Immunity to frost and power outages, or why uFlash is superior to electric trains

The recent accidents of the latest electric trains in Russia have clearly shown that this mode of transport is vulnerable to severe temperature changes. High-speed transport, developed by UST Inc., can operate in difficult weather conditions and significantly outperforms the competitors. Let’s find out why electric trains are so sensitive to winter conditions and how uST technologies cope with the same challenges.

Freezing on the way

In Russia, since the beginning of 2024, several electric trains broke down due to weather conditions. For example, on the evening of January 4, the Lastochka electric train, heading from Nizhny Novgorod to Moscow, stuck in the field. These trains are equipped with asynchronous traction engines and are designed for suburban and regional transportation.

 High-Speed train. Photo: freepik

According to preliminary data, the stop occurred due to the icing of the contact network. Passengers had to spend two and a half hours in the unheated cars. That day the thermometer showed -30 °С.

On the same day, another high-speed electric train, Finist, which was going from Kachkanar to Yekaterinburg, went out of operation. The reason was the same – difficult weather conditions.

It should be noted that such problems are typical for all regions of the world facing below zero temperatures. For example, on 3 December 2023, the Austrian railway company ÖBB also closed its lines throughout the country. Several regional trains were stopped in South Bohemia.

And this is not just a problem of the last years, it is a systemic one.  Let’s recall the 2018 year, when the electric train of the British South Western Railway stopped while heading from Waterloo to Bournemouth. The passengers then had to spend eight hours in cold cars. No heating, no water and only foil blankets to warm up.

Facing numerous challenges 

The biggest challenge for electric trains in winter is the wire icing. This is the reason why in 2010 many local trains in Southern Sweden were unable to run their routes. The same situation occurred in Slovenia in February 2014 after a severe ice storm. As a result, the country’s national railway operator was forced to use diesel locomotives to deliver goods on electrified lines.

Cleaning railway tracks in winter

Switches also freeze in winter, which leads to frequent disruption of railway operations. They can be equipped with heaters, but it’s very expensive, and not all countries can afford it.

Snow often accumulates around the moving parts of the braking system, leading to its freezing and making braking ineffective.

Electric trains, which are driven by a contact rail, also experience difficulties in winter, as it quickly accumulates snow and ice, making power supply difficult or impossible.

The optimal solution by UST Inc.

The high-speed transport of UST devoid of the inherent disadvantages of electric trains. Its own traction engine and power storage allow uPods to operate even in the event of power outages and provide passengers with the necessary comfort.

The track structure of the high-speed complex cleans itself from snow and ice. The rail narrowness prevents it from accumulating of precipitation, while the ice crust will crack under the uFlash wheels already at its first pass.

uST high-speed transport
uFlash U4-362

Also, the uFlash traction bogie is equipped with dampers of special shape and strength. They are mounted in front of the wheel and provide rail cleaning.

High-speed transport by UST Inc., which runs a few meters above the ground, is not afraid of snow drifts often blocking the movement of trains. 

Thus, the possibility of an accident or a stop due to tree branches falling under the weight of snow and ice is excluded.

Riding on uFlash U4-362 is not only safe, but also comfortable: it has ergonomic seats with heating, ventilation, massage function and lumbar support, as well as a multimedia system.

Cheaper, more comfortable, and safer!

UST Inc. high-speed transport differs from electric trains in the low cost of building and maintaining infrastructure. It requires little land acquisition and is not harmful to the environment.

In winter, uFlash U4-362 does not need large expenses to maintain its performance, and passengers should not worry about getting stuck in the middle of the track in the cold. 

13 February 2024