16 Jun 2011
New locomotive designs for UK railways
Impression of Bombardier Transportation Traxx P200 AC UK locomotive.
UK: Bombardier is targetting Greater Anglia and InterCity East Coast as possible customers for a UK version of its successful Traxx electric locomotive family. According to Alberto Lacchini, Director, Sales, in Bombardier’s Locomotives Business Unit, ‘we are well advanced in the design and are ready to launch the product’.
Bombardier believes that the Traxx P200 AC UK Bo-Bo electric locomotive fitted with a ‘last mile’ diesel engine would offer ‘a lot of value for money’ for UK operators such as Greater Anglia. Whereas the MkIII coaches used on London – Norwich inter-city services are ‘excellent’ vehicles that may last for another 20 years, the Class 90 locomotives will need to be replaced before that.
Lacchini emphasises that a 25 kV 50 Hz version of the Traxx family suitable for the UK with its small loading gauge will not require a special design to be developed. About 60% of components are common to all versions of the Traxx, one feature being the location of the main traction package in the centre of the locomotive rather than on either side of a central aisle. This makes it relatively easy to build a smaller and narrower version that would fit the UK loading gauge, Lacchini indicated.
Earlier this month, Bombardier announced two new versions of the Traxx - an electric locomotive with a low-powered diesel generator for use over short distances of non-electrified line, and a Multi-Engine locomotives, which will have four small diesel engines in place of one large prime mover. The four 540 kW engines will be of a proven and efficient industrial mass-produced type produced in very large series.
The use of multiple engines should to reduce fuel consumption and exhaust emissions as it will be possible to shut down engines altogether when idling and at times of low power demand.
The engines will be installed in exchangeable modules to cut the cost of maintenance, overhaul and upgrading, whilst the use of a mass-produced unit will mean that spare parts are readily available.
Another German manufacturer, Vossloh, is also making a pitch for the UK market with a version of the EURO 4000 passenger locomotive (below). Built in Valencia, Spain, this is clearly a derivative of the General Motors Class 67 which, after a faltering start, is performing well in the UK. The locomotive, which, at 4250 hp, is claimed by the manufacturer to be the Europe's most powerful diesel, is driven by an EMD two-stroke engine satisfying the latest emission standards.
In a rational world, these developments would point to the obvious idea of converting the HSTs into train sets for electric or diesel haulage in push-pull mode using locomotives such as these, available virtually off-the-peg. To cater for additional growth and to satisfy accessibility requirements, additional vehicles will eventually be needed. Now that suitable locomotives are at last available, it is the time to develop the design for a new generation of passenger coaches, incorporating all the knowledge and experience that has been gained since the mark 3 stock was on the drawing board forty years ago.
Article in Railway Gazette International