DB Class 245

Diesel electric locomotives are usually a rarity in Western Europe. The vast coverage of electrification usually means that only lines with the lightest of volumes can quench a railfan's diesel thirst.

This week I'll write about an introduction of a new type of such rare locomotives. It has taken some pretty radical new directions of design of a locomotive carrying its own prime mover. Although the Bombardier TRAXX DE locomotives aren't exactly new (diesel electric variants of the famous TRAXX), this is the first time I've heard of any single locomotive that carries so many diesel engines.

Now the model number for the DB Class 254 is TRAXX P160 DE ME. Quite a long one isn't it. We know what TRAXX and DE are. The rest isn't difficult to decipher. P160 for passenger 160 km/h, ME for multi-engine or multiple engines.

We've had a few twin-engined diesels to date. The most famous in our neck of the woods would probably be those legendary, slick, streamlined EMD E units. The DB Class 245 however has twice that number of diesel engines. The rationale being individual engines can be shutdown to conserve energy and reduce emissions. Also, we haven't had many large diesel engines that are compliant to the new stringent emission standards in Europe and America. Now is this the new way to go? As railfans we can only wait and find out.

So under the skin, the Class 245 houses 4 Caterpillar C18 6-cylinder engines each with a maximum output of just over 750 hp. This puts the locomotive in the 3 000 hp range. Now I have no idea what kind of tractive horsepower this locomotive puts out after considering mechanical losses and parasitic loads. Also for a passenger locomotive, Head End Power will take quite a few engine horsepower away from the traction motors.

This locomotive is really new and is currently undergoing service testing. Therefore I can't find many pictures on the inter web yet. But the one I did link from Wiki Commons from the last InnoTrans gave quite a good look at this handsome little diesel electric.


Andy in Germany said…
I've yet to see any of these although the electric versions are common, so thanks for the heads up.

Is it also built in redundancy? This way if one motor fails they can haul the train home and lose less money in compensation payments to the track authorities.
I agree, it makes sense that redundancy is one of the factors.

I wonder how much more efficient (emission and fuel wise) it is to use 4 engines rather than 2.

What's the compensation scheme like in Germany? In Greater Toronto the fare is free (or something like that) if the commuter service is delayed by more than 20 minutes. That is a long time.
Anonymous said…
This is what's becoming known as a 'genset' locomotive.

It's all about efficiency, and matching the available power to the requirements. For idling supplying HEP / ETH / hotel loads, or for shunting, just one engine is running. For maintaining speed on level track, maybe two engines. For accelerating hard or hauling up a steep gradient, all four will be opened up.

Basically, a small engine working fairly hard is more efficient than a large engine with a light load.

There are several US locos on this principle, and some Class 73s have recently been converted in the UK (now 73/9, but there are two different 73/9 refurbs...).


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