Testing, testing… Wildenrath or Jan Kiepura?



The first Siemens ES64U4 multi-system Eurosprinter locomotive delivered to Poland.

Last Sunday’s Kurier PKP published an interesting article about the homologation trials being carried out by CNTK, Poland’s Railway Research and Technical Centre, on the Siemens ES64U4, prior to the locomotive receiving type approval for operation in Poland. (Click here to read it in English via Google Translate.)

During these trials the ES64U4 reached a record speed of 235 km/h (146 mph) on a specially prepared section of the CMK line. While the locomotive testing programme is perfectly orthodox, the method employed to certify passenger coaches seems just a tad unusual.

There are two stages in testing the newer PKP IC coaches which are being certified for high speed running. First of all, the coaches are tested on Polish tracks in order to receive certification for running up to 160 km/h (100 mph). Then we carry out final tests on German tracks.What usually happens is that the wagon being tested is fitted up with sensors and then attached to the Jan Kiepura train which runs from Warsaw to Amsterdam.

Full marks for Polish ingenuity. Dyspozytor urges the bright lads at CNTK to go a stage further. Why not offer a competitively priced testing programme to the UK TOCs and Network Rail. Simply attach the vehicle to be tested to the next freight train through the Channel Tunnel, tow it to Amsterdam, fill it up with sensors and attach behind the next Jan Kiepura to Warsaw!


The usual place for testing railway vehicles. The Siemens test track at the former RAF base in Wildenrath, Germany.

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