The modernisation of the 399-mile (641.6km) rail route between London and Glasgow and its key divergences to Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester, was the largest rail project to date in the UK.
Founded in 1923, Furrer+Frey, the electrification company, specialises in railway electrification systems ranging from 600V to 25kV and covering mountain lines, intercity lines, urban traffic, rack railways, normal and narrow gauge railways, narrow tunnels etc. Specific innovative products include the overhead conductor rail, the light rail system LIRACOS and the StB FL 100 for tramway, the FL 200 or FL 260 catenary systems and trolleybus equipment.
The overhead conductor rail
The conductor rail consists of a rectangular rigid aluminium profile where the contact wire is clamped between the webs. Recently, it was installed for its 80th project. Despite the success, Furrer+Frey continues to improve both the components and the installation procedure and investigate new possible applications and their specific requirements.
Today, Furrer+Frey has developed a complete range of elements for the overhead conductor rail system including supports, expansion elements, fixed points, anchors and moveable overhead conductor rail sections suitable for electrified car depots, maintenance halls, moveable bridges and loading areas. Since 2004 we have had trains running at 230km/h under the overhead conductor rail.
The light rail system LIRACOS and StB FL 100
Another recent development is the light rail system LIRACOS, with its fully insulated cantilevers and ropes where no current carrying parts extend over the contact wire plane. No further insulation is needed and the system is therefore inconspicuously slender and merges into any city or suburban landscape.
Moreover, the tubular, synthetic cantilevers can be delivered in any colour to camouflage them even more with the environment and neighbouring buildings, or to contrast with them deliberately, as does StB FL 100, the new tramway overhead contact line which was recently developed for the new tramway in Zürich. In this case we worked closely together with the town-architects.
Catenary system FL 200 or FL 260
Our conventional catenary system, FL 200 or FL 260, was developed in co-operation with BLS Lötschbergbahn in the 1980s and has, in the meantime, also been adopted and installed by other Swiss railway companies.
It is a robust and aesthetically pleasing system with its geometry based on triangles. The hinged cantilever system is easy to install and to adjust. It was conceived for high-speed railways with velocities up to 260km/h. The cantilever tube is made of hot-dip galvanised steel, stainless steel or aluminium, depending on individual customer requirements.
The system has proved its worth on a multitude of track kilometres over the last 20 years and we expect it to have a life span of at least 60 years with very little maintenance. In the long run, a truly economical solution. This fact was also taken into consideration by Network Rail, when they decided to use FL 200 for the GE upgrade
Trolleybus electrification equipment
In Switzerland, several cities, Berne, Neuchâtel, St Gallen and others, have trolley bus systems that are very popular and well maintained. Work on these lines has given us the opportunity to gather experience and develop the system further. We are one of few providers of trolleybus equipment.
Vehicles and working platforms for overhead contact line installation works and maintenance
We rent out and, in a joint venture with UP, also sell working platforms. Recently, the Swiss Federal Railways bought 17 units.
Our engineering department covers the whole spectrum of overhead contact line services including laser-scanning or aerial survey of existing installations. ELFF is our very effective design tool for overhead contact lines. It has developed so far, that we have made the first steps to implement it with third parties.
Further information on request.
Mr Rico Furrer, chief executive officer
Mr Rudolf Brodbek, executive officer, export department
Ms Caroline Bacher, head of UK projects
Mr Bruno Fiechter, executive officer, engineering department
Mr Jean-Pierre Solida, executive officer, construction department
Mr Daniel Eisenhut, executive officer, development / design department
Mr Andreas Büchi, executive officer, material / logistics department
Mr Beat Furrer, consultant
Mr Urs Wili, consultant railway technology
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Via Claudio Pellandini 4