South Western Railways award Kiepe Electric a contract for traction upgrade and refurbishment

Kiepe Electric UK Ltd has been awarded a contract by First MTR South Western Trains
Limited to carry out traction upgrade and refurbishment works on 18 Class 442 trains
to be operated on the South Western Railway franchise.
The refurbished units will start to enter service from December 2018. The traction upgrade
element will see the existing DC traction equipment replaced with state-of-the-art AC equipment
incorporating IGBT (insulated-gate bipolar transistor) technology from Kiepe Electric
Düsseldorf. This upgrade will increase the reliability and efficiency of the trains by removing
the life expired equipment. In conjunction with the new traction equipment, a new braking
system from Knorr-Bremse Rail Vehicle Systems will be installed which will improve the environmental
performance of the trains and lower operating costs by enabling regenerative
braking. The refurbishment will include new seats and carpets with at seat power in all classes
and table top charging facilities in 1st Class. The environmental benefits also extend to
the vehicle interiors with the installation of LED lighting. Wifi will be provided throughout and
disabled passengers will be catered for with universal accessible toilets and seating facilities.
“We are delighted to have been awarded this contract which follows on from other recent
turnkey projects, including retraction projects, delivered in the UK”, said Tim Jenkins, Managing
Director Kiepe Electric UK Ltd. “It is a further testament to Kiepe Electric UK’s skill, capability
and flexible approach in supporting customers to improve their rolling stock through delivering
complex turnkey projects”.
Neil Drury, SWR Engineering Director said: “We are delighted to have appointed Kiepe Electric
to carry out part of our planned £45m refurbishment and overhaul of our incoming Class
442 fleet of trains. Kiepe Electric has a proven track record in this field and we know that they
will produce high quality, as-new trains for our customers which will include fully refurbished
interiors, new information systems and improved performance.”

The “Brighton Belle”

Kiepe Electric UK are delighted to be working with the 5BEL trust in developing and designing a sanding system for the Class 403/1 “Brighton Belle” Pullman EMU.

The system will apply sand to improve braking and traction performance in times of low adhesion and will fully comply with GM/RT2461. The 5BEL Trust are restoring the historic “Brighton Belle” back into operational condition for passenger-carrying services.

The “Brighton Belle” was the most famous electric train in the world, running each day between London and Brighton between 1933 and 1972. When built, the quality of the accommodation set standards for luxury travel which continue to inspire today.  Each car was individually designed by a different leading British design house. It was – and will be again – the leading icon of the Art Deco period. The 5BEL Trust aim to have this wonderful train running on the mainline for many years so that future generations can enjoy an authentic 1930′s travel experience.



KEUK has a long history of providing sanding solutions into the UK rail market and are becoming increasingly successful in assisting Leasing Companies and Train Operating Companies achieve franchise commitments by installing technical enhancements, refurbishing existing rolling stock and increasing fleet reliability.

Renatus Re-Tractioning Series Roll-Out for 30 off Class 321 EMUs Awarded to Kiepe Electric UK by Eversholt Rail

Following the success with the pre-series upgraded traction and auxiliary system with innovative energy-saving Kiepe Electric traction equipment on Class 321 EMU No 321 448, Kiepe Electric UK is pleased to announce that it has received an order from Eversholt Rail for a further 30 off traction and auxiliary equipment packages for the first batch of mid-life upgraded and re-tractioned Class 321 EMUs.

Eversholt Rail has committed to this investment ahead of the new East Anglia franchise being let with 10 off Class 321 EMUs being delivered into service with Abellio Greater Anglia by October 2016 and the remaining 20 off EMUs being offered for service when the new East Anglia franchise starts.

In 2013, Eversholt Rail and Vossloh Kiepe embarked on the pre-series project to demonstrate modern AC traction on a Class 321 unit. The key objectives were to reduce journey time for passengers, improve reliability and maintainability, and reduce the total cost of operation through a combination of reduced energy consumption and regenerative braking.

The major change to the Class 321 EMUs traction packages includes replacing the current DC traction system with a modern lighter-weight 3-phase AC Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) traction system.

