ÖBB Railjet – technology that moves
Posted: 31 January 2017 | Kurt Bauer, ÖBB’s Head of High-Speed and Long-Distance Services | No comments yet
Railjet is the most modern high-speed train in ÖBB’s fleet and connects the whole of Austria with Germany, Switzerland, Hungary and the Czech Republic (and from 2018 with Italy as well) at up to 230km/h on a regular schedule. Here ÖBB’s Head of High-Speed and Long-Distance Services, Kurt Bauer, explains that passengers travel at the highest levels of comfort and can also take advantage of a new and improved Wi-Fi system including service and infotainment offerings on all Railjets equipped with Railnet.
The Railjet consists of short-coupled Siemens Viaggio Comfort wagons and Siemens ES64U2 (1116) or Siemens ES64U4 (1216) locomotives. Thus, the Railjet ranks among the fastest trains hauled by locomotives in the world. According to TSI, the Railjet ranks among TSI class II high-speed trains. Furthermore, every train features up to four country-specific train protection systems as well as ETCS.
The best from the world of locomotive-hauled trains and traction units
Contrary to other railway companies, ÖBB does not rely on electric multiple units for its high-speed connections, but on locomotive-hauled push-pull trains. That means the locomotive pushes or pulls the trainset. They can therefore be pulled by existing locomotives. This concept allows for the quick replacement of a traction unit in the event of failure or required maintenance. The trainset thus remains in service and continues to be available. A Railjet consists of several wagons connected to one another by means of a centre rod coupling and featuring normal screw couplings at the ends. Owing to the rigid coupling between the wagons, the wagons could be equipped with wider, pressure-tight gangway connections.
Railjet thus combines the characteristics of multiple units with those of normal locomotive-hauled trains. In the workshop the trainset can be shortened or extended by individual wagons and adapted to traffic volumes on individual routes in a better way. However, ÖBB relies on the advantages of combining with conventional passenger carriages. In times of high traffic volumes, Railjets are coupled with ordinary passenger coaches and can therefore – contrary to motor train sets – be adapted to demand. Routes with particularly high passenger volumes are served with tandem Railjet sets. Despite its classic push-pull train technology, their interior offers the same comfort as motor train sets without having gangway doors between the wagons.