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Stadler GTW Railcar, seen near Austin, Texas
|Manufacturer||Stadler Rail AG|
|Maximum speed||115–140 km/h (71–87 mph)|
|Weight||37–62 t (36.4–61.0 long tons; 40.8–68.3 short tons) (GTW 2/6);
72.4 t (71.3 long tons; 79.8 short tons) (GTW 2/8)
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)
1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in)
The Biel-Täuffelen-Ins-Bahn near Bern, Switzerland was looking for a lighter train model to replace its aging fleet, so that a low floor system does not require heavy installations on the roof. Based on that requirement Stadler came up with a concept of placing most of the equipment in a central unit between the seating cars. While the BTI-Bahn tracks are meter gauge, Stadler presented the first prototype in 1995 set on standard gauge rails, and the Mittelthurgau-Bahn was testing three prototypes on its standard gauge network during 1996. The rolling stock for Mittelthurgau was later expanded to 10 GTW 2/6 (built 1998-1999) that are now part of the THURBO fleet (the three prototypes were sold to Italy). The next lots were produced in meter gauge being delivered to the BTI-Bahn and the CEV-Bahn (Chemins de fer électriques Veveysans) in 1997.
During that time the Hessische Landesbahn in Germany was also looking at the new system but actual procurement was delayed until the second generation. In the beginning, Stadler was cooperating with ADtranz/DWA with the initial batch produced in 1999 at DWA Bautzen (Brandenburg). Its headshape design follows the style of the Deutsche Bahn trains as they were already on production at DWA, and eventually Deutsche Bahn did also order a batch. The full series were then manufactured at the new Stadler Pankow (Berlin) facilities being built in 2000 by a joint venture with ADtranz. Stadler acquired their shares in 2001 and the final vehicles were delivered in 2001 by Stadler alone.
The second generation can be easily distinguished by its round headshape made from GFK (glass-fiber reinforced plastic). These follow the DB design being produced since 2000 in the Swiss facilities as well. By the time the available options had already expanded - meter gauge vehicles can be ordered in a 2.2 or 2.7 m width and the standard gauge vehicles in a 3.0 or 3.1 m width. The GTW 2/6 may be expanded with an additional bogie car making it a GTW 2/8.
The third generation has minor modifications to the headshape but the more important changes were made to the power module - the electric variant has now 700-800 kW (instead of up to 520 kW) and the diesel-electric variant is available as a DMU-2 with two generators instead of one. This allowed to increase the maximum speed as it was required by the Italian customers where they are named ATR 100 (built since 2004).
The fourth generation came along with new regulations in the EU that were increasing the crash worthiness requirements (see DIN EN 15227). These must be fulfilled by atleast 2008 (see 2008/57/EC). This is the same year that much of the production was moved to the branch factory in Siedlce, Poland.
Stadler GTW is family of vehicles which differ externally, in the various designs of the head of the vehicle (from angular to streamlined), and also in the different designs and power units that drive them. They also come in different gauges and as rack railway vehicles. The basic version is the GTW 2/6, a railcar which conforms to UIC standards. "2/6" means "two of six axles are powered". The GTW 2/6 is used for example by Deutsche Bahn as Baureihe 646 (Series 646) and by Swiss railways as RABe 526.
The basic concept is rather unconventional: the car is driven by a central "power module", also known as a "powerpack" or a "drive container", powered on both axles. Two light end modules, each with a bogie, rest on the power module, which produces useful traction weight on the driving axles. The end modules also use the space very effectively, although the railcar is divided into two halves by the power module. Most units have a path through the drive container for passenger access. The end modules can be delivered with standard pulling devices or buffer gears, or with central buffer couplings. They are built with a low-floor design except above the bogies and at the supported ends (more than 65% of the railcar is low-floor). All of the usual comforts to be expected in a modern local network railcar are provided, such as air conditioning, a multi-purpose room, vacuum toilets (in a washroom suitable for the disabled) and a passenger information system. The GTWs can be Diesel-electric or electric-powered (via overhead wires or third rail).
There are diesel propulsion modules with 550 kW (740 hp) (since 2003) with 2 x 375 kW (503 hp) = 750 kW (1,006 hp) power available, and electric propulsion modules with 600 to 1,100 kW (800 to 1,480 hp). IGBT based traction converters together with asynchronous motors are used as drive units. The traction converters are manufactured by ABB at their site in Turgi, Switzerland and the motors by TSA Austria.
