Showing posts from November, 2011

VR Class Sm3

The Class Sm3 is a tilting EMU based on the Italian ETR 460Pendolino operated by VR Group of Finland. Due to the long distances and low population in Finland, the Finnish stated-owned railway company chose to run higher-speed trains on existing network rather than building entirely new high-speed railways. After years of extensive testing, the Pendolinos began service in 1997. The introduction of these trains saw a pleasant increase in train ridership in Finland.

The Sm3 consists of 6 self-propelled carriages with 2/3 of the axles being powered. The train has a total power output of 5,400 hp, total weight of 362 tons, and a top revenue speed of 140 mph. Because of her tilting capabilities, the Pendolino is able to operate 35% faster than regular trains on Finland’s board gauge (5 ft.) network.


When Amtrak was formed in 1971, the passenger railroad inherited locomotives (F and E units) and cars from the freight railroads who abandoned passenger operations. The locomotives were poorly maintained and often broke down en route of Amtrak trains. In 1973, Amtrak bought the first of their new locomotives, the SDP40F, an interim solution to their locomotive requirements, before cars with electrically heated arrived. As the name suggested, the SDP40F was a full car body passenger version of the 6-axle SD40 freight locomotive. It had the same 16 cylinder EMD 645 engine as the SD40 and the same 500 hp traction motors, but was geared for a top speed of 100 mph. Steam generators were equipped on these units to provide heating to the old passenger cars.

The SDP40F was a reliable locomotive like her freight cousin, but had several high speed derailments. The cause were unclear but was believed to be the uneven weight distribution caused by the addition of the steam generator and water tan…

Tilt Train (Queensland Rail)

The Queensland RailTilt Train is a narrow gage (3 ft. 6 in.) tilting train from the State of Queensland in Australia. Two sets of the Tilt Trains are manufactured and 3 sets are still in service today. The Tilt Train comes in 2 flavors. The electric version is an Electric Multiple Unit and is built by Hitachi; the diesel version is a push-pull trainset with locomotives on either end built by EDI Rail of Australia using EMD technology.

Despite the fact that the Tilt Train runs on narrow gage track, the electric Tilt Train is still the fastest train in Australia. It is the Australian speed record holder with a top speed of 130 mph. The top speed in service of the Tilt Train is 99 mph, same as that of the standard gage XPT from New South Wales. Enjoy this short little documentary on the Tilt Train.

Express Passenger Train (CountryLink)

The XPT, or eXpress Passenger Train, is a push-pull diesel-electric trainset operated by New South Wale’s CountryLink in Australia. It is made up of two Commonwealth Engineering power cars based on the British Rail Class 43 used on the famous HST InterCity 125 and up to 7 Budd coaches (rather than the Mk3 on the BR InterCity).

The exterior of the XPT’s power cars are quite similar to the Class 43. They are also powered by high-speed diesel engines produced by Paxman (now owned by MAN). However, the engines are detuned to 2,000 hp from 2,250 hp and cooling systems are improved to accommodate hot and dry Australian operating conditions. Top speed in service of the XPT is also slower than the HST at 100 rather than 125 mph. Also, unlike the HST, which operates in intercity services, the XPT is a long distance train and offers sleeping accommodation for overnight services.