Ultra-fast, autonomous, electromagnetic… SNCF on its way to the train of the future

Ultra-fast, autonomous, electromagnetic… SNCF on its way to the train of the future

On March 9, the SNCF ratified an operational partnership with the start-up Nevomo engaged in the development of the futuristic Hyperloop train. Nevomo

The French railway company has signed an operational partnership with a start-up that is developing Hyperloop technology.

The train is on the rise again. To the point that the public authorities will dedicate to it 100 billion euros over fifteen years. A monumental financing plan somewhat overshadowed by the social news of recent weeks. The investment should enable the public group to carry out large-scale projects, starting with the development of an efficient rail transport network around the ten largest cities in France – what are called the metropolitan RERs. To achieve this, the SNCF turns to innovation and we could soon see trains of a new type speeding by on the regional lines of France.

In any case, this is what suggests a strategic partnership concluded this Thursday between the SNCF and Nevomo, which is one of the dozen or so start-ups on a global scale to have embarked on the hyperloop race. This futuristic train, 100% autonomous, promises to exceed 1000 km/h and to rally Paris to Marseille in just half an hour, or Paris to Amsterdam in 1h30 against more than double today. This very high speed is achieved thanks to an old technology brought up to date in recent years, which responds to the sweet name of electromagnetic levitation. Concretely, the train levitates a few centimeters thanks to a powerful magnetic field created by magnets placed on the ground and under the train; the absence of any friction with the infrastructure frees the machine which can thus reach unexpected speeds.

The leader of Nevomo, Przemek Paczek, may defend that the future of the train inevitably passes through the Hyperloop, operators like the SNCF have never been very interested. It must be said that this futuristic train requires the installation of an infrastructure ad hoc at staggering cost. To overcome this obstacle, the Polish entrepreneur invented with his teams an intermediate technology that works with the existing infrastructure. The solution consists of installing a linear motor between the two rails and replacing the old frame of the wagons with another, which notably has magnetic properties. Nevomo promises that today’s rolling stock will access much higher speeds – up to 550 km/h – without the need for a costly and time-consuming revolution.

“Third rail revolution”

Nevomo’s electromagnetic technology, dubbed MagRail, above all makes it possible to get rid of any locomotive and therefore outlines the short-term hope of a driverless train. “We must enter the third rail revolution: after electrification in the 1920s, high speed in the 1980s, the SNCF is committed to the advent of the autonomous trainsaid Fabien Letourneaux, who coordinates Hyperloop activities within SNCF, during a presentation of the partnership with Nevomo. The autonomous train developed with the Polish start-up would, according to him, increase capacity and regularity thanks to the optimization of flows.

The framework of the rail group also underlined the speed with which the process, which therefore consists of upgrading already operational equipment, can be put in place. The operational partnership consists of carrying out full-scale tests on regional SNCF lines by 2025. MagRail technology will also be tested as part of another major project led by the rail group: increasing the modal share of rail freight from 9% in 2019 to 18% in 2030, then to 25% in 2050. “MagRail increases loading limits and capacity of freight trains”estimates the SNCF.

The Polish start-up, which raised 5 million euros last November, welcomes “a turning point” in its operational development. “This is only a first phase“, however, specifies Przemek Paczek to the Figaro. “It is necessary to go through this to convert to magnetic levitation which we wish to set up in a second stage, with new, lighter vehicles”, adds the entrepreneur. The way is still long.

Source link

Leave a Reply