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New Siemens Charger locomotive.

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AFAIK 100mph is the highest as in Eurostar in sections between Waterloo and Ashford, and it brought the power supply system to its knees with the amperage it drew from the third rail.

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AFAIK 100mph is the highest as in Eurostar in sections between Waterloo and Ashford, and it brought the power supply system to its knees with the amperage it drew from the third rail.

 

Does Eurostar still operate any service out of Waterloo? I thought all Eurostar was moved to St. Pancras International and is now under catenary all the way.

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Eurostar does not operate to Waterloo anymore. The third rail equipment has been removed from all Eurostar sets long back.

 

But when they ran under third rail power, they did run at 100mph. Indeed I had traveled on them and timed them back then at such speed.between Tonbridge and Ashford International.

Edited by jis

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AFAIK 100mph is the highest as in Eurostar in sections between Waterloo and Ashford, and it brought the power supply system to its knees with the amperage it drew from the third rail.

Speeds in excess of 100mph have also been run on the Waterloo to Bournemouth line. I think they did 110mph on a trial once.

 

Third rail is actually inherently more stable at speed than catenary as the third rail has less propensity to deform or propagate waves.

 

The problem though is that the third rail cannot be coninuous (due to switches etc). Whereas this is not a problem from the feed point of view (you just have a live rail on the other side) it is a dynamic problem. In order to maintain sound electrical contact, the collection shoe on the train is spring loaded and presses downwards. When there is no rail, the shoe is thus actially lower than where the rail surface would otherwise be. So every time a section of conductor rail starts there is a mighty bang as the shoe strikes the rail. To cushion the bang, the first section of rail is arranged on a slope so contact and pressure are built up gradually. But the higehr the speed, the longer this transitional ramp needs to be.

Edited by cirdan

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Could you please parse that pithy statement to help the less intelligent amongst us understand what you are trying to say ? ;)

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My guess is under running vs over running third rail, but I can't keep track of who uses what.

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Being able to live with it, and wanting to are entirely different stories with the LIRR. I'm pretty sure there is catenary coming out of Penn to the West Side track, but not as far as the third rail extends. If they extended it they could also use a catenary dual mode, but what makes sense to us doesn't always cut it for a bunch of reasons. Some good, some bad. Conceptually, a subfleet of Amtrak catenary dual modes would be able to serve both Empire Service, and South of DC but current offerings (ALP45-DP) are not fast enough for future 110 mph diesel running on Empire Service, and they are questionable for 125 mph electric on the corridor.

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Rrrrrrgh. We all know the Empire Corridor needs to be electrified with overhead eventually. If we lived in a real country with a functioning government, they'd be working on long term planning for it.

 

But honestly, we don't. The dysfunction in our country's governments has been reaching crippling levels.

Edited by neroden

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answer is no, the arching of a single unit at speeds over 60 mph would damage locomotive.

That is exactly what I was thinking. They will run on third rail only in tunnels and will fire up their prime mover as soon they are out in daylight.

 

And BTW, I have no idea why this is being discussed in a thread about Chargers, since they are currently not dual mode, and there is no certainty at all that the final dual mode order from anyone will be based on the Charger, since there are several possible candidates around.

Edited by jis

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answer is no, the arching of a single unit at speeds over 60 mph would damage locomotive.

That is exactly what I was thinking. They will run on third rail only in tunnels and will fire up their prime mover as soon they are out in daylight.

 

And BTW, I have no idea why this is being discussed in a thread about Chargers, since they are currently not dual mode, and there is no certainty at all that the final dual mode order from anyone will be based on the Charger, since there are several possible candidates around.

 

At risk of taking us further off topic, didn't the British run locomotives off third rail at greater than 60mph? Did the Eurostar, when it had a section of third rail to traverse, run more than 60mph on third rail?

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Eurostars ran at 100mph, but they had many collection shoes spread out over 4 cars as I recall. That is what makes the huge difference since the arcing due to gapping is reduced considerably. The big problem was that their current draw was so huge that initially they kept tripping the substation circuit breakers, until they could get them fine tuned to distinguish between a short circuit and a Eurostar. Of course now there are no Eurostar sets left with any third rail equipment in them anymore AFAIK.

 

BTW, even LIRR and MNRR EMUs operate way above 60mph using third rail. The issue is short locomotives running off of third rail with few pickup shoes not too far apart.

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Running a locomotive trough a gap, be it at a switch or at section switches for third rail is like pulling arc on arc welder.

on arc welder it is about 130 amps at 60 volts, a third rail locomotive does same at 3500 amp and 770 volt.

the arc can jump to wheels, bearings , brake rigging etc

 

jis is correct the Metro-North MU cars run at 80 mph in third rail territory and are restricted by time table for 100 mph but each pair is 170 foot long is only about 2000 hp and has 4 shoes on each side.

quite a difference from a 65 foot locomotive at 3200 hp.

