The Next Generation Train (NGT) in 2020 ?

The Next Generation Train (NGT) is a research project of the German Aerospace Center that aims to show new perspectives for the rail vehicle industry in the development of trains . In the project, which was started in 2007, knowledge from the aerospace industry is to be used. These trains are probably not actually made in this form, but are only meant to demonstrate new technologies.

NGT concept

train next generation

An NGT HST in a train station (photo montage)
The concept provides 3 different train types: NGT Link, NGT HST and NGT Cargo. The HGV should be a high-speed train with a top speed of 400 km / h and connect larger cities, i.e. serve the division of the current ICE . The Link, on the other hand, is designed as a regional train, so it runs on shorter routes and opens up the surrounding area of the city. At 230 km / h, however, it is also comparatively fast. The NGT Cargo is a high-speed freight train that is basically based on the HGV.

Various identical technologies are planned for all trains, this applies above all to the concepts for general locomotion. All trains consist of double-decker cars to reduce the costs per seat and to increase the transport performance per kilometer. Below are the technologies that should be found in all 3 train types.

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Drive concept
The energy supply should be by induction , for this purpose current loops should be laid in the track. [1] This should make the maintenance-intensive overhead line unnecessary.

The wheels each have their own drive, which makes each car body individually maneuverable. This technology allows the undercarriage to be smaller in the center, since the wheelset shaft is no longer required, thus enabling an actual double-deck coach with passages at the top and bottom. In addition, the individual drive of each wheel makes it easier to take a curve by turning the right wheel a little faster than the left on a left curve. As a result, both wheels of a car are no longer parallel to each other, but slightly offset. This significantly reduces the wear on the wheel and improves cornering and driving experience. In addition, they enable an even better vibration of the train. A lateral sine wave of 3 millimeters is required to distribute the wear of a wheel.[2] Furthermore, Des is to wheel-rail noise are minimized. The end cars should have two bogies with two wheel sets each, the middle cars should have two idler wheels .

When braking, the electric motors are to act as generators and thus energy is to be recovered . An eddy current brake is also to be used. The operational braking distance should be 10 km at a speed of 440 km / h, and 6.4 km for rapid braking – with additional mechanical brakes used .

The coupling between the cars should be easy to disconnect and each car should be maneuverable individually . The train should be able to be coupled to others via an optical coupling . Another peculiarity is that the trains should be coupled and uncoupled while driving, which is called dynamic wingingreferred to as. For example, a train leaves a station shortly after another, changes onto the same track behind it and forms a network. This increases the throughput and thus the capacity per kilometer of track, since it is possible to drive more closely and the two trains are virtually one. As soon as a train wants to travel another route, it slows down slightly to increase the distance to the previous train and then continues alone.

Car body
A new car body concept is being developed for the trains . This should include a large number of identical parts in order to keep costs down. Since an intermediate wagon only has two wheel sets and the axle load should not exceed 16 t, its total mass must not exceed 32 t. To achieve this, a light truss structure is developed, which consists of different materials. The aim is to achieve a weight reduction of up to 30% compared to a pure metal construction.

The aerodynamics of the train with models in scale 1:50 in the wind tunnel tested. With special active controls, insensitivity to cross winds should be achieved, despite the relatively low weight of the car. The eddy current brake on the side facing the wind is always switched on and off, which pulls the train towards the track. [3] It is also being investigated how the tunnel bang can be avoided.

The life cycle costs are calculated by new models. The NGT has higher investment costs , but the operating costs and the specific energy consumption are lower, the latter per seat with the NGT HST by up to 50% compared to the ICE 3. This is mainly due to the 30% higher seat capacity with almost identical weight (NGT HST: 215 tons compared to ICE 3: 216 tons).

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NGT link

The NGT Link is a  with a length of 120 meters and a top speed of 230 km / h. It is designed for 475 people. Due to its speed, it can also be seen as a replacement for the IC.

It has the special feature that it is very strongly optimized for battery operation. So  train next generation that electricity does not have to be available everywhere, the train can only be charged inductively on parts of the route, or even only at the station. For this he has in the lower part of the room for batteries that can be scaled individually on customer request.


Side view of a HST end and middle car

The NGT HST is a high-speed long-distance train with a top speed of 440 km / h. It is said to be 202 meters long and to carry 790 to 800 passengers.

In order to speed up getting in and out, it has a special arrangement of the doors. Each wagon has four doors, but spread over two floors. Each floor has a door on each side, at the other end. As a result, a queue forms that leaves the train on one side of the platform and new passengers arrive on the other side. The train next generation second floor on the platform, whereby the upper floor should be for 1st class, accelerates this effect. In addition, this constellation offers the possibility of saving stairs and thus accommodating more seats. The doors are not on top of each other, but at the level of the door on the other floor on the other side.

As an example, a train in the direction of travel has the door at the bottom left in the front area and in the rear area on the right. At the top, the doors would be on the right in the front area and on the left in the rear area. [4]

The middle car has a length of 20 meters and the power car has a train next generation  length of 21 meters. The middle car is used 8 times per train, the power car 2 times. [5]

The nose of the power car is particularly important for this type of train. The optical coupling enables a new kind of protection, in which special materials and production techniques fold the nose inwards in the event of a crash and absorb a lot of energy.

This type of train should also have batteries, albeit smaller than the Link. Its main purpose is to maneuver individual wagons.

NGT Cargo

NGT Cargo is a freight train for high-speed traffic. This train next generation  also manages 440 km / h and is 202 meters long, but it should be designed for 400 km / h.

Technically, the concept train consists of single wagons and power cars. The individual wagons can be maneuvered individually and are intended to couple themselves independently with others at train stations. These single wagons are intended to cover the last kilometers to the customer alone. The motors are comparatively weak. A double-deck car that can be loaded from the side was also visualized.

At the starting point of high speed, all  train next generation cars are mechanically and independently coupled and coupled with one or two powered heads. The number of power cars and the weight of the train determine the maximum speed. Again, several railcars can be optically coupled. [6] [7]

This train has the same nose as the NGT HST and also batteries for each car, although they are larger here.

The concept also includes a logistics concept that complements the rail system

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