New locomotive will boost cross-Channel rail freight
Eurotunnel and Siemens have teamed up to test the latest generation Siemens Vectron locomotive following the agreement to apply the European Technical Specifications for Interoperability to freight trains travelling through the Channel Tunnel.
Tests were carried out overnight on 25-26 January 2013, where the Vectron loco was tested in standard configuration and hauling wagons with a total weight of 1,350 tonnes.
Following the completion of a series of traction, braking and pantograph tests, the Vectron became the first locomotive to gain certification under TSI, HS and RST in Europe, meaning it is capable of hauling traffic directly from the continent to the UK.
Equipped with four axles, instead of the six on the Class 92, which is currently used in the Tunnel, the Vectron exited was tested to prove its compatibility with the systems and safety rules in the Channel Tunnel.
This series of tests is in line with Eurotunnel’s ambition to encourage the development of “normal” rail freight between the UK and continental Europe, that is to say without the need to use the very specific Class 92 locomotives..
Michel Boudoussier, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Groupe Eurotunnel SA, stated:“The approval of new rolling stock is the vital counterpart to the open access model put in place by Eurotunnel. I am delighted that our cooperation with Siemens will open the way to new international rail freight flows, which will in turn, significantly reduce C0² emissions”.
Karl-Hermann Klausecker, Chief Executive Officer of Siemens Locomotives and Components (Division Rail Systems), added: “We are very pleased to have been able to demonstrate the exceptional capabilities of the Vectron. In keeping with the Vectron slogan, ‘Creating corridors’, we have been able to show that it is possible to operate through the Channel Tunnel, in a reliable and safe manner, using just a standard loco”
Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight
Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports.
A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers.
Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US.
The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two.
Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels
The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.
The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete.
Tesla’s supply chain woes
Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue.
Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely.
Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany