The Anonymous Widower

Jumbo Trains Are Arriving

This article on Global Rail News is entitled  DB Cargo UK’s First “Jumbo Train” From Cardiff Makes Maiden Journey. This is the first paragraph.

DB Cargo and Cemex UK made history earlier this month when the freight operator’s first “jumbo train” of 34 wagons made its maiden journey from Cardiff.

The cargo was building materials from South Wales for London and the South East.

Yesterday, I also took this picture of a very long cement train at Stratford.

The building boom in London and the South East is still requiring large amounts of cement and aggregate.

Long trains like these have various consequences.

  • They increase the capacity of the railway, as longer trains make better use of the available freight paths.
  • They take more trucks off the road.
  • Track, junctions and sidings may need to be updated to handle the longer trains.
  • The trains need two locomotives.

It’s not just aggregates and cement that will be transported this way, but containers, new cars and vans, bio-fuel for power stations and aviation fuel.

New Locomotives

The biggest need will be for new locomotives. At present, Wales to London aggregate trains are hauled by a pair of Class 66 diesel locomotives. When electrification is complete between London and Cardiff, surely this route should be handled by a pair or even a single large electric locomotive.

This article in Rail Magazine is entitled GB Railfreight In ‘Locomotive Acquisition’ Talks.

So at least one freight company is looking for new motive power.

What characteristics will the locomotives need?

Adequate Performance

The power and operating speed of the various modern locomotives used for freight are as follows.

  • Class 66 – Diesel – 2,460 kW – 75 mph
  • Class 67 – Diesel – 3,200 kW – 125 mph
  • Class 68 – Diesel – 2,800 kW – 100 mph
  • Class 70 – Diesel – 2,750 kW – 75 mph
  • Class 90 – Electric – 3,730 kW – 110 mph
  • Class 92 – Electric – 5,040 kW – 87 mph

There is also the Class 88, which can run on both electric or diesel power.

  • Diesel – 700 kW
  • Electric – 4,000 kW

An operating speed of 100 mph is quoted in Wikipedia.

If the locomotive was to replace two Class 66 locomotives working together, it would appear the locomotive would need a power of around 5,000 kW.

I took this picture of a Class 90 electric locomotive and a Class 66 diesel locomotive double-heading a freight train.

The two locomotives would have a combined power of about 6,200 kW.

Diesel, Electric Or Dual Power

Does the picture, indicate a need for a high-power dual mode locomotive?

Or was it just convenient to pull the freight train out of the Port of Felixstowe with a Class 66 locomotive and then add a Class 90 locomotive to pull the train on the electrified route to London?

As the freight companies are regularly reported as needing more locomotives, I suspect some unusual motive power is used at times.

Now that the Class 88 dual-mode locomotives are coming into service, I would suspect that the capability of these locomotives is being examined in detail.

It may only have 700 kW using diesel, but 4,000 kW using electricity is very respectable, although not as much as two Class 66 locomotives working together.

The Bombardier TRAXX

The Bombardier TRAXX is a family of locomotives, that come in electric, diesel and dual-mode versions.

Several hundred have been ordered.

A version of this locomotive or something similar might fit the specification.

Conclusion

Some more powerful freight locomotives are needed, but the designs should be available.

 

September 27, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments