In a bid to improve energy use and create a more aesthetically pleasing railway, Bombardier has introduced its first completely contactless and catenary-free operating tram.

The new train, which uses a contactless power supply and no overhead power lines, incorporates Bombardier’s PRIMOVE inductive power transfer technology as well as the integrated MITRAC Energy Saver, which provides cost reductions by recharging energy.

Director of advanced technology development at Bombardier, Dr Carsten Struve, said that unique technology used in the tram would provide energy savings and eradicate ugly overhead power lines.

“The catenary-free operation offers an entirely new prospect, particularly for trams operating in historic city centres where impressive cityscapes can now exist unencumbered by visual pollution from overhead lines,” Struve said.

“Combined with the new Bombardier MITRAC Energy Saver technology, the PRIMOVE system can also save additional energy.”

The PRIMOVE technology system uses principles found in transformer technology with electric power components hidden under the vehicle and beneath the tracks to produce energy for the tram’s operation. This makes the system easier to install, eliminates the effect of weather conditions, reduces wear on component parts, and allows the tram to operate with lower noise levels and fewer emissions.

The vehicle is equipped with pick-up coils underneath the vehicle, which are connected to the tram’s traction system through a cable. The vehicle is only energised when the connected ground segments are fully covered by the vehicle, ensuring safe operation in areas such as pedestrian zones.

The MITRAC energy saver uses a pair of innovative capacitors, which store the energy released each time the vehicle brakes and reuse it during acceleration or operation. The system, which attaches to the tram’s roof, been proven to save up to 30% of energy, reducing emissions as well as costs.

The PRIMOVE technology system is part of the BOMBARDIER ECO4 portfolio of technologies launched by the company last year.

By Daniel Garrun.