Showing posts from December, 2012

Time of the year again

So it's the end of a year again and it's time to look back on some of the train trips I've taken in 2012. Since most people who visit this blog will probably only read the first few sentences or so, I'll say happy holidays and happy 2013 here instead.

The first two picture albums down here are from my little 3-day getaway to Portland, Oregon. One from when I was on my way, the other from me strolling around in the little gem in the Pacific Northwest. I drove for a few hours to Shelby, Montana, the closest Amtrak station from the unfortunate and middle-of-nowhere Albertan city I live in (where there had been no passenger rail service for decades), in order to board the Empire Builder, a wonderful long distance train that took me to destination.

Then in June, I went on an overseas trip to England, where I had the chance to attend an elaborate train show hosted by the National Railway Museum in York, called Railfest 2012. It was during the opening day of Railfest that Cla…

VR Class Sr2

Since I've written about the Lok 2000 last week, it's probably a nice followup to write about the very similar, equally handsome, VR (Finnish Railways) Class Sr2 locomotive. To start with, the immediate difference a traveller notices (well, other than the livery, of course), is that the Sr2 is built to VR's board gage of 5 ft. Also designed by companies later bought by Bombardier Transportation, the Sr2 was assembled in Finland by Transtech Oy. According to Wikipedia, the design top speed of the Sr2 is slightly higher than that of the Re 460, at 140 mph, and also the VR has then capped her top speed at 130 mph.

The Sr2 was built between the mid 1990s and early 2000s, but trucks had to be redesigned and refitted due to hunting at speeds above 100 mph. The 4 traction motors of the Sr2 pump out a continuous maximum of 6,700 hp and a short-term maximum of 8,050 hp. Like the Re 460, the Vr2 is also assigned in fast intercity services at up to 125 mph.

SBB-CFF-FFS Re 460 (Lok 2000) / BLS Re 465

The Re 460, or more famously known as the Lok 2000 is a high-speed electric locomotive used by the Swiss Federal Railways SBB-CFF-FFS. Engineering of the locomotive was done by ADtranz (now Bombardier) in Switzerland, while famous Italian design firm Pininfarina took care of the exterior, a fine combination of Italian beauty with Swiss precision. The Re 460 was deployed in the mid 1990s and played an important role in modernizing the passenger locomotive fleet of SBB-CFF-FFS. A total of 119 units were produced and were usually seen with IC 2000 bi-level cars in InterCity and InterRegio services.

A later variation called the Re 465 was used on BLS, a regional railroad in Switzerland. Other than individual traction motor cut-out and slightly more horsepower (the 460 had to cut-out a truck at a time), the Re 465 is the same unit as the Re 460.

Now the numbers. Being a passenger unit, the Re 460 is of course capable of sustaining 125 mph in service. A total of 4 traction motors pump out…

SJ Rapidlok (Ra)

Let's keep discovering some nice bulldog nose locomotives this week. There are actually in fact quite a few of them even outside of North America. Hopefully I'll be able to sniff them out one by one eventually. Anyway. You can think of this week's feature locomotive as a double ended electric F-unit. Not that the locomotive herself has anything to do with the F-unit, but to us North Americans, the F-unit is truly the bulldog nose icon.

So here we have the Ra or Rapidlok (lok: locomotive) from Sweden. Only 10 were built between 1955 and 1961 by ASEA (maker of our fast little toasters), the Ra was exclusively for (well, name has it) express passenger trains. According to the Swedish page on Wikipedia this locomotive generated quite a buzz when she debuted with her slick looks and bridge orange color scheme. In addition to their SJ road numbers, the Ra also had their own through Rapid 1 to Rapid 10. The 4 axles of the Rapidlok transfer an impressive 3,540 hp onto the rails a…