Voith Turbo Maxima

The Maxima is a family of 6-axle diesel locomotives built by Voith Turbo Lokomotivtechnik GmbH & Co. KG. of Germany. Unlike the conventional diesel locomotives we often see in North America, the Voith Maxima family of locomotives use a hydraulic transmission to transmit power from its prime mover to wheels instead of an alternator and traction motors (you may wish to read more about diesel-hydraulic at the bottom of this post). Voith, being one of the well-known transmission manufactures in the world who had been supplying transmission to other locomotives manufactures in Germany, completely designed and built the first Maxima locomotive in just 500 days and presented it at the InnoTrans 2006 fair.

Voith Maxima 40CC at InnoTrans 2006

The Maxima locomotives come in two flavours, the 40CC with an Anglo Belgian 3,600 kW (4,800 hp) 16VDZC prime mover and the 30CC with a 2,750 kW (3,700 hp) 12VDZC prime mover from the same supplier. They both use the twin converter transmisson designed by Voith Turbo. Depending on configuration (freight or passenger), the Maxima locomotives weigh 126 to 135 metric tonnes and can reach a top speed of 120 to 160 km/h (75-100 mph). They provide a maximum starting tractive effort of 519 kN (116,700 lbf) and a maximum continuous tractive effort of 408 kN (91,700 lbf).

Maxima 30CC on the job


M-NL said…
Theoretical numbers for tractive effort are nice, but how does it do in the real world when things are getting slippery?
How does it do compared to other locomotives, like last weeks EM JT56ACe or a GE ES44AC, of course compensating for the differences in axle load.
Is the fact that the Maxima has all the axles of it's trucks mechanically linked an advantage or a disadvantage versus the individual axle control of the ES44AC?
Thank you very much and that's a very good question.

I did some reading on Wikipedia and it actually had a pretty good article describing and comparing the different types of diesel locomotives. Link here.

It is believed that diesel-hydraulic locomotives have slightly better efficiency than diesel-electrics in terms of power transfer, but some argue they are not as reliable (I have no hard numbers to back this up). However the reason why diesel-electrics are widely used in North America may just be a result of history and convention. Diesel-hydraulic locomotives were first developed in Germany (where they still concentrate on this type of diesel locomotives), and diesel-electrics in the USA.

According to the article, modern diesel-electric with anti-slip control and hydraulic locomotives are comparable in terms of tractive effort. However without such software diesel-hydraulic locomotives have an advantage due to the fact that the 3 axles on each bogie are mechanically linked and therefore have less chance to slip all together. But this also means under mechanical failure, diesel-electrics may still have traction from 2 out of 3 axles on one bogie but diesel-hydraulics lose all 3 axles.
M-NL said…
Check out these videos:
A diesel-hydraulic driven loco: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wR03dvlFy_s

An AC-motor locomotive:

I don't really see big differences here.

For comparison some older locos with DC-motors (and primitive or maybe even abcent traction control):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZFcpVTatZU and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3mnr0BBQUo

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