Eurotunnel tests Alstom Prima II locomotive in Channel Tunnel

2 October 2012 (Last Updated October 2nd, 2012 18:30)

Eurotunnel has conducted a trial run of the Alstom Prima II locomotive in the Channel Tunnel to check its compatibility and safety standards before it is used on freight trains.

Channel tunnel entrance

Eurotunnel has conducted a trial run of the Alstom Prima II locomotive in the Channel Tunnel to check its compatibility and safety standards before it is used on freight trains.

The tests are part of a plan to standardise locomotives on rail freight services between the UK and Europe.

TSI-compliant Prima II locomotives were used in standard configuration for the tests, hauling wagons with a total weight of 950t.

The freight trains are being hauled by Class 92 locomotives, built for use through the tunnel, however the trains are not approved for use on the French Rail Network (RFF).

Groupe Eurotunnel chairman and chief executive officer Jacques Gounon said: "Gaining authorisation for new rolling stock is an essential part in the development of the open access approach implemented by Eurotunnel."

Eurotunnel is seeking to encourage open access and, in July 2012, obtained an agreement from the Intergovernmental Commission Safety Authority that technical specifications for interoperability should be applied to freight trains running through the Channel Tunnel.

Alstom Prima II locomotives are also compatible with both ERTMS and ETCS and able to travel using four different power supplies, including 25kV, 15kV, 1500V and 3,000V.


Image: The Alstom Prima II locomotive tests on the Channel Tunnel are part of Eurotunnel's plan to standardise rail freight services between the UK and Europe. Photo: courtesy Holger Weinandt.