Given that the Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSI) STIs) have applied since early 2012 to freight trains travelling through the Channel Tunnel, the Eurotunnel Group and Alstom held tests during the night of September 29th to 30th with Alstom's new generation of Prima II locomotives in order to validate its compatibility with Channel Tunnel systems and security standards.
For this first-time event, Alstom's Prima II locomotive, set in a standard configuration and pulling cars with a total load of 950T, entered the Tunnel from the French side at 10:20 pm and proceeded to perform traction, braking and pantograph tests. After exiting on the Folkestone side, the train turned around and headed back towards France for a second experimental phase lasting from 3:00 to 5:00 am.
This is part of Eurotunnel's determination to foster the development of "standard" rail freight traffic between Great Britain and the continent, which means having the possibility of not having to use specific Class 92 locomotives.
Those successful tests, as well as being yet another key step in Prima II's history, demonstrate Alstom's ability to resolve one of freight's major issues, namely interoperability, thanks to its new generation of locomotives, which are compatible with ERTMS and ETCS systems and able to travel using four different voltages (25 kV, 15 kV, 1,500 V and 3,000 V). Prima II can travel in every European freight corridor.
Eurotunnel Group SA CEO Jacques Gounon stated that "The approval of new railway equipment is a vital addition to the open access set up by Eurotunnel. I am glad that our close cooperation with Alstom is paving the way for new freight traffic, capable of significantly reducing CO2 emissions."
Alstom Transport Chairman Henri Poupart-Lafarge stated that "We are very pleased that those tests were successful as they open up new promising prospects for European railway freight, as well as demonstrating Alstom's determination to actively support it. The tests are an integral part of the lasting partnership that we develop on a daily basis with our customers as a whole, and with Eurotunnel in particular."