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and let me add that the cars take a huge beating too, they were designed for continuous HEP, but on third rail electric each gap the HEP shuts off and has to cycle back on, the cars were never designed for that.

imagine shutting the HVAC system down and back on 20 times in 10 minutes leaving from platform to straight rail in tunnel.

you can imagine the failure rate of AC systems.

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Eurostars ran at 100mph, but they had many collection shoes spread out over 4 cars as I recall. That is what makes the huge difference since the arcing due to gapping is reduced considerably. The big problem was that their current draw was so huge that initially they kept tripping the substation circuit breakers, until they could get them fine tuned to distinguish between a short circuit and a Eurostar. Of course now there are no Eurostar sets left with any third rail equipment in them anymore AFAIK.

 

BTW, even LIRR and MNRR EMUs operate way above 60mph using third rail. The issue is short locomotives running off of third rail with few pickup shoes not too far apart.

It wasn't just Eurostars. The 4REPs that were built specifically for the Waterloo to Bournemouth service could do 100mph as could the Wessex 442s that replaced them (actually the motors were recycled into the newer trains, the class 73 locomotives incidentally also use the same motor type). I don't know how theys handled arcing but think that once away from the major junctions and into high speed territorry, you tended to get very long sections of conductor rail so there wouldn't have been many instanncesof arcing while at high speed. Also, drivers were trained not to draw heavy current while traversing gaps.

 

If I remember correctly, the 4REPs lighting ran off battery, so this wouldn't have been afected by gaps. They had diners in those trains too (hence the R in REP, REP = restaurant & electro-pneumatic brake), and am not sure how these were powered. They didn't have HVAC, but the 442s do.

Edited by cirdan

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I think this is new, but perhaps I've just overlooked or forgotten it - but it appears that California and Illinois have added on to the Charger order with CA ordering 14 more and IL ordering 12 more. International Railway Journal is reporting such in an article dated Friday, November 16, 2015 http://www.railjournal.com/index.php/locomotives/us-states-purchase-new-diesel-electric-locos.html

Edited by Eric S

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Siemens has the absolute best reputation worldwide among railway rolling stock & locomotive builders at the moment. (I'm sure fortunes will change over time.) I'm not surprised they're selling a lot right now.

 

I just noticed something interesting. MARC is ordering Siemens Chargers to run underneath Amtrak's wires on the NEC. This puts them in an *interesting position*. If they manage to get Amtrak to offer them a better deal on electricity costs and maintenance, they can switch to electric and *they have a market to sell the Chargers to*, because Amtrak can certainly use more of them. If they'd picked a different diesel loco, like the ones they already have, there wouldn't be much of a resale market because nobody wants to maintain something which is nothing like the rest of their fleet..

 

California's order was basically expected: they had not ordered close to enough for planned expansion. This gets them up to enough to replace everything and allow for planned expanded service.

 

The Illinois order is more interesting. The original plan was to replace the motive power for every single corridor out of Chicago and it seemed like enough but with no spares. But this is a very significant additional number, which should not only cover spares and the Moline and Rockford services, but leave extras. I can't think of any more service expansions planned in Illinois which would need more locomotives -- is Illinois planning to lease some of these to Michigan for their proposed service expansions?

 

The order is now up to 66 including 8 for MARC, or 58 without.

 

This is a substantial addition to Amtrak motive power. I think the Dash-8s will probably be removed from service, or they might continue a strange life as very-fuel-hungry switchers. I'm not sure how many Chargers will replace F59PHIs (which will probably be retired) versus how many Chargers will replace P42s in the corridors (allowing more P42s to run in long-distance service). I guess this is basically a question of how many F59PHIs will be retired. F59PHIs are currently used mostly in California and Washington State and both states are ordering lots of Chargers. The F59PHIs might all be retired, in which case the order so far wouldn't actually free up very many P42s. But on the other hand Amtrak still has to run F59PHIs because of North Carolina, so California might keep a bunch around....

Edited by neroden

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Total shot in the dark guess here, but did the original Midwest portion of the order include locomotives for the Hiawatha? Not that anywhere near 12 locomotives are needed for that service, but that *could* explain a few of them. (Although Hiawatha costs are usually a 75% WI/25% IL split, so...)

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Here's another article, this one from the Sacramento Bee: http://www.sacbee.com/news/business/article43452282.html

 

And a link to the Caltrans press release: http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/paffairs/news/pressrel/2015/15pr114.htm

 

The CA units are expected to enter service between July 2018 and February 2019.

 

A quick google search did not turn up an IDOT press release.

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