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Eurotunnel and Alstom conducting dynamic tests on Prima II locomotive in the Channel Tunnel


Given that the Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSI) STIs) have applied since early 2012 to freight trains travelling through the Channel Tunnel, the Eurotunnel Group and Alstom held tests during the night of September 29th to 30th with Alstom’s new generation of Prima II locomotives in order to validate its compatibility with Channel Tunnel systems and security standards.

For this first-time event, Alstom’s Prima II locomotive, set in a standard configuration and pulling cars with a total load of 950T, entered the Tunnel from the French side at 10:20 pm and proceeded to perform traction, braking and pantograph tests. After exiting on the Folkestone side, the train turned around and headed back towards France for a second experimental phase lasting from 3:00 to 5:00 am.

This is part of Eurotunnel’s determination to foster the development of “standard” rail freight traffic between Great Britain and the continent, which means having the possibility of not having to use specific Class 92 locomotives.Those successful tests, as well as being yet another key step in Prima II’s history, demonstrate Alstom’s ability to resolve one of freight’s major issues, namely interoperability, thanks to its new generation of locomotives, which are compatible with ERTMS and ETCS systems and able to travel using four different voltages (25 kV, 15 kV, 1,500 V and 3,000 V). Prima II can travel in every European freight corridor.

Eurotunnel Group SA CEO Jacques Gounon stated that “The approval of new railway equipment is a vital addition to the open access set up by Eurotunnel. I am glad that our close cooperation with Alstom is paving the way for new freight traffic, capable of significantly reducing CO2 emissions.

Alstom Transport Chairman Henri Poupart-Lafarge stated that “We are very pleased that those tests were successful as they open up new promising prospects for European railway freight, as well as demonstrating Alstom’s determination to actively support it. The tests are an integral part of the lasting partnership that we develop on a daily basis with our customers as a whole, and with Eurotunnel in particular.

About Eurotunnel

Eurotunnel (Euronext Paris: GET, and London Stock Exchange: GETS) manages the Channel Tunnel infrastructure and operates two kinds of shuttles, namely freight shuttles for lorries and passenger shuttles devoted to cars and buses, travelling between Coquelles (France) and Folkestone (Great Britain). Eurotunnel holds the Channel Tunnel concession until 2086, operating the fastest, simplest, most reliable and most environmentally-friendly transport system to cross the Strait of Dover. Over the past 18 years, more than 284 million travellers have used the Tunnel. This unique terrestrial route has become a vital link between the United Kingdom and the continent. Eurotunnel also runs a railway freight business through its Europorte subsidiary, which provides a wide range of integrated railway freight services.

About Europorte

As France’s first private operator to get a license (in 2004) to develop railway services throughout the European Union, Europorte, a fully-owned Eurotunnel Group subsidiary specialising in railway freight, is well established within the French and British networks. Employing over 1,000 people, Europorte provides bespoke solutions to industrialists through its integrated offers involving the entire range of freight trades: from national and international traction to logistics, and from local services to junction management, not to mention railway operator local 

About Alstom Transport

Alstom Transport develops and provides the railway sector’s most comprehensive range of systems, equipment and services. Alstom Transport manages the entire breadth of transport systems, including rolling stock, signalling and infrastructures, providing its customers with turnkey solutions. Alstom Transport’s turnover for FY 2011-2012 was €5.2b. Alstom Transport is established in over sixty countries and employs 24,700 people.

About the Prima II locomotive

Thanks to its Onix chain drive, the Prima II locomotive is a modern machine generating 6.4 MW in power, enabling it to meet the traction needs of freight and passenger train operators. It features an independent traction system for each axle: in the event of a malfunction on one axle, the locomotive is able to perform at 75% in the case of a Bo-Bo, considerably reducing risks and immobilisation costs.

Throughout its lifecycle, maintenance is facilitated thanks to the standardisation of its structure and main components, to the easy access to its main equipment features distributed on either side of a large central corridor, and to the TrainTracer remote diagnosis system. As a result, Prima II can ensure one of the best availability rates on the market, as well as high residual value thanks to its modularity and versatility (easy to reconfigure according to the requirements of the various operators).

It provides the drivers with the best possible working conditions, including increased protection in the event of a collision. It features a European “EUDD+” control panel, and living quarters specifically designed to host two drivers. The dashboard is ergonomic and easy to use. The cabin’s perfect soundproofing reduces noise levels. For optimal comfort, the cabin is air-conditioned.

Morocco’s national operator ONCF uses 20 Prima II locomotives, intended to tow freight trains at a speed of 160 km/h. On another note, a wide-gauge version, using a number of common sub-systems, is currently being manufactured for Kazakhstan and for the Russian market.

Eurotunnel press contact:

Fabienne Lissak
+33 (0)

Alstom press contacts:

Christine Rahard, Isabelle Tourancheau
+33 (0) / 39.95 ,

Linda Huguet (Trade Media Relations):
+33 (0)