Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Some of the models made in Europe are more tuned for what I didn't cover here: passenger service. (You already saw Bombardier's TRAXX P160 DE.)

  • Alstom/Vossloh Euro ...: not only was the largest European delivery so far a passenger version to the Spanish national railways (28 Euro 3000 as RENFE class 334), but they could sell the largest batch back into the USA (NJ Transit's 33 3.13 MW PL42AC, see Wikipedia photo below), and hoped for more - but the new Buy American laws put a stop to that.

  • Kolomna: the main product family, TEP70, is mostly 160 km/h, 2.92 MW express locomotives (below in the latest, TEP70BS version in Lithuanian colours from Flickr). Note that with TEP80, a 4.55 MW version not produced in series, Kolomna holds the world speed record for diesel locos since 1993: 271 km/h.

  • Lugansk: the Ukrainian company builds the 160 km/h, 3.1 MW TEP150 (below on photo from RailFan Europe.net). It got a modern front and a new engine, but the basic design is similar to the 'Ludmillas'.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Jul 4th, 2009 at 06:32:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Europe the engine builder certifies the locomotive meets the applicable emissions standards, in the US it is the locomotive builder, this along with a toughening of the crash standards convinced Alstom to not bid for anymore passenger locomotives, not any "Buy American" laws. MPI doesn't have any competition for passenger diesels in the US because EMD and GE can't figure out how to make any money with such a small market. When Amtrak is ready to replace their current GE's then you will see more bids.
by jfbeaulieu on Tue Jul 7th, 2009 at 12:06:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hm... no. First, the Valencia factory is not Alstom anymore. Second,

FR Doc E8-25063

[Federal Register: October 21, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 204)]


SUMMARY: The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has asked the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to waive its Buy America requirements on the basis of public interest to permit Vossloh Espa[ntilde]a S.A. (Vossloh) to manufacture and assemble two pilot locomotives in Spain. MotivePower, Inc., a domestic competitor to Vossloh has asked FTA to deny MBTA's request.

Federal Transit Administration - Legislation, Regulations & Guidance

November 14, 2008

I write in response to your letter dated September 3, 2008, in which you ask the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to waive its Buy America requirements by authorizing the final assembly of two pilot locomotives in Spain.  After careful consideration, FTA has decided to deny your request for the reasons outlined below.

MBTA puts off buying new locomotives for commuter rail service - The Boston Globe

January 24, 2009


The decision to halt the order is tied closely to a contentious contract dispute between the two companies that bid on the project. Grabauskas said the T was likely to face a long and expensive legal battle regardless of which bidder it chose: Vossloh Espana S.A., a Spanish unit of a German company that was the low bidder but initially wanted to build two model locomotives outside of the United States, or MotivePower Inc. of Boise, Idaho, which was challenging Vossloh's bid because of the federal "Buy America" regulation.

But the T's financial problems - "probably the worst financial condition that the T has been in in its history," according to Grabauskas - appear to have sealed the decision. Grabauskas said he is estimating a $140 million to $160 million deficit in the coming fiscal year.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 7th, 2009 at 01:44:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Buy American" only kicks in if you use Federal money.
by jfbeaulieu on Tue Jul 7th, 2009 at 10:59:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are there any potential buyers who would do without federal matching funds?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 10:14:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some of them might have that as an option ... while the Federal Matching Funds are often essential for the corridor ... track improvements or new track, signaling upgrades, grade separations, crossing work ... its a choice of the applicant project whether that includes rolling stock, especially since the infrastructure and the operator is not always in the same organizational structure.

However, since rolling stock is eligible for federal matching funds, that seems more likely as a funding strategy for HSR (which, recall, can include 110mph diesel and 125mph electric services at the "Emerging" and "Regional" HSR tiers, in addition to the "Express" HSR which would be called HSR in Europe and Asia), which would be in a position to franchise the operations, with the franchisee providing the rolling stock, or else to fund the rolling stock with revenue bonding.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 04:31:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't you get around the Buy American rules by working in a partnership with an American company? Airbus seems to be doing that in the Air Force tanker deal, but that's DOD funding, not "Federal" funding...
by asdf on Sun Jul 12th, 2009 at 09:36:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure that the rules for the main Military Industrial Complex subsidy are different to the rules for funding of applications for federal matching funds for transport projects.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Jul 12th, 2009 at 11:22:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In addition, I note that given that Vossloh España's products use EMD diesel engines, and given that the PL42AC does have permission to run in the USA, neither emissions requirements nor US crashworthiness standards can be a problem.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 7th, 2009 at 02:04:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is much more to diesel engines meeting emissions standards that just the basic engine. The radiators and their cooling fans, the charge air intercoolers, etc. If you were to take a EMD SD70 locomotive which meets US EPA Tier 1 emissions standards, park it alongside a EMD SD70M-2 locomotive that meets US EPA Tier 2 emissions standards, then take the motor out of the SD70M-2 and install it in the SD70, you would have a SD70 that still would only meet Tier 1 standards. This is because the radiator is not a dual circuit system, and you do not have a large enough charge air cooling system.