By inserting a middle car (also with only one bogie) on one side of the propulsion module, the GTW 2/6 is expanded to GTW 2/8. Instead of the middle car, another drive module can also be inserted. Between the two modules are then either a trailer passenger car (GTW 4/8) or two medium cars and partitions (GTW 4/12). For operational flexibility up to four GTWs of the same pattern can be operated as a multiple unit.
- Southern New Jersey Light Rail, (SNJLR)
- New Jersey Transit uses 20 GTW diesel light rail vehicles on the 34-mile (55 km) River Line service between Trenton and Camden. The diesel LRV offers a tighter turning radius than typical main line light rail vehicles (i.e. Siemens Desiro, Bombardier Talent, etc.) and thus is capable of street running, a capability used in the River Line between Walter Rand Transportation Center and Entertainment Center stations in Camden.
- GTW trains are also planned to operate on SNJLR's Glassboro–Camden Line, currently in development.
Denton County, Texas
The Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA), announced on May 20, 2009, that it would purchase 11 GTW 2/6 articulated diesel multiple units (DMUs) for DCTA’s 21-mile (34 km) corridor from Denton to Carrollton. This line connects with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Green Line which extends from the Pleasant Grove neighborhood in southeast Dallas to northern Carrollton. The contract includes an option for up to 25 additional GTWs.
East Bay, California
The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District Authority has ordered eight GTW 2/6 DMUs for the eBART tracks to Antioch, California to be delivered from June 2016 onwoard, with two options to procure six more.
The Panoramique des Dômes in France uses 4 GTW 2/6 since opening in 2012.
In Italy GTW are used by some regional railways, and called ATR:
- ATR 100: Societá Automobilistica Dolomiti (SAD)
- ATR 110: Ferrovie Udine Cividale (FUC)
- ATR 110 - ATR 120: Sistemi Territoriali (ST)
- ATR 115 - ATR 125: Ferrovie Nord Milano Group
- ATR 200: Ferrovie del Sud Est (FSE)
THURBO uses a large fleet of RABe 526 (GTW 2/6 and 2/8) on various lines in eastern Switzerland. Regionalverkehr Mittelland bought several GTW 2/6, which were later extended to GTW 2/8 and finally sold to the Swiss Federal Railways in 2013.
Various narrow gauge railways use GTWs: Chemins de fer du Jura, Biel–Täuffelen–Ins-Bahn, and the Transports Montreux–Vevey–Riviera.
The multinational transport company Arriva uses the diesels on the lines: Leer (Germany) - Groningen, Nieuweschans - Groningen, Delfzijl-Groningen, Leeuwarden - Groningen, Roodeschool - Groningen, Veendam - Groningen, Zuidbroek - Groningen, Leeuwarden - Sneek, Leeuwarden - Stavoren, Leeuwarden - Harlingen Haven. From December 2012, Arriva is also using diesel GTW's on Arnhem-Winterswijk, Winterswijk-Zutphen and Zutphen-Apeldoorn. The electrified GTW are used on the lines Dordrecht - Geldermalsen and since December 2012 also on Zwolle - Emmen.
Veolia Transport used the electrified GTW on the lines Kerkrade Centrum - Heerlen - Maastricht Randwyck, Heerlen - Maastricht, and the diesels are used on the lines: Roermond - Venlo - Nijmegen.
HO scale (1:87)
In 2011, German model manufacturer Piko introduced a model of the GTW 2/6 in both Diesel and Electric versions in a wide range of liveries including DB-AG Regio red, SBB-CFF-FFS (Swiss Railways) Thurbo and Arriva's Spurt livery. These models are in their "Expert" range and retail for around 200 Euro - accessories available include DCC decoders, interior lighting kits and sound kits for both Diesel and Electric variants. The model themselves can be obtained in DC/DCC 2-rail and AC 3-rail Märklin compatible versions.
Besides, the Swiss model manufacturer (HAG) also produces the higher end GTW 2/6 and GTW 2/8 in THURBO livery which is of metal body construction, metal pantographs, lit destination signs as well as LED interior lightings with figurines in the interior of the train. Also optional are the onboard sound option which features the GTW 2/6 / GTW 2/8 being factory-fitted with Loksound V4.0 sound decoder that can support up to 15 functions.
- www.stadlerrail News: More GTWs for Texas, Retrieved on 29 January 2012
- "East Contra Costa BART Extension (eBART) Implementation". Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). May 19, 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-09.
- Conseil Général du Puy de Dôme, Panoramique des Dômes
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