The Anonymous Widower

Do Cummins And Stadler Have a Cunning Plan?

Roger Ford in the December 2022 Edition of Modern Railways has written an article called Traction à la mode.

The article is a series of small sections, with the last section but one, labelled Monster.

Roger says this.

Finally, we come to the mighty Class 99, which is not at all flakey. In the past I have often commented on the UK railways’ prejudice against Co-Co bogies.

But with the ’99’ six axles will give 6MW (8,000 hp) at the rail, with contact patches to use all its 113 tonnes. Plus the extra axles mean it can accommodate the weight of a 2,400 hp Cummins diesel.

At the recent Rail Freight Group conference, Ross Shepherd, Chief Technical Officer of Beacon Rail, which has 30 locomotives on order for GB Railfreight, revealed a computer simulation which showed a Class 99 would save 36 minutes on a run timed for 1 hr 40 minutes for diesel traction. To quote Mr Shepherd:’It’s a monster and it’s coming.’

I have been doing some digging around the Internet and have found this bulletin from Cummins, which is entitled QSK60 For Rail.

The bulletin describes a Stadler locomotive with a Cummins QSK60 engine, which Stadler are delivering to Bolivia.

This paragraph introduces the locomotives.

Stadler and the Bolivian Ferroviaria Andina (Andean
Railway) FCA have signed a contract for the supply of the first three state-of-the art South American Light
Loco (SALi) locomotives, which will feature the
Cummins QSK60 engine.

The bulletin gives these details.

  • Locomotive type – diesel-electric
  • Track gauge – one metre
  • Axle load – 18 ton/axle
  • Power – 1865 kW – 2500 hp
  • Diesel engine – QSK60
  • Maximum Speed – 100 km/h
  • Starting Tractive Effort – 415 kN
  • Coupling – AAR
  • Fuel Tank – Up to 6000 litres

The bulletin is marked as Printed in UK, so does that mean that the engines come from Darlington.

The weight of this locomotive is 98 tonnes and Roger says that the Class 99 locomotive is 113 tonnes. But the Class 99 locomotive is an electro-diesel locomotive with 6 MW available when running on 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

It looks to me that Stadler have arranged the substantial electrical gubbins around the Cummins QSK60 diesel engine to create Beacon Rail’s monster.

Cummins And Hydrogen

Cummins is a company, that is big in hydrogen.

  • They own hydrogen fuel cell and electrolysis company; Hydrogenics.
  • They supply the fuel cells for Alstom’s hydrogen-powered Coradia iLint.

In Werner Enterprises Signs Letter Of Intent Planning To Secure 500 X15H Engines From Cummins, I said this.

More details of the X15H engine are given in this earlier press release, which is entitled Cummins Inc. Debuts 15-Litre Hydrogen Engine At ACT Expo, which has this first paragraph.

Today, Cummins Inc. debuted its 15-liter hydrogen engine at ACT Expo in Long Beach, California. This engine is built on Cummins’ new fuel-agnostic platform, where below the head gasket each fuel type’s engine has largely similar components, and above the head gasket, each has different components for different fuel types. This version, with expected full production in 2027, pairs with clean, zero-carbon hydrogen fuel, a key enabler of Cummins’ strategy to go further faster to help customers reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

I certainly like the concept of a fuel-agnostic platform, where below the head gasket, everything is similar, and above the head gasket, there are appropriate components.

It looks to me that if Stadler use the Cummins QSK60 diesel engine in their locomotives, then if Cummins develop a hydrogen version of the QSK60, Stadler can convert the locomotives to hydrogen, if Cummins follow their philosophy of a fuel-agnostic platform, with everything identical below the cylinder head gasket.

Over twenty years ago, I did a small data analysis task for Cummins in Darlington. One of their engineers explained to me how they would rearrange the components of diesel engines, so they fitted with the customer’s application. It looks to me that they have taken this philosophy a step further, so that the customer can have diesel or hydrogen engines in the same application, depending on what the end user wants.

In the case of the order from Beacon Rail for thirty Class 99 locomotives, they will be delivered as diesel-electric locomotives, but at some point in the future, when Cummins has developed the hydrogen engine, they will be able to be converted to hydrogen-electric locomotives.

November 23, 2022 - Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Lets hope NR provide accelerated pathways to take advantage of the installed capacity although i suspect they will have a meltdown about the amount of power its taking of 25kV and slap a load of restrictions on them

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | November 23, 2022 | Reply

  2. I was with you until you got to the point of running a QSK 60 in a Class 99 on hydrogen. Good luck finding the 7x more space for the hydrogen fuel tanks to replace the diesel. Diesel volumetric density around 35MJ/l, Hydrogen (700bar) approx 5MJ/l.

    Comment by fammorris | November 23, 2022 | Reply

  3. You’d like to believe that GB Railfreight have discussed the Class 99 and its power requirements with Network Rail.

    Comment by fammorris | November 23, 2022 | Reply


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