Re: the PL42C having permission to run in the US. It did at the time it was built however the standards were raised since then and it would no longer meet the new standards, hence no more can be sold here without reworking the design.

It is a similar situation in Europe, Bombardier replaced the TRAXX 1 bodyshell with the TRAXX 2 bodyshell to meet the tougher collision standards relating to protection of the driver's cabin in a collision. So all the electrical components of the TRAXX 2 will fit inside the TRAXX 1 bodyshell, and the TRAXX 1 is certified to operate in 3 European countries, but no more can be built.

by jfbeaulieu on Tue Jul 7th, 2009 at 11:17:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But, can meeting these improved standards be considered a problem? TRAXX 1 -> 2 and EuroSprinter 3 pre-2007 -> EuroSprinter 3 post-2007 was not THAT difficult. Methinks meeting US Tier 1 crashworthiness standards when starting from European UIC standards was much bigger a challenge than going from there to the current ones would be. Regarding emissions, Vossloh already claims on the Euro 4000:

Exhaust emissions: EU 97/68 Stage IIIA (EPA Tier II eq)

The EMD 16-710 G3C-T2 engine is certainly EPA Tier 2, and it shouldn't be difficult to find fitting equipment to upgrade vs. the PL42AC even if the European ones would not be. At any rate, the locos Vossloh did offer to MBTA (and one other operator I can't find again) would have been under the new regulations.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jul 8th, 2009 at 10:12:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is a photograph of a SD70 that meets Tier 0 emissions;

Here meeting Tier 1;

And here meeting Tier 2;

And here is for GE

Dash-9 meeting Tier 1;

GEVO meeting Tier 2;

Note the major increase in radiator size. Not visible is the fact that the cooling systems are now microprocessor controlled, and must maintain engine temperatures within much tighter limits. On the GE GEVO
shown notice the large boxy structure ahead of the radiator, this is a air to air intercooler that cools the intake air after it leaves the turbocharger and before it enters the diesel engine.

How tough can it be to meet the new emissions standards? Tough enough to convince Caterpillar to leave the market for building diesel engines for trucks. They couldn't build a diesel engine with acceptable reliability at a cost that was competitive. They had a significant chunk of the market.

Tier 3 isn't going to be too bad, but Tier 4 is going to be real trouble.

by jfbeaulieu on Thu Jul 9th, 2009 at 01:06:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the details and the great photo links.

What I meant was that, would Vossloh be incapable to produce the proper extra equipment to fit on the EMD engine (new radiators, engine motor cooling, stricter temperature control, exhaust filters), it could go shopping for suppliers.

However, let's at last have a look at European and US emissions standards in comparison. The Euro 4000 complies with EU Stage IIIA (2004/26/EC). For locomotive diesels above 2000kW, that standard is HC: 0.4 g/kWh, CO: 3.5 g/kWh, NOx: 7.4 g/kWh, PM: 0.2 g/kWh. Converted to the units of the US standard, that's  HC: 0.3 g/bhp-hour, CO: 2.6 g/bhp-hour, NOx: 5.5 g/bhp-hour, PM: 0.15 g/bhp-hour.

EPA Tier 2 for line-haul locos is HC: 0.3 g/bhp-hour, CO: 1.5 g/bhp-hour, NOx: 5.5 g/bhp-hour, PM: 0.2 g/bhp-hour. The near-identity is not by accident (from the first link above):

Regulatory authorities in the EU, USA, and Japan have been under pressure from engine and equipment manufacturers to harmonize worldwide emission standards, in order to streamline engine development and emission type approval/certification for different markets. Stage I/II limits were in part harmonized with US regulations. Stage III/IV limits are harmonized with the US Tier 3/4 standards.

(However, for switchers, interestingly, the US standard is less strict while the EU one is more strict than for line-haul - must be due to the many downtown freight yards and passenger station service here.)

If my short read-up was correct, the primary emission effect of air intake temperature reduction/regulation is in NOx emissions, with the second effect being a general one in improved fuel efficiency. Can you tell me what part of the locomotive machinery impacts the one emission in which the US standard is (much) stronger, CO?

