Showing posts from June, 2015


This week, I'll post about a locomotive that's quite close to our everyday life in North America.

We are no stranger to AC locomotives, and certain freight roads have been mass-adopting them since their introduction. For an adhesion limited tonnage railroad, one needs as much tractive effort as possible for trains to achieve their desired performance, be it steep grades and/or tonnage limits. Locomotives with AC traction motors satisfy exactly those requirements (here's a page on why). On top of the superior tractive effort than DC units, AC motors don't suffer stall burns and require less maintenance because they have fewer contacting moving parts. Of course, with the advantages comes the added cost of purchasing an AC locomotive, and some railroads aren't doing that because DC units suffice in their operating environments. This brings us to the locomotive I'm writing about today, the ES44C4.

"Memphis National Train Day 2013.1 (8874348877)" by Matthe…

SBB Bombardier TWINDEXX, for now

This week's post will just be a little show and tell, based on something I saw on the news. It's about a new double deck express train the SBB-CFF-FFS has now certified to operate in Switzerland. It is built by Bombardier, and following the company's trend on ending product names with "XX", this EMU is called the TWINDEXX.

I won't be writing too much. Instead I will link you to the trainset's web page on Bombardier's website. There aren't videos on YouTube of this train operating in service yet, so a video of this EMU in transit will have to do for now.

Russian Railways EP20

The train of this week is a modern electric passenger locomotive from Russia. It's called EP20 and it's the product of a collective effort between Alstom and CJSC Transmashholding, the largest Russian locomotive builder. You may remember this locomotive from recent news, because it's featured in some of the photographs in the articles on the commencing of Talgo sets on the Russian Railways (RZD).

"2 EP20 na Rostov Glavny" by Gwinogradow - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Unlike the other European passenger locomotives, the EP20 has six axles, and uses somewhat of an unusual axle arrangement. Instead of using two 3-axle trucks, the EP20 has three 2-axle trucks (i.e. B-B-B). Locomotives like this do exist; they are just rarely seen outside of, say, Japan.

"Фирменный поезд "Буревестник"" by Айнар - Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

JNR Class DF50

Okay I'm not gonna drop the ball again this week, so I'll start early (FYI it's 30 May right now).

Diesel-electric locomotives (or really, diesel locomotives in general) are somewhat of a rare breed in countries like Japan where railroads mass-electrified right after the steam era. Japan does keep a fleet of diesel locomotives/MUs for areas that are less densely populated, but the vast majority of them are of the diesel-hydraulic type.

"JNR DF50 65 DF50 1 hikyou go kawaguchi" by Spaceaero2 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

So let me get right to the chase then. The Class DF50, unlike most Japanese diesels, is indeed a diesel-electric. 138 of this class of locomotives were jointly built by a number of builders (many of which still exist today) starting between 1957 and 1963. They were operated by the JNR up until 1983. The locomotives were built in two batches, the first of which by Kisha, Nippon Sharyo, and Mitsubishi and had 1 …