New overhead contact system in the Katzenberg tunnel

The single largest project on the fourtrack section upgrade of the Rhine Valley line between Karlsruhe and Basel is the 9,385 metre long Katzenberg tunnel. The tunnel is designed for a maximum speed of 250 kilometres per hour and is scheduled to open in December 2012, considerably shortening the section north of Weil am Rhein compared to the existing line.

The two individual tubes of the Katzenberg tunnel are being equipped with the Re 330 overhead contact system that
has already proven successful on the Cologne – Rhein-Main and Nuremberg – Ingolstadt (NIM) high-speed lines.

However, there is reduced space for installa-tion of the overhead line. In collaboration with DB Netz, Balfour Beatty Rail (BB Rail) designed modifi ed contact system components such as support points, cantilevers for the feeder and return conductors, and tensioner support points, and developed a procedural alternative.

Dust-free working

The cantilevers are of the standard Re 330 type. In January 2010 the Federal Railway Authority gave building permission specifi cally for this tunnel. The support points are mounted directly on the tunnel wall.

The concrete tunnel liner segments have three drilling channels where the anchors for attaching the overhead contact system can be placed. For installing the support points, BB Rail developed a drilling template.

This not only enables the holes to be drilled accurately, but also ensures dust-free working. Based on the experi-ence gained with the NIM, DB Projekt- Bau placed great weight on keeping the site as free of dust as possible, the aim being to avoid fi ne dust and dirt causing damage to the fast trains after the tunnel enters service.

A special assembly scaffold was also designed for the drilling work. This can be moved along either of the lateral
gangways of the tunnels, leaving space free for rescue vehicles to travel along the middle of the tunnel.

Tunnel can also be used by rescue vehicles

The Katzenberg tunnel is being laid with a type of ballastless track (Slab Track) manufactured by the Max Bögl company. It consists of prefabricated 6.50 metre long track slabs that are joined together, so forming a homogenous trackway of indefi nite length.

The track can also be driven over by rescue vehicles – a fi rst for Germany. The surface consists of removable and fixed elements. The removable elements, each weighing 65 kilograms, can be taken away to enable repair work to be carried out.

There are also gaps around the rail supports to allowing access for inspection and maintenance at any time.

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