Finally, I found this Vossloh presentation on development to meet new emissions standards (unfortunately a technologically shallow 'managerial' one), which confirms something I read earlier in a non-authoritative source: that the NJT PL42AC is homologated for EPA Tier 1, but designed for Tier 2 (p13).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Jul 9th, 2009 at 05:33:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, service club meeting last night finished late. Re-thinking my position EMD would have to be involved with the Vossloh bid anyway. The big problem is everything keeps getting heavier, bigger radiators, more coolant, I shouldn't have said it wasn't possible.  I wonder what would have happened if EMD lead the consortium in Name for the bid, even if Vossloh did most of the work? The MPI locomotives are roughly 136 tonnes on 4 axles.
by jfbeaulieu on Fri Jul 10th, 2009 at 09:26:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder what would have happened if EMD lead the consortium in Name for the bid, even if Vossloh did most of the work?

You mean, politically? In the decision, it seems the crucial problem was Vossloh's insistence to assemble the first two units in Valencia/Spain.

BTW, what engine would the MPI locomotives use? EMD, GE, or neither?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 01:15:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The funny part is MPI offers two choices, either the 710G3C rated at 4000hp. from EMD or the EMD designed 3600hp 645F3B built by MPI using a crankcase assembly manufactured by GE. MPI and GE are the two largest suppliers of replacement parts (mainly remanufactured) for EMD 645E and F series engines. MPI is a subsidiary of WABTEC (formerly Westinghouse Air Brake Co.).
by jfbeaulieu on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 06:55:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MPI and GE are the two largest suppliers of replacement parts (mainly remanufactured) for EMD 645E and F series engines

Heh, I noticed the oddity on GE's page, wanted to ask about that too...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Jul 12th, 2009 at 02:20:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Generally speaking, carbon monoxide is the result of incomplete combustion. In gasoline automotive engines, three methods of limiting it are:
  • Combustion chamber shaped to promote swirling of the gasses.
  • Lean mixture (more air per unit of fuel).
  • Catalytic converters to convert CO to CO2.

I'm not sure that swirl techniques are practical on direct injection engines (including diesels), because the burning happens on the surfaces of the fuel droplets before they get a chance to evaporate.
by asdf on Sun Jul 12th, 2009 at 09:56:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From that, I take, it is only influenced by the engine and the fuel?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jul 12th, 2009 at 11:03:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm at the limit of my knowledge on the subject, but for example, the engine temperature influences the combustion, so the cooling system indirectly affects the CO production.

Here's an interesting article on the Honda Insight hybrid, where they went "all out" in trying to meet low emission and high economy targets. There are a LOT of tricks in use...not all applicable to railroad engines, obviously, but there is an interesting parallel between the two.


by asdf on Sun Jul 12th, 2009 at 10:37:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. Could you tell me, for the same loco types as in the five linked pictures, roughly what distance they can go between refuelling?

  2. Is my impression right that on the US market, GE and EMD relate somewhat like Siemens and Bombardier here? (i.e. the GE diesels are overall better quality since the nineties, but EMD is good at sales)?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 01:27:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
1. This is a tough question since there are so many variables. The EMD diesel will burn roughly 191.9 gallons per hour at full throttle.

The GE Dash9-44CW will burn 210 gallons per hour at full throttle.

Both locomotives offer a 5000 gallon fuel tank.

2. GE had been better at quality since about 1995 and had been steady building a lead on EMD. The debut of GE's GEVO series has put some tarnish on GE's reputation.
EMD like the rest of GM had gotten arrogant, and poor at customer service. It took too long for GM to sell EMD and EMD's Engineering languished. EMD has been slowing gaining ground back, but the worry is how committed are EMD's new owners.

by jfbeaulieu on Sat Jul 11th, 2009 at 07:08:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is an interesting story about railroads and their potential electrification...


by asdf on Sun Jul 12th, 2009 at 10:01:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Very interesting article. I would frame the following and give it as present to all European decisionmakers...

Why don't the railroads just build the new tracks, tunnels, switchyards, and other infrastructure they need? America's major railroad companies are publicly traded companies answerable to often mindless, or predatory, financial Goliaths.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jul 12th, 2009 at 12:08:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They can also wipe out the stockholders if they go bankrupt, as many have.
by jfbeaulieu on Mon Jul 13th, 2009 at 11:10:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder how that engine access door got crunched in on the GEVO???
by asdf on Sun Jul 12th, 2009 at 09:39:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh. I notied the bent shape on that (BTW, exceptional with the other three locos in the background) photo, but now that you say it, I see even the railings are bent on both sides. Checking the caption:

Remarks: BNSF 3447, the Golden Globe switcher, shoves damaged ES44AC into the shop. A few new doors and railings are needed at least. The damage was caused by running through a trailer, see comment below.

...which says:

Posted by Mike Vandenberg on July 2, 2009

This was the lead unit on a coal train that plowed through an empty semi trailer in Perham, MN last week.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jul 12th, 2009 at 11:08:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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