British Rail Class 180

The Class 180 is a high-speed diesel-hydraulic multiple unit from the Coradia 1000 family designed by Alstom (France) for First Great Western (First Great Western did not actually own the trains but leased them through Angel Trains). 14 sets of these 5-car DMUs were built between 2000 and 2001 in Birmingham, England. The Class 180 were initially deployed to the Great Western mainline to supplement the HST in working the then new half-hourly timetable between London Paddington and South Wales. They began service in December 2008 and First Great Western nicknamed these trains Adelante. Unlike the Bombardier Voyager mentioned in a previous post, the Class 180 used a hydraulic transmission instead of electric motors to turn the wheels. Hydrodynamic braking system is equipped and one bogie per coach is powered with both axles driven. All coaches are equipped with a 560 kW (750 hp) diesel engine identical to the one used by the Voyager.

First Great Western Class 180 Adelante

First Hull Trains Class 180

Due to reliability problems, First Great Western returned most Class 180 trains to Angel Trains in early 2008 and the last First Great Western Class 180 ran on 30 March 2009. The current operators of the Class 180 are First Hull Trains, Northern Rail, and privately owned Grand Central. Grand Central renamed their Class 180 Zephyr.

If you are on the Main page, click on "Read more" below to see a short film of the Class 180 at speed and read more on diesel-hydraulic locomotives.

Diesel-hydraulic Locomotives. Unlike a diesel-electric locomotives that uses the electricity generated by the prime mover to its electric traction motors (again, refer to the ES44AC post), a diesel-hydraulic locomotives uses a torque converter to transmit power from the prime mover to its axles. A torque converter is a hydrodynamic power transmission device used to transfer rotating power from a prime mover (i.e. diesel engine) to a rotating driven load (i.e. axles on a bogie). A torque converter is also able to multiply torque when there is a substantial difference between input and output rotational speed, proving the equivalent of a reduction gear. It is used in a broad range of application including automatic transmission in automobiles. In a torque converter there are at least three rotating elements, the pump driven by prime mover, the turbine driving the load, and the stator placed between the pump and the turbine altering oil flow returning from the turbine to the pump. For a detailed description of how torque converter works, refer to the linked Wikipedia page and HowStuffWorks page.


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