HANNOVER MESSE 2019, 01 - 05 April
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Lightweight Construction

German and Chinese put super-light subway train into service

A German-Chinese company has built a train made significantly lighter by the use of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP). Thanks to a reduced axle load, it will be able to transport more passengers.

06 Oct. 2018
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German and Chinese put super-light subway train into service (Photo:CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co. Ltd)

Commissioned by the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) , the project is headed by CG Rail , a Chinese-German research and development center for train and railroad technology headquartered in Dresden. The 35-strong team of engineers developed the lightweight subway train together with national and international network partners. The key to this lighter weight is the composite material CFRP. The carriage body consists of up to 70% CFRP in place of aluminum, reducing the weight by around 30%. Even the bogie is about 40% lighter, while the front car and underfloor lining weigh around 30% less than similar metal constructions, thanks to the CFRP. By the company’s own account, CG Rail has managed to produce 22-meter-long CFRP profiles with wall thicknesses of up to 25 millimeters and different fiber types and orientations in one piece.

This development aims to increase the payload by reducing the load placed on the axles in order to carry more passengers. According to the manufacturer, the design has been tested in simulations that indicated a service life of 33 years.