June 7, 2013

EMD F125

All right... again, sorry for dropping the ball so frequently lately. Anyway, let's get talking about some trains again. Remember that a while ago, EMD announced a new diesel-electric high-speed locomotive for the North American passenger rail market that would be Tier 4 compliant? More information has surface over time and I guess now we have somewhat enough information to give this new comer some mention.

So this new locomotive is called the F125, a model number that's somewhat of a departure from the traditional scheme. Here the number 125 indicates the top speed of the locomotive, 125 mph. She will be a 4-axle locomotive, with a streamlined fill width monocoque car body designed by Vossloh (the brochure also says fabricated trucks, and given Vossloh's recent venture with diesel-electrics powered by 710s, my guess is the truck is probably also from Vossloh or some other German company). To ensure the locomotive is lightweight, she will not be powered by our favorite 2-stroke 710 engine. Instead, the F125 will be powered by the Tier 4 emissions compliant Caterpillar C175-20 engine pumping out 4,700 horses. The expected gross rail load of the locomotive is a mere 280,000 lbs., even lighter than the GRL of a modern North American standard 100-ton freight car (286,000 lbs. if you wonder).

Well, no pictures to share for now, but here's the brochure on EMD's website, have a look!

2 comments:

M-NL said...

Don't take this personal, but how somebody can call a 280.000 lbs. locomotive a lightweight is beyond me.

For reference: In Europe there would only be one 247 mile stretch of track this locomotive could use. For the rest it's axle load is more then 40% over.

When you drive a train over tracks at higher speeds the dynamic forced increase exponentially. That's why it's common practice in pretty much the entire world, except for north America that is, to reduce axle loads when speeds increase. Also you need extra power to accelerate and better brakes to decelerate all that weight.

Is more weight safer? I want to bet that a GT race car is safer for it's driver then a SUV double it's weight. With the use of proper materials and construction a lighter train can be just as safe.

Train of the Week said...

That's actually a great comment, thanks. I guess it's "light-weight" in North American sense. The GE Genesis are around 280,000 lbs, MPExpress are around 290,000 lbs, compared to over 400,000 lbs. GRL for mainline freight locomotives.

Our operating environment is quite different where passenger trains mostly have to lease private trackage from freight railroads. The signal systems on freight railroad are often somewhat primitive and are inadequate to provide the level of crash avoidance railroad signal systems in Europe are capable of.

The FRA is already working on a new crash worthiness standard for passenger rail running on better equipped routes owned by Amtrak, i.e. the Northeast Corridor, but outside of the NEC and maybe a handful of other routes, I think we'll probably be stuck with the stringent crash laws for now for the obvious reasons stated above.