First H715 Point Machine Installed in Riga

Latvia is a young, upwardly mobile country in the centre of the Baltic region. Between Lithuania and Estonia, Latvia is about the same size as Bavaria landwise but sparsely populated with just under two million inhabitants. Latvian railways LDz (Latvijas dzelzcelš) operate a ca. 3,000-km line network which connects the country’s most important cities and ports with the capital Riga. Latvia has been a member of the EU since 2004 and has been striving to modernize its infrastructure and to align it to European standards ever since.  by Jens-Christian König

One major current infrastructure project is Rail-Baltica which entails construction of a new 870 km rail connection from Warsaw to Tallin in Estonia with EU funds. This line also passes through Riga and Latvia. In contrast to the existing network which for historical reasons is in Russian broad gauge (1520 mm), the new line will be in European standard gauge (1435 mm). Electrified with 25kV alternating voltage and with a maximum speed of 240km/h, the Baltic States will be connected to the European maximum speed network. An underwater connection through the Baltic to Finland is even planned for the near future. 

Apart from this prestige project, the LDz would like to modernise their network. Soviet point-machine technology is still in place but replacements are currently difficult to procure due to the sanctions against Russia. Looking for partners to modernise their point-machine technology,  LDz, learned about HANNING & KAHL and the H715 point machine which has proven itself in operations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. 

In line with Soviet standard, the existing points do not have a point lock, and the point machine is responsible for point-tongue locking. The H715 follows a different safety philosophy and is always deployed together with a point lock. The point machine holds the open point tongue with a defined holding force. The closed point tongue is locked in place by the point lock.  

This has the advantage that the closed point tongue is locked with positive locking and the point can be trailed in destruction-free manner. In addition, a back-up level is provided via independent tongue detectors which guarantee safe holding of the point tongues if one connection fails, and which manifest the error next time the points are set.  

The advantages described above, the H715’s clear set-up and hydraulic drive technology convinced Latvijas dzelzceš, and the first H715 point machine was installed in a railway station in Riga at the beginning of December 2023. 

The mechanical construction of point machine H715 and the electric end-position monitoring were adapted to on-site conditions by HANNING & KAHL in accordance with customer requirements. Point locks, drive bearings and rods come from DENA Stahlbau in Osnabrück. 

With point machine H715, HANNING & KAHL has developed a concept which enables the modernisation of existing points with minimal T&E, using mainly proven and approved standard components for point lock and rods, to meet customer requirements quickly and cost-effectively.

Are you looking for individual solutions to modernise your point-machine technology? We would be delighted to devise a bespoke concept for your points.