Following brake tests performed on OMNEO trains, Bombardier has commissioned Eurailtest for a further series of tests, this time using the ‘slip’ technique, on the M7 rolling stock, ordered by the National Railway Company of Belgium (SNCB).

M7 coach design is similar to that of the double-decker M6 that has proved reliable and very popular with operators and passengers alike. M7 coaches will, in particular, be able to be coupled together with M6 coaches for operation at speeds of 200km/h. They are scheduled to be placed in revenue service on all main lines in Belgium and on cross-border lines with the Netherlands and Luxembourg, including a number of high-speed lines.

Bombardier contacted Eurailtest in early 2019 over brake tests on an M7 coach, Bombardier being responsible for manufacturing the leading and trailer coaches, with Alstom providing the motive power cars.

While most of the rolling stock on which Eurailtest has worked in recent years has tended to be self-propelled trainsets, on this occasion the service requested concerned hauled stock. In such cases, dynamic tests to confirm braking performance are not conducted on trainsets but on individual vehicles using the slip braking technique.

As the term suggests, this consists of using a locomotive to haul the test coach until it reaches the desired speed (up to 160km/h in this particular instance) and then releasing the coach. The brakes are then automatically applied and the team of experts on board can record the various parameters needed to assess braking performance.

Tests were carried out in Velim, Czech Republic, by staff from the Railway Test Agency (AEF), a Eurailtest partner laboratory.  The teams conducting the tests demonstrated their flexibility by slotting their operations into the gaps available at the test ring, Velim being in particularly heavy demand, and by travelling abroad to complete their remit.

The success of this stage in the process represents a major milestone in the test campaign required to obtain type approval for M7 rolling stock.