By Gary Boyd-Hope
SIEMENS has begun testing of Govia Thameslink’s (GTR) new dual-voltage Class 717 ‘Desiro City’ EMUs at its test and validation centre in Wegberg-Wildenrath, with just six months to go until the December delivery deadline.
Twelve of the six-car units have been transferred from Siemens’ manufacturing plant in Krefeld, near Duesseldorf, to the test track as work continues on the remainder of the fleet. They will operate on Great Northern suburban services from Welwyn Garden City, Hertford and Stevenage to and from Moorgate.
The rigorous testing process sees the new units put through their paces on the facility’s 6km oval circuit, as well as pitting the trains against a variety of measures, including the use of a climatic chamber to assess the ‘717s’ endurance in extreme weather conditions.
On May 2, UK journalists were invited to Krefeld to see the 85mph units in production, and witness the performance of the EMUs first hand. The inspection also provided an opportunity to see the innovative front egress access ramp in operation, which has been developed to enable around 30 passengers a minute to de-train in case of emergency in the Moorgate tunnel sections.
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