suburban Bogie’ project) the FLEXX Eco bogie has become something of a global phenomenon. As well as proving extremely reliable in regional and long distance applications, it has demonstrated excellent stability at speed during tests of up to 275km/h on a Shinkanesen in Japan and also at 392km/h beneath an ICE12. Not surprisingly, therefore, this bogie has also been chosen for the new ICx fleet for Germany and will be incorporated in the new C30 MOVIA metro trains being provided by Bombardier for Stockholm’s Red Line.

These credentials of all-round performance in a range of applications made the FLEXX Eco an obvious choice for the new AVENTRA platform. The introduction of this lightweight bogie design also helps with the reduction of the overall vehicle mass, meaning AVENTRA will be around 20% lighter than the ELECTROSTAR, which is already best in class relative to com – parable EMUs in the UK market. This will also lead to reductions in track access charges. As well as being lightest in class, the FLEXX Eco bogie has lower unsprung mass that contributes to lower wear on track, wheelsets and components. In turn, this results in a leaner maintenance solution with periodicity between wheelset changes and bogie overhauls extended significantly.

Taking account of another priority of today’s train operators, to reduce station dwell time, Bombardier has spent some time in selecting the best solution, for example, for doors for the AVENTRA – a key contributor to both reliability and passenger exchange – and the trains also feature spacious interiors and wide open gangways so that passengers can board quickly and move easily within the train.

Other benefits from the AVENTRA platform include enhanced propulsion, resulting in 1m/s2 acceleration and a substantially reduced net energy consumption of up to 46% (when compared with a UK Class 319).

What about the passenger interfaces and interior aspects?

The aim of our industrial design team in developing AVENTRA has been to create a train that – in our view – will enhance people’s lives. In other words, it respects the demanding performance requirements of a train in regular daily service, but also places the passenger at the centre of the travelling experience, with attention to detail in every aspect that impacts them, be it vehicle accessibility and general consideration of their comfort and travelling needs to providing advance travel information and a safe and secure travelling environment. The same consideration extends to the driver’s environment and we have put drivers’ needs at the centre of our cab design.

Environmental considerations, in the broad – est sense, are also extremely important to passengers and the AVENTRA train design will reduce interior noise levels by as much as 50% when compared to current metro/ commuter type rolling stock solutions. Our industrial design team is award winning, having received an Ergonomics Society award for the interior design of London Underground’s SSL trains – this expertise will be seen in the design of the new AVENTRA.

How would you summarise AVENTRA?

In developing AVENTRA, we have sought to develop a new EMU platform, incorporating the best of Bombardier’s global proven tech – nologies and innovations, addressing the needs and requirements of train operators and resulting in a train that will stand the test of time for today’s passengers and future generations.



1. BOMBARDIER, ZEFIRO, TWINDEXX, ELECTROSTAR, AVENTRA, FLEXX and ICE are trademarks of Bombardier Inc. or its subsidiaries



Jon Shaw is the Senior Project Director for the AVENTRA plat – form and the Divisional Head of Engineering for Bombardier Rolling Stock Atlantic & Services which has a complement of over 1,000 engineers. Jon joined Bombardier in 2010 from Ansaldo STS where he was global VP Engineering and prior to this held senior management roles with Hitachi Rail and Lloyds Register Rail. Jon is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of both the Institution of Engineering & Technology and the Institution of Rail Signal Engineers.