The new AC traction system is contained in a single case and uses the same bogie frame and axle suspension tube mountings as the present DC traction case.   Reliability is improved by the reduction in the number of moving parts and lower maintenance requirements.

Vossloh Kiepe in Düsseldorf will be responsible for the manufacture and delivery of the AC traction equipment including the Main Transformer, the AC Traction Motors, the Traction Converter, the Auxiliary Power Supply Unit and the installation of a modern braking system with improved wheel-slide prevention.  The traction system provides a regenerative braking facility that uses the traction motors as generators when the train is braking.  The electrical energy generated is fed back into the overhead 25 kV traction power supplies and offsets the electrical demands of other trains on the same network.

Vossloh UK based in Birmingham will carry out the Turnkey project that includes engineering design, approvals, installation and testing of the equipment.

The upgraded units, given the programme name Renatus by Eversholt Rail, will follow the work being undertaken by Wabtec in their Doncaster facility to vastly improve the Class 321 EMU passenger environment.

Eversholt Rail is committed to enhancing its existing rolling stock to meet passenger expectations and reduce costs to the UK rail industry with the Class 321 product upgrade matching the quality and performance of a new train.  The contract for the re-tractioning builds on the strong relationship between Eversholt Rail and Vossloh Kiepe, both in the UK and in Germany.

When the contract was announced by Eversholt Rail, Mark Williamson, Managing Director of Vossloh Kiepe UK Limited said; “We are delighted to have secured this contract for new and modern Vossloh Kiepe traction equipment for the Eversholt Rail Class 321 Fleet.  Our clear focus is on ensuring that our newly fitted traction equipment and integrated braking enhancements deliver a highly reliable and greatly improved Class 321 performance level for Eversholt Rail, the train operators and the passengers that use these trains in future years.”


Kiepe Electric UK completes the installation of 2 off Class 37 locomotives with Hitachi Rail ETCS

Hitachi Rail Europe (HRE) awarded Kiepe Electric UK a contract in 2015 to integrate and install the Hitachi European Rail Traffic Management System/European Train Control System (ERTMS/ETCS) to 2 off Class 37/5 locomotives, for operation west of Sutton Bridge Junction and Shrewsbury on the Cambrian Line in Wales.  The two locomotives, Nos 37668 and 37669, are owned and operated by West Coast Railways.

Vossloh Kiepe’s turnkey project included the integrated design, engineering, procurement and the installation and commissioning at Barrow Hill in Chesterfield.

The installation of ETCS on Class 37 Locomotives is a complex task.  There are many unique features on each locomotive as the class was originally supplied in twelve batches and subsequently maintained by numerous operators who independently carried out their own internal modifications.  However, Vossloh Kiepe offered HRE the benefits of its experience by utilising many aspects of the successful ETCS approved design, installation and conversion that Vossloh Kiepe had undertaken on 3 off Class 37 Locomotives for Network Rail.  These three locomotives were reclassified as Class 97 and numbered 97302, 97303 and 97304.

In collaboration with HRE, Vossloh Kiepe’s Engineering Design office developed the post-concept design for the package of work and produced the necessary design pack.  Vossloh Kiepe provided site and safety management and skilled and certificated tradesmen, including a coded welder when required.  The project included the removal of both redundant and obsolete cab equipment together with the installation of new ETCS equipment.

To locate the new Doppler radar and balise (transducer) antenna installation, Vossloh Kiepe redesigned and installed a replacement long range fuel tank in order to make provision for the new equipment that was being installed on the underside of the fuel tank including a revised wiring installation.  The design incorporated full Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and was approved to meet Railway Group Standards.

The package of work included modifying the ETCS cubicles to allow occasional access to the rectifiers and fitting of new On-Train Monitoring Recorder (OTMR) and upgrading the Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) Equipment, GSM-R/GPS and GSM-R/Data Antennas, and ETCS Brake Control Equipment.  Vossloh Kiepe reviewed and modified the cab desk design and fitted new cab equipment housings that incorporated a 240V power inverter, socket and Ethernet connection on the non-drivers side for a secondary Desktop Management Interface (DMI)/laptop. New axle speed probes were also provided and fitted.

