Showing posts from June, 2010

Virgin Trains Class 390 Pendolino

The Class 390 is an AC propulsion EMU manufactured by Alstom of France in Birmingham, England.  It incorporated active tilting technology Alstom inherited from Fiat, an Italian train manufacturer Alstom had purchased, making the Class 390 one of the Pendolino series tilting train.  The Class 390 was introduced in 2002 by Virgin Trains on the West Coast Main Line to replace older equipment for services between London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly.  The Class 390 was later also deployed on services from/to London Euston to/from Liverpool Lime Street, Birmingham New Street, Wolverhampton, Preston, and Glasgow Central.  Due to the lack of in-cab signaling, the top speed of the Class 390 is capped at 125 mph (201 km/h) instead of the designed top revenue speed of 140 mph (225 km/h).

(All pictures below were taken in May 2009 at Manchester Piccadilly Station after detraining from this Pendolino the City of Edinburgh.)

Each set of the Class 390 is named, and the full list can be found her…

Electro Motive SD40-2

The SD40-2 was one of the best selling locomotives in North America.  It was based on the earlier SD40.  3,957 units of SD40-2 were produced by General Motors Electro Motive Division in LaGrange, Illinois and General Motors Diesel in London, Ontario between 1972 and 1989.  The modular design with a moderate 3,000 horsepower (2,240 kilowatt) turbocharged V16 16-645-E3 diesel engine of the SD40-2 had made the SD40-2 very reliable and more economical than locomotives with higher horsepower from the same era.

The SD40-2 is a 6-axle locomotive (like the other EMD “Special Duty” units) and it is equipped with DC traction motors.  Many railroads still have these locomotives in active service today.  SD40-2 is one of the locomotives included in EMD ECO Repower Programme to meet the EPA Tier 2 emission standard.  For the many of you who know a lot more about the SD40-2 than me and who have had personal experience with it, please kindly leave your own thoughts and experience you would like to s…


The Gautrain is built by a public-private partnership between of the Government of the Province of Gauteng of South Africa and the Bombela Consortium consisting of Bombardier Transportation, Bouygues Travaux Publics, Murray & Roberts, the Strategic Partners Group and RATP Développement, the J&J Group and Absa Bank.  It is a mass transit system 80 km (50 miles) in length, connecting Pretoria, Johannesburg, and the OR Tambo International Airport of Johannesburg.  Construction of the Gautrain began in 2006.  The Gautrain is not specifically built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, however Phase 1 of the 2 phases of the Gautrain Project has been completed in time for the World Cup.  Phase 1 links between Sandton Station in Johannesburg and the OR Tambo International Airport (51.6 km or 32 miles) and is open to public since 8 June 2010.  Phase 2 of the Gautrain, from Midrand to Pretoria, is scheduled to be completed in 2011.

Gautrain tracks in Midrand, South Africa
The Gautra…

Bombardier/Alstom HHP-8

The HHP-8 (High Horse Power 8,000) is an 8,000 horsepower (5,970 kW) 4-axle AC electric locomotive acquired by Amtrak and MARC (Maryland Area Rail Commuter) in the early 2000s for uses on the Northeast Corridor.  It is designed and manufactured by a consortium formed by Bombardier (Canada) and Alstom (France).  Trains hauled by the HHP-8 were initially branded as the Acela Regional, due to riders’ confusion between the three Acela branded trains offered at the time, the Acela logos were removed from the HHP-8 and the services were renamed the Northeast Regional.

Northeast Regional with HHP-8 and Amfleet I

Typical equipment on the Northeast Regional trains today consist of either the HHP-8 or AEM-7 locomotive and Amfleet I stainless steel passenger coaches.  They operate at a top speed of 125 mph (201 km/h).  Today the HHP-8 also hauls long distance services on the Northeast Corridor up to a top speed of 110 mph (177 km/h).  The only Acela branded trains offered by Amtrak today are the …