Electrification Ferrovie Emilia Romagna
FER, electrification of Emilia Romagna regional lines.
Emilia Romagna, Ciano d'Enza station. September 20, 2021, Monday. Against the background of a particularly dark cloudy sky stands out the silhouette of two skilled workers who, from the yellow basket of the motorized ladder truck, secure the first mooring to the steel portal, there where the railway begins.
With expert manoeuvring they secure to the special tensioning devices a 120 mm2 copper bearing rope and two 100 mm2 copper and silver contact wires, which, a little further on, are wound onto the large coils of a braked tensioning wagon. On the ground, between the tracks and on the motorcars, about 20 workers in orange uniforms, each intent on the last, meticulous preparatory operations.
About ten minutes and the locomotive sets off, punctuating the rhythm of the different components of the tensioning train. Means and men, synchronized and with steady progression, concur in tensioning the new and modern TE line: fastening the rope to the bearing insulator of the brackets, securing the contact wires to the polygon arms, carefully arranging and quickly tightening the countless "pendants," the copper cables that - besides ensuring the electrical connection between the rope and the wires - keep the line of contact wires perfectly horizontal, 5.20 m above the level of the iron.
Just under an hour and the convoy continues past the station, leaving the new TE line behind.
The first night of tensioning the Ciano-Reggio Emilia is more than just a first step: it is the official act by which the lines in the Reggio Emilia area also enter to benefit from the ambitious electrification program of the railway lines of Emilia Romagna.
The electrification of Reggio Emilia lines
The subject of the application contracts awarded to GCF - as part of the "ecological transition" axis - are the works for the complete electrification of three Reggio Emilia lines.
Pathfinder the Reggio Emilia - Ciano d'Enza: 26 kilometres of single-track line with 4 stations and 13 stops. Equipped with about 800 poles anchored to concrete foundation blocks and fitted with Omnia-type aluminium brackets, the line, after tensioning and stress-testing, was officially inaugurated on April 1, 2022 by starting the runs of the new ETR 350 electric train.
This was followed by the Reggio Emilia - Guastalla: 7 stations and 9 stops along 31 kilometres of single-track line, already partially equipped for the Reggio - Bagnolo section. About 700 LSU poles installed and equipped with Omnia brackets. Tensioned and tested by mid-September 2022, it has seen the old diesel trains replaced by the brand new ETR 350 and POP.
Last to be electrified is the Reggio Emilia - Sassuolo, about 23 kilometres of single track cadenced by 5 stations and 6 stops. The line, also equipped with 750 Omnia brackets and stretched in summer-autumn 2022, replaced diesel with electric trains on all daily runs since April 2023.
At the same time, as per the contract, GCF also provided for the electrification of a 3.5-km section of the Budrio - Mezzolara, a segment of the Bologna - Portomaggiore line (48 km single track, previously electrified), an intervention carried out following the superelevation carried out (between the Idice stream and Budrio) to eliminate the pre-existing Level Crossings.
The works for the power supply
Also carried out by GCF's Electrification Department are the works necessary to supply power to the Reggio Emilia lines: a TE cabin in Reggio Emilia (for the "cantilever" supply of the line to Ciano and for the "double supply" of the other 2 lines) and two electrical substations, in Dinazzano and Guastalla, to ensure the supply of the Reggio - Sassuolo and the Reggio - Guastalla lines, respectively. A set of equipment that, in practice, provides to take electricity from the Manager (in this case ENEL) to transform it from 15 kV alternating current to 3kV direct current and, finally, through the output of poles with first-row disconnectors, to feed it into the contact line to power the electric trains.
In Guastalla, the GCF intervention also included the building renovation of an old FER building, which was once used by the Po Valley Railways as a train maintenance workshop and had been disused for more than 20 years, and was repurposed with conservative interventions to house the complex system of the ESS-the medium distribution switchboard, the transformer compartment with the two 3.6 mW groups, rectifiers, filter cells, and the feeder department are its main components.
All works for power supply, Te cabin and ESS - Electrical substations, have been equipped with modern SCADA diagnostic systems complying with the current RFI Technical Specifications.