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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.”