Posts Tagged ‘ICE-3’

61 ICE-3 sets withdrawn for axle checks

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Third generation German high speed train ICE-3. Photo Wikipedia Commons

Deutsche Bahn AG withdrew 61 of its ICE-3 trainsets from service on Friday, 11 July for safety checks following a derailment on Wednesday in Cologne. 78 services were cancelled over the weekend while ultrasound tests were carried out on the axles. The inspections were announced after a broken axle caused one of the trains to derail None of the 250 passengers aboard the train were hurt. In 1998, an ICE-1 trainset at Eschede shed a wheel rim. In the ensuing derailment 101 people were killed and 88 injured. The Eschede accident was the world’s worst ever high speed railway disaster.

“We are playing it safe with the checks,” said Karl-Friedrich Rausch, DB board member responsible for passenger services. “The safety of our passengers is the highest priority.” Routes from Cologne to Frankfurt, Munich and Stuttgart, and from Frankfurt to Paris, are likely to be worst affected by cancelations. The situation should improve after the weekend as the trains are returned to service.

The Cologne prosecutors’ office is investigating the accident to determine whether the axle was damaged during the train’s high-speed journey from Frankfurt airport to Cologne. A passengers had reported hearing unusual noises to the guard, and said he was told, “Don’t worry. That doesn’t mean anything.”

The ICE 3, designed by Siemens and built by Siemens and Bombadier, is the flagship of Deutsche Bundesbahn InterCityExpress operations. There are some radical changes compared to previous ICE trainsets. Top speed is 206 mph (330 km/h) and the train can can climb inclines as steep as 4 %. Power is provided by motors driving 16 powered axles throughout the whole train, similarly to the French Alstom built AGV. The ICE 3 is an eight-car `half train’ which can operate independently or be coupled to another unit.