Add us to your taskbar by dragging this icon RGI logo to the bottom of your screen.

Close
Share |

European diesel rivals revive electric versus hydraulic contest

01 Jul 2006

Demonstration diesel locos aimed at the heavy freight market in Europe are taking to the rails this summer

TWO POWERFUL demonstrator diesel locomotives are taking to the rails in Europe this summer. Both are from German-based suppliers and both target the same market. One is a diesel-electric and the other a diesel-hydraulic.

Aimed mainly at the market for freight traffic on non-electrified lines - or cross-border routes where multi-voltage electric locos are deemed too expensive - the two locos both feature a modular twin-cab design with six axles. One is from Vossloh, which bought the former MaK plant in Kiel from Siemens in 1998 and has a track record of building medium-size locos for the European freight market. The other is from Voith Turbo, marking a venture into fresh territory for the Voith group.

The two companies had previously worked together on a number of locomotive designs, but Vossloh's acquisition of the former Alstom plant at Albuixech near Valencia sees the Kiel-based supplier strike up a partnership with US engine supplier Electro-Motive Diesel. This effectively put an end to plans for the MaK3000 locomotive, which would have been a Vossloh design with a 20-cylinder engine driving through a Voith transmission. The two companies are now following separate paths for the high end of the market.

Hydraulic Goliath

The Voith Maxima 40 CC is being assembled in Kiel, although many components originate in the company's factory in Heidenheim. The loco is designed to accept a 12 or 16-cylinder diesel engine with a nominal rating of 3600 kW, but the power plant for the initial loco is a 16V DZC engine from Belgian supplier ABC.

Voith plans to offer a 160 km/h version able to provide hotel power for passenger trains, but the base option is intended to be able to haul a 2000 tonne freight train up a 1% grade at 60 km/h.

The bodyshell is a self-supporting, torsionally-stiff structure with crashworthy cabs meeting the requirements of EN15227. Removable roof panels offer good access to equipment for maintenance. Bogies with Flexicoil secondary suspension are designed for low wear and tear on the track and have low-level traction linkages.

The engine drives through a Voith LS640reU2 split transmission able to supply each bogie independently (RG 2.04 p107); the bogies also have independent wheelspin and wheelslide controls. Derived from the LS620reU2 fitted to the MaK2000 locomotives built by Vossloh, the LS640reU2 is linked through a Küsel universal joint shaft coupling and cardan shafts to the SK-720 final drives. Hydrodynamic brakes provide up to 2·5MW of continuous braking power through two KBD385 retarders.

Multiple-unit controls are fitted, and the cabs are air-conditioned. The demonstration loco is fitted with the German Indusi PZB90 automatic warning system and is equipped to accept ETCS. Voith says that the loco has GSM remote diagnosis, and that options include exhaust gas after-treatment and broad gauge bogies. All current TSI requirements are met.

Powerful diesel-electric

Vossloh's Euro 4000 is a successor to Alstom's Spanish-built range of EMD-engined diesels, with plans for construction dating back to 2002. At the InnoTrans exhibition that year EMD, then owned by General Motors, announced plans for a demonstration loco for Europe's heavy freight market (RG 11.02 p683), but nothing came of the proposal.

Vossloh España inherited the concept, and the company claims that the Euro 4000 is 'the most powerful diesel-electric locomotive currently available on the European market'. The EMD 16-cylinder 710G3B two-stroke turbocharged engine with electronic fuel injection has a DIN rating of 4300hp and drives an AR20 main generator with AC/DC transmission. The six D43 nose-suspended traction motors suffice for a maximum speed of 120 km/h.

Bogies have fabricated steel frames with coil spring primary and rubber-metal secondary suspension. Hollow axles are used and there is one brake disc per axle. Vertical, horizontal and yaw dampers are fitted.

The loco is TSI-compliant, meeting norms for exhaust emissions, noise, crashworthiness and fire-resistance. Exhaust emissions remain below the levels stipulated by Directive 97/68/EC Stage 3A which takes effect for locomotives in January 2009.

The air-conditioned cabs were designed to meet DIN5566, EM12663 and UIC651 standards, and the driver's desk and other equipment are fully prepared for ETCS/ERTMS. A GSM data transmission system can be fitted, and GPS location equipment is provided.

In September the two locomotives should come face to face at InnoTrans in Berlin. After display at Berlin the Voith unit will return to its birthplace in Kiel before trial running starts in March 2007. Performance trials are planned in Germany and Austria, with certification testing envisaged in the Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, Italy and/or Hungary.

Both Voith and Vossloh guarantee supply of spares, for 'the entire service life' in the case of Vossloh and 'for at least 30 years' in the case of Voith. n

Table I. Main data for Voith Maxima 40 CC diesel-hydraulic locomotive

Gauge mm 1435

Wheel arrangement C-C

Length over buffers mm 23200

Distance between bogie centres mm 11420

Overall width mm 2900

Overall height mm 4225

Wheel diameter, new/used mm 1150/1070

Maximum weight tonnes 135

Nominal power rating kW 3600

Starting tractive effort kN 408

Maximum speed km/h 120

Maximum fuel capacity litres 8000

Table II. Main data for Vossloh Euro 4000 diesel-electric locomotive

Gauge mm 1435

Wheel arrangement Co-Co

Length over buffers mm 23020

Distance between bogie centres mm 14600

Bogie wheelbase mm 3600

Overall width mm 2850

Overall height mm 4264

Wheel diameter mm 1067

Nominal weight tonnes 123

Nominal power rating at 900 rev/min kW 3178

Starting tractive effort kN 400

Maximum speed km/h 120

Maximum fuel capacity litres 7000

  • Fig 1. The Voith Maxima diesel-hydraulic loco will be unveiled in September

1. Diesel engine

2. Turbo split transmission

3. Cardan shaft

4. Final drive

5. Pillow block

6. Exhaust gas silencer

7. Cooling system

8. Brake equipment module

9. Electric and electronics module

10. Fuel tank

11. Universal joint shaft coupling

  • CAPTION: Fig 2. Vossloh's Euro 4000 diesel-electric locomotive is powered by the popular EMD 16-cylinder 710G3B engine
  • CAPTION: Tractive effort curves for the Maxima (Fig 3, left) and the Euro 4 000 (Fig 4, right) are very similar, but the Maxima has a slightly higher starting TE at 408 kN compared to 400 kN
  • CAPTION: Another newcomer in the European diesel loco market is a 1600 kW Bo-Bo diesel-electric from Alstom and Siemens, 400 of which are on order for SNCF's Fret business at a cost of €836m. The first loco has been tested at Wildenrath