From 2023, the locomotive-drawn passenger railcars will expand Deutsche Bahn's fleet for national and international long-distance services. The ECx trains are designed to make journeys faster, more attractive and more comfortable, particularly on the Berlin-Amsterdam route as well as tourist routes to the North Sea and the Alps. The order, with a total volume in the mid tens of millions (EUR), includes the option to equip an additional 77 trains, which would bring the total order to 100 trains.
“Passenger trains are a vital part of the overall rail system. Alongside high-speed services, they carry a large share of passengers between individual cities and regions, thus helping to relieve congestion on roads,” remarks Dr. Jürgen Wilder, Member of the Executive Board of Knorr-Bremse AG and responsible for the Rail Vehicle Systems division. “In this respect, we are delighted to work with our partner Talgo in providing more attractive, comfortable and highly available long-distance mobility with our system technologies.”
The new ECx: Knorr-Bremse on board with braking, HVAC and entrance systems
According to the order, which has been issued in the fourth quarter of 2020, Knorr-Bremse will supply braking, HVAC and entrance systems as well as windscreen wiper units to Talgo from the first quarter of 2021. After testing is successfully completed in 2022, the ECx passenger trains will successively replace older ICE1 trains on various routes from 2023.
The braking systems feature the EP Compact brake control, VV-270T compressors, steel brake discs and brake pads, and the vehicles and locomotives are also equipped with magnetic track brakes. Air conditioning is provided by roof-mounted, lightweight and compact HVAC units from MERAK, Knorr-Bremse's global subsidiary for integrated air conditioning solutions, which offer powerful, energy-efficient cooling performance even at a temperature of 40 °C. The systems from MERAK’s successful Saloon Roof-Mounted Compact (SRC) family, deployed among others on Talgo high-speed trains in Saudi-Arabia and Spain, are the market’s first serial units prepared both for conventional and natural refrigerants like R290.
Passengers will board via E3D-e1 doors from Knorr-Bremse subsidiary IFE, the global market leader for rail vehicle entrance systems, which also meet PRM requirements (People with Reduced Mobility). With no steps to climb when boarding, the ECx sets standards in terms of accessibility and offers all passengers greater flexibility and comfort. Moreover, Knorr-Bremse will be equipping the trains with windscreen wiper systems featuring electro-pneumatic control modules.
Faster mobility with higher availability: Berlin–Amsterdam every two hours
The trains will be in service on the Berlin-Amsterdam line from December 2023 and will run every two hours. With the new ECx, journey times will be cut by 30 minutes to 5 hours and 50 minutes. This is made possible by the Talgo new multi-system locomotives, which will eliminate the need to change locomotives at the border.
In addition, the new ECx fleet will serve tourist destinations on the North Sea and in the Alps: from summer 2024 the new trains are scheduled to operate on the routes between Westerland (on the island of Sylt) and Cologne; between Westerland, Frankfurt and Karlsruhe; between Westerland and Berlin and between Oberstdorf (in the Bavarian Alps) and Cologne. With this extensive supply contract awarded by Talgo, Knorr-Bremse is playing a significant role in providing faster, more comfortable rail travel within Germany and to the Netherlands and ensuring barrier-free mobility with high availability.