Diesel propulsion still plays an important role in the European railway network
The latest amendment of Directive 68 of 1997 (NRMM) on the measures against the emission of gaseous and particulate pollutants from internal combustion engines to be installed in non-road mobile machinery was made through Directive 26/2010 applicable to all member states, as well as to all types of engines used in railway traction.
Technical progress has been achieved since the amendment of Directive 97/68/EC in 2004 until currently in the design of Diesel engines for making them compliant with the limits of exhaust gas emissions set for stages III B and IV. Among the different types of non-road engines, the present Directive also refers to the engines designed for the propulsion of multiple-units or to the engines designed for the propulsion of diesel locomotives.
In 2010, just prior to the review of Directive NRMM, the Union of European Railway Industries (UNIFE) proposed se-veral recommendations for the announced amendment of the Directive in force and of its regulations. The respective proposals submitted by the railway industry manufacturers represent points of view on the best methods of approaching specific provisions in the future global recast of the NRMM directive so as to create an increased stabi-lity for the profile markets and to reach the best results in terms of railway environment performance. The timeframe between two phases of setting emissions should take at least seven years, so as to permit the apprehended technical adjustment. A flexibility diagram of three years should be extended to railway applications so as to appreciate the projects that rely on the business cycle of the industry and these should rely on the present discussions on railway transport flexibility, UNIFE’s representatives believe. The existing categories of multiple-units and locomotives should suffer no changes. However, industry manufacturers remain neutral about the period dedicated to testing the multiple-units and they should apply the legislation as included in the reviewed Directive.
Many of the current problems of the profile industry on the implementation of stage III B of Directive NRMM (on the certification after the type of the diesel engines) are caused by the fact that the timeframe between stage IIIA and IIIB was of only three years for this niche market. In fact, the auxiliary railway requirements, such as the TSIs of Directive 57/2008 on the railway interoperability, stipulate a stability period of seven years for specifications applied to rolling stock. The TSIs should serve as benchmark for the future reviews of Directive NRMM when it comes for implementation deadlines.
The railway sector and the diesel engines manufacturers have conducted a risk study on the damaging effect of implementing Directive NRMM in the railway market that delivers diesel engines, which, in fact, could lead to a modal shift from the railways to roads on regional passenger lines and on freight-dedicated routes.
Therefore, UNIFE and other 23 railway companies, launched in 2009 the CleanER-D project whose objectives consist in the development, improvement and integration of technologies for reducing emissions for locomotives and railway vehicles. For two years, CleanER-D has aimed to reduce the emission levels below the limits set by the EU legislation, as well as the evaluation of the best innovating solutions and hybrid systems for the contribution to reducing CO2 emissions.
Moreover, the recent conclusions presented at the reunion in October 2011 showed that the project has proved that the rolling stock driven by diesel engines compliant to the requirements defined in the European Directive on Non-Road Motor Machines was flexible and safe in use.
[ by Elena Ilie ]