QUEENSLAND Railways and Walkers Pty Ltd are putting the finishing touches to the design of a pair of diesel-powered tilting trains, intended to work premium services over the 1680 km between Brisbane and the northern tropical resort of Cairns. The first underframes have been laid down, and the 1067mm gauge trains should be commissioned by late 2002. With a 5° tilt capability and a maximum speed of 160 km/h on upgraded sections of QR’s main line (RG 2.98.p109), they will cut timings between Brisbane and Cairns from around 31h at present to 27h.

Many of the train’s features will be similar to the electric tilting trains that QR operates between Brisbane and Rockhampton. This includes the tilting equipment derived from that used on 1067mm gauge trains in Japan, with route characteristics pre-programmed so that the tilt activates just as the train enters a curve.

QR has formed an alliance with Walkers to manage the project from design to commissioning. The contract has been drawn up to give both parties strong incentives to complete the project within budget and on time; QR says that ’this form of relationship contracting has been shown to deliver considerable cost savings.’

Each set will have two twin-engined power cars enclosing seven air-conditioned trailers. Continuous rating for the complete train is 5400 kW against a requirement of 4 200 kW at rail for traction and 260 kW for hotel power. Sufficient power reserves are available to allow a further five trailers to be added to the formation. Hydrodynamic transmissions are fitted, with axle drive gearboxes. Sufficient fuel will be carried to limit refuelling to once per single trip.

Each power car has two auxiliary power plants, which are linked by an innovative power synchronisation system. Hydrodynamic braking is blended with EP disc brakes, which are also fitted on the trailers.

A service car adjacent to one of the power cars has space for checked luggage and staff accommodation. It also houses the train entertainment system and includes refrigerated storage space.

Behind the service car are three seats cars, each with 39 seats arranged 2+1. In one arm of each seat is an adjustable LCD screen offering a choice of entertainment programmes. The screen can also display information about the train’s progress and a view from a camera mounted in the cab showing the track ahead. Audio entertainment is available, with a 240V socket at each seat. Closed luggage bins are fitted along the length of the car.

Next in the formation is a club car with galley serving a wide range of drinks and food. Passengers will also enjoy an at-seat trolley service of hot and cold meals.

Two further seats cars follow the club car, and both of these include removable seats and toilets large enough for wheelchair access.

TABLE: Main data for diesel trainsets

Gauge mm 1067

Maximum speed km/h 160

Seating capacity 183

Operating range km 1 000

Power car

Length over couplers mm 20350

Distance between bogie centres mm 12600

Bogie wheelbase mm 2500

Wheel diameter, new mm 840

Mass tonnes 60

Diesel engine rating kW 2x1 350

Auxiliary power rating kW 2x150

Trailer car

Length over couplers mm 22 300

Distance between bogie centres mm 16 000

Bogie wheelbase mm 2 250

Wheel diameter, new mm 810

Mass tonnes 42

CAPTION: Queensland Railways’ tilting diesel trains will be derived from the two electric units introduced between Brisbane and Rockhampton in October 1998

CAPTION: QRset a narrow-gauge speed record of 210 km/h on May 23 1999 as part of high-speed trials for the development of the diesel units; speed measurement was verified by the local police with a hand-held radar gun