SNCF, RFF and intermodal operator Kombiverkehr operated a 1.5km long freight train on January 18 between Sibelin(Lyon) to Nimes, as part of Europe’s Marathon project to operate longer freight trains. The test put into trial operation two Alstom electric powered locomotives provided by Akeim.
How Marathon Works?
“Marathon project intends to enhance network capacity and cost eefficiency by allowing the coupling of two classical trains with distributed traction. The Marathon train is to be manned by one driver after the coupling phase. The train is composed of a master train and a slave train. The slave train locomotive is radio remote controlled by the driver of the master locomotive at the head of the Marathon train.” Armand Toubol, Marathon Technical Coordinator
Tests will be conducted up to a speed of 100 km/h, on a total of commercial trains at a mass of 4000t. It is foreseen by the Marathon project that such implementation of trains will lead to a 5% energy reduction per tonne of transported goods, and a potential 30 % overall cost reduction. It is expected that performance of these longer trains will be similar to those of 750m in length with only small increase in overall braking time required for the train to stop level crossing for example.
MARATHON (MAke RAil The HOpe for protecting NatureE) is a revolutionary project co-financed by the European Commission in the 7th Framework Programme. The Marathon project is expected to conclude and provide its final outcomes in the latter part of 2014, and it is hoped with the realisation and implementation of the Marathon outcomes into commercial operation will start in the second half of decade. The realistic target being that between 5-10% of trains operating on the main European corridors being Marathon style trains.
Source* UNIFE, http://www.marathon-project.eu/