Following the completion of the installation, Vossloh Kiepe undertook verification and routine testing of the ETCS, TPWS and OTMR systems and assisted in performing the commissioning and set-up of the ETCS system before final testing and handover to the Customer.

The spot-hire locomotives will provide additional haulage capability and flexibility for commercial operations over the Cambrian line and providing further ERMTS/ETCS operating experience for the roll-out across Network Rail.

Vossloh Kiepe UK Completes the Delivery of the Class 221 Automatic Sanding System for Bombardier

Vossloh Kiepe UK was contracted by Bombardier Transportation (BT) to design, supply and install an automatic sanding system for the fleet of 20 off Virgin Trains’ Class 221 Super Voyager Diesel-Electric Multiple Units (DEMUs).  The 20 off Class 221 DEMUs, numbered 221101 to 221118, 221142 and 221143, are operated by Virgin Trains (VT) and are maintained by BT at Central Rivers Depot where the installation took place in 2015.

The sanding system is a further development of Vossloh Kiepe’s automatic sanding product range that is compliant to Railway Group Standard GM/RT2461 (Sanding Equipment Fitted to Multiple Units and On-Track Machines) and includes a sand box level detection feed to the Train Monitoring System (TMS) and the facility for automated sand delivery via a lance.

Prior to the installation of the new automatic Vossloh Kiepe Sanding Systems, the Class 221 DEMUs were equipped with single shot sanding systems that discharged sand from pressurised sand bottles. The original systems were removed and replaced with Vossloh Kiepe Sanding Systems whilst the existing cables, components and bogie brackets were used in the new installation where possible.  The new installations did not require the bogies to be lifted from the cars.

The sand boxes are underframe mounted behind the existing skirt panels on the non-drivers side of all driving motor vehicles and in front of the third axle from the leading (driving) end.  Only the sander on the leading vehicle is operational on any train set.

Sanding is carried out automatically when the train is braking above 8 mph with wheel slide activity detected by the Wheel Slide Protection (WSP) system whilst the system negates the risk of losing track circuits.  The system uses the existing signal to control the automatic sanding system and is also active when any wheel is sliding below 95% of the vehicle speed or at all times during emergency brake applications.

A feature is included which gives feedback to the driver that the sander is operating correctly with the sand button illuminated in the cab when the sand discharge electro-pneumatic valve is energised.  A manual override is also fitted and controlled via the sander button and will be active at speeds above 8 mph whenever there is brake demand.  Operation of the button will override the sander controls and lay sand as long as the button is depressed.

The Class 221 DEMUs are fitted with both blended pneumatic and dynamic braking systems and the signal for the automatic sanding is active with both systems.  The Vossloh Kiepe equipment incorporates a device that either delays or inhibits sanding during WSP activity of less than one second’s duration in order to optimise sand usage and prevent false or unnecessary activation.

The new automatic sanding systems fitted to the Class 221 DEMUs have improved the operation in low-adhesion conditions during acceleration and braking thereby improving safety and reducing the likelihood of wheel flats and other wheel tread faults during braking.

Vossloh Kiepe enters Production Phase for SWTs Class 455 EMU Re-Tractioning at Eastleigh Depot

With the successful completion of the trial pre-series Class 455 EMU with upgraded traction and auxiliary system supplied by Vossloh Kiepe, Porterbrook Leasing Company has contracted Vossloh Kiepe UK to upgrade the traction system in their fleet of 91 off Class 455 EMUs, Sub Classes 455/7, 455/8 and 455/9 with modern three-phase AC traction motors and Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) technology traction inverters.  As part of a £40m investment in South West Trains’ Class 455 EMUs, the Class 455 EMUs are one of the first EMU fleets in the UK to benefit from this state of the art traction upgrade with the project being delivered from 2016.

This new technology transforms older units into modern trains and delivers an economical solution to the most pressing business needs including the increasing passenger demand.  The cost for leasing and maintaining this fleet will be substantially lower than investing in new trains.

