Showing posts from March, 2010

Bombardier TRAXX HXD3B

Fast trains will resume next week.  Let’s call a time out for now and take a look at a very powerful freight locomotive manufactured in China since 2008.  This one, based on the IORE we have talked about, is also a TRAXX locomotive from Bombardier.  It is designed for the Chinese Ministry of Railway for heavy-haul applications at a speed of 120 km/h (75 mph) and it is currently one of the most powerful 6-axle locomotives in the world.

The HXD3B (HXD: Héxié Diàn, literally means Harmony Electric) weighs 150 metric tonnes and is powered by 6 AC asynchronous traction motors.  This locomotive is rated at 9.6 megawatts (12,870 horsepower) and can provide a maximum of 570 kN (128,100 lbf) of tractive effort and 480 kN (107,900 lbf) of regenerative braking.  The Chinese Ministry of Railway ordered 500 HXD3Bs.  Despite the code name given, the HXD3B is completely unrelated to the Tōshiba HXD3 also used in China.

We will talk about something fast again next week.

JR Central Japan MLX01

Japan is one of the only two countries that has been consistently developing and testing trains using magnetic levitation technology.  I do not understand the principles of physics behind maglev any better than you do (however, if you are interested in reading about it, you may start from here), but one of the Japanese Maglev trains is still very well worth talking about, as the MLX01-901, introduced in 2002, has set the world speed record for trains in 2003 with a stunning speed of 581 km/h (361 mph).  The MLX01 is developed by Central Japan Railway Company and the Railway Technical Research Institute and first introduced in 1996.  Japan has been developing Maglev trains since 1969.

"JR MLX01-1 001" by Daylight9899 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Unlike the German Maglev system which uses conventional electromagnets, the Japanese system uses super-cooled, superconductors to propel its trains.  As a result of the Electrodynamic Suspension techn…

UAC Turbo

To reply to the comment (thanks for commenting by the way) from last week, yes, the TurboTrain.

The TurboTrain, a gas turbine powered, passive tilting, and articulated (use of Jacobs bogies, where two carriages rest on a single bogie in between, like on the Alstom TGV and AGV) trainset, designed in the 1960s by the United Aircraft Corporation of Hartford, Connecticut, was the first true high-speed train in North America and the only in Canada.  Instead of diesel engines, the TurboTrain uses a set of up to twelve (on both ends) Pratt & Whitney aeroderivative gas turbines to generate electricity for the traction motors.  Compared to diesel engines, gas turbines have a much higher power density (kilowatt per litre of engine displacement, i.e. they produce the same amount of power as diesel engines while weighing a lot less).  The passive-tilting passenger carriages of the TurboTrain used a design similar to the Spanish Talgo trains and were lower than conventional carriages.


Siemens ES64U4

The ES64U4 is a 4-axle AC electric locomotive designed by Siemens of Germany for rail transport across system in Europe.  It belongs to the 3rd generation of the EuroSprinter family of locomotives.  Similar enough to General Electric’s naming scheme, the ES64U4 simply translate into EuroSprinter (not Evolution Series), 6,400 kW (not horsepower, 6,400 kW is roughly 8,580 horsepower), Universal (both passenger and freight), 4-mode (European countries have different voltage and/or frequency in the cantenary system and some use DC instead of AC).  It weighs about 86 metric tonnes and is able to provide 300 kN (or 67,000 lbf) of tractive effort.  The ES64U4 is allowed a maximum speed of 230 km/h (143 mph) in passenger services and 140 km/h (87 mph) in freight services.  Pictures are linked from

On 2 September 2006, an unmodified ES64U4 (Rh 1216 050-5) prior to delivery to the Austrian Federal Railways ÖBB set a new record for conventional electric locomotives near Nürnberg, …