Flat Swinghandle in the new Traverso
Space is usually at a premium on trains. Special solutions are often needed to ensure that cabinets and housings can be locked securely and conveniently. This was the case in the new Traverso of the Schweizerische Südostbahn AG (Swiss Southeast Rail). The flat swinghandle not only saves space in the railway car and protects passengers against possible injuries, it also emphasizes the design of the new train and features ergonomic handling.
The new Alpine Express of the Schweizerische Südostbahn AG has been operating on the route between Lucerne and St. Gallen since mid-2019. As a supplier of Stadler Rail AG, Letrona produces important structural elements for trains, offering passengers a high level of comfort thanks to the latest technologies. There are also two bistro areas for serving beverages and snacks to commuters and passengers. Each of the six new trains is also fitted with a family compartment designed to be child-friendly and with enough space for a pleasant stay.
The fully air-conditioned Traverso has a roomy design overall. To create enough space for comfortable seating areas and wide aisles, however, the interior fittings of the trains had to be as space-saving as possible. Letrona also placed great emphasis on meeting the visual expectations of both their client and its passengers. Combined with other requirements such as vibration resistance and ergonomic handling, this posed special challenges, for example in the locking systems of various housings.
High standards for locking systems
Raphael Schwarz, Development Manager at Letrona, explains: "It was very important for us in regards to function for the latches to withstand the vibrations of rail traffic and for flaps never to open uncontrollably." The handles also had to have pleasant haptics to make it easy for maintenance personnel to open the doors. In addition to an appealing appearance, the design also focused on safety aspects such as incorporating a flat shape and rounded edges to protect passengers and their baggage against injuries or damage. Because of this, the latch on the outside of the housing that had to be locked could only take up a small amount of space, and due to the general lack of space in railway vehicles, could also not extend too far into the inside of the relevant housing.
This challenge also affected the front wall housing, where maintenance machines and the electrical system of the Traverso are kept. Often in applications of this kind, systems that differ visually and in terms of technology are combined together. However, this has a negative effect on both operability and appearance. The customer's goal was to avoid these disadvantages and to install just one system covering all requirements in terms of technology, design and comfort. DIRAK GmbH together with Letrona has developed and implemented a system to do just that.
Flat Swinghandle enhances safety and comfort
Marc Sobotzki, Senior Key Business Manager for DIRAK, reports: "Our motto for designing this system was: "As flat as possible on the outside and as deep as needed on the inside." In line with this, we placed the cylinder, which otherwise would be outside of the housing, inside the door panel." The recently developed DIRAK swinghandle system is highly versatile yet impermeable to water and dust in accordance with IP65. The design is extremely flat and compact, making it suitable for single-point or multi-point systems with the same appearance and uniform design. Discretely reserved lines remain consciously in the background while underscoring the overall design of the vehicle's interior. Thanks to exchangeable latch inserts with covers secured against rattling and vibration by magnets, this swinghandle can be closed either by activation or with various cylinders.
Once opened, the handle remains in the opening position, thus making it easier to operate and preventing the dish handles or housing surfaces from being scratched. To close the swinghandle, it can simply be pressed into the dish handle until it latches audibly.
Raphael Schwarz reports: "Since the swinghandle lies flat and the profile half-cylinder is positioned inside the front wall housing, the latch is not a disruptive element. Thanks to the close collaboration with DIRAK, we have achieved our goal of combining functionality and ergonomics in an elegant design. We are completely satisfied with the solution."
Six new trains of the Schweizerische Südostbahn AG have been operating on the route between Lucerne and St. Gallen since mid-2019. (photo: SOB, Markus Schälli)
The Traverso offers ample space for a pleasant journey. This is ensured in part by the locking systems of DIRAK GmbH. (photo: SOB, Daniel Ammann)