April 26, 2013

Technical issues delay Paris – Barcelona TGVs

Written by  Fernando Puente
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FRENCH National Railways (SNCF) and Renfe have postponed the launch of direct TGV services between Paris and Barcelona due to delays in completing certification of TGV Dasye sets for operation on the Figueres – Barcelona high-speed line.

The twice-daily Paris – Figueres TGVs were initially due to be extended to Barcelona at the end of this month, with Renfe launching a new Barcelona – Toulouse service at the same time.

Spanish infrastructure manager Adif has now confirmed that validation of TGV Dasye sets is taking longer than anticipated and while one of the main problems – electromagnetic interference between trains and track circuits - has been now been resolved, some sources suggest there are ERTMS compatibility issues which will require the adjustment of onboard equipment.

Adif, SNCF, and the Spanish certifying body Cetren are now working to ensure that the trains comply with the relevant technical specifications prior to issuing the required safety certificate to SNCF.

In the meantime, SNCF and Renfe will continue to operate Paris – Figueres TGVs, which are timed to connect with Figueres – Barcelona AVE services at Figueres Vilefant. Both companies expect to launch the through service within the next few months but now refuse to give an exact start date for the Paris and Toulouse services, as well as new services from Barcelona to Lyon and southeastern France.

The Barcelona – Figueres high-speed line opened last January, and is equipped with ETCS Level 1 (version 2.3.0d), with the Spanish ASFA system installed as a backup.

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