Vossloh Kiepe in Düsseldorf is responsible for the manufacture and delivery of the integrated solid state traction equipment whilst Vossloh Kiepe UK based in Birmingham provided the Turnkey Project responsibility for the design and integration engineering, approvals, installation and testing of the equipment.

The work started on the trial Class 455 Unit at Wimbledon depot in June 2014.  On-track testing commenced in March 2015 and the Unit entered into service in April 2016.  The second trial unit was also modified at Wimbledon depot and the production EMUs are being re-tractioned at Eastleigh depot with eight units completed to date.

The project includes the re-tractioning of the two motor bogies in each of the Class 455 Units Motor Second Open (MSO) vehicles where the current 2 off DC Motors per bogie are being replaced with 2 off new, lighter, axle-hung nose suspended three-phase AC traction motors per bogie that offer greater energy-saving efficiencies.  The new AC traction motors have been designed to be direct replacements for the DC machines and the work also includes the replacement of the 750V DC camshaft control system on each EMU with an AC three phase Variable Voltage Variable Frequency (VVVF) inverter.

The weight saving with the new AC traction motors is typically 500 kg per motored axle less than the original design which will make the wheel sets more track friendly by their lower unsprung weight that assists with the improved performance of the re-tractioned train.  There will also be reduced maintenance, service and repair costs as AC traction motors have a lower number of moving and wearing parts when compared with the original DC traction motors.

The new IGBT Traction System provides a regenerative braking facility that uses the traction motors as generators when the train is braking.  The electrical energy generated is fed back into the 750 V third rail DC supply and offsets the electrical demands of other trains on the same network.   Tests have shown that the energy consumption can be reduced by between 10 per cent and 30 per cent, depending on conditions.  With the increasing cost of energy, regenerative braking will have a massive positive cost impact on the long-term viability of these trains.  If the supply is non-receptive to the regenerated power, the generated power is dissipated by the rheostatic brake.

The project includes a replacement of the brake control equipment with a modern Knorr Bremse EP98 brake control system that will provide the necessary brake blending between this new electric or dynamic braking on the MSO and the existing conventional friction braking system on the four cars in the unit to maximise the savings that can be made.  The Wheel Slide Protection (WSP) system is operable on all four vehicles of the unit and will also be upgraded to improve stopping distances and reduce the occurrences of wheel flats and other wheel tread faults in low adhesion conditions when compared to the existing system.  The new braking system with WSP will have a major benefit with reducing friction brake and wheel set maintenance.

The key commercial and technical advantages compared with the original traction equipment may be summarised as follows:

  • Improving reliability.
  • Generating electricity into the traction power supply for use by other trains.
  • Lower environmental impact with a lower carbon footprint.
  • Reduced operating energy costs.
  • Reduced use of the friction brake with lower brake pad and wheel disc wear.
  • Reduced running costs by the lower unsprung mass reducing the amount of wear and tear on the rail infrastructure.
  • Reduced maintenance with fa lower number of moving parts in the traction motors and supporting traction system.
  • Reduced servicing costs by increasing mileage between major maintenance works from 10,000 miles to 15,000 miles thereby keeping trains in service for longer period.
  • Advantages to freeing up depot space enabling the train operator to increase train capacity.

The scale of this contract has created new opportunities for installation personnel as well as engineers, designers and technicians that have joined Vossloh Kiepe’s project team.  The modification of the rail vehicles has also generated valuable work for the railway maintenance facilities in Eastleigh.

This latest re-tractioning technology is highly attractive to a number of train operators and leasing companies.  Porterbrook is currently looking at the possibility of undertaking similar re-tractioning work on other EMUs it owns and more recently Eversholt Rail Group has contracted with Vossloh Kiepe for a re-tractioning programme on 30 off its Class 321 25 kV electric multiple units following a pre-series traction upgrade on a similar unit.  There are several fleets in the UK that could benefit from this technology, especially with the plans for further mainline electrification requiring new fleets and cascaded fleets of older refurbished EMUs.