THERE is growing interest in electric locomotives with so-called last mile capability to allow operation for short distances beyond the wires to reach unelectrified terminals or private sidings, but Vossloh has taken this a step further with its EuroDual general-purpose electro-diesel locomotive, which is designed to run on both electrified main lines and non-electrified secondary routes.

Vossloh outlined its dual-mode locomotive strategy at InnoTrans 2012 when it displayed a small model of its planned EuroDual locomotive. Since then the company has won two contracts for two very different applications, demonstrating the versatility of the design, and a full-size mock-up will be on show in Berlin this month.

The first order was placed in mid-2013 by Swifambo Rail Leasing, South Africa, which ordered 50 EuroDual electro-diesel locomotives for passenger operation on the 1067mm-gauge South African network, plus a batch of 20 Euro 4000 Co-Co diesel-electric locomotives at a total cost of €250m. They will be used by the Shosholoza Meyl division of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) on long-distance passenger services radiating from Johannesburg to the country's main cities including Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, and East London.

As some of the routes are only partially electrified, the introduction of electro-diesels should reduce operating costs by obviating the need for time-consuming locomotive changes during the trip, and enable Prasa to reduce its overall fleet requirements.

The EuroDuals ordered by Prasa will have a maximum operating speed of 140km/h, a power rating of 2.8MW and will be able to operate on lines electrified at 3kV dc.

Vossloh says manufacture of the Euro 4000 locomotives is nearing completion and they are scheduled to be shipped to South Africa before the end of this year. Vossloh is closing an agreement to maintain the Euro 4000 fleet, and hopes to be able to reach a similar deal for the EuroDual fleet, assembly of which has just started. Vossloh also has options in the contract to supply additional locomotives to South Africa.

British project

The second contract is for 10 class 88 UKDual locomotives awarded by Direct Rail Services (DRS), Britain, through Beacon Rail Leasing. When the locomotives enter service in 2015, DRS intends to use them for mainline diesel haulage rather than simply as a "last-mile" option for work on non-electrified sidings. The locomotives will replace 5MW dual-voltage class 92 electric locomotives, which DRS hires from DB Schenker Rail and are currently being used on key intermodal flows on the West Coast Main Line, as well as to haul passenger trains.

The class 88 will be the first 25kV ac electro-diesel to be operated in Britain, as the only other electro-diesels in use in Britain are the class 73 units designed for third-rail operation and which date from the 1960s.

The class 88 will be based on the class 68 UKLight Bo'Bo' diesel-electric locomotive currently being delivered to DRS. Vossloh is supplying 15 2.8MW UKLight locomotives which have 16-cylinder Caterpillar engines and ABB ac traction equipment.

The class 88 will have a continuous rating of 4MW when operating in electric mode. For operation on non-electrified lines the UKDual will be equipped with a 700kW Euro IIIB diesel engine. Traction equipment will also be supplied by ABB.

The class 88 will have a tractive effort of 317kN in both electric and diesel modes, and regenerative braking will be possible. Maximum service speed will be 160km/h. The UKDual will be 20.4m long over the buffers, have a tare weight of 86 tonnes, and a 21.5-tonne axleload.

The platform strategy adopted by Vossloh for the EuroDual allows the integration of such systems as train-to-wayside communication, driver assistance systems, and a system called Efitren which is designed to enhance train efficiency and, simultaneously, reduce emissions. A wear-free automatic start/stop feature should reduce engine operating hours in diesel-electric mode.

Vossloh says dual-mode units have several benefits compared with conventional locomotives. The option of diesel or electric traction offers a high degree of flexibility as trains can be scheduled and rerouted independently of the mode of traction. A dual-mode locomotive should also have a greater operating range due to non-reliance on diesel fuel and the efficiency of electric traction.

The EuroDual locomotive complies with US Environment Protection Agency (EPA), and EU Stage IIIB exhaust norms as well as the latest European standards and regulations for crash behaviour and safety.

Refurbished LRV

Vossloh will also exhibit at InnoTrans one of the 25 LRVs which it is renovating for Bonn Municipal Authority (SWB). Vossloh Kiepe is rejuvenating 25 model B articulated LRVs during a six-year period up to 2016 to extend the life of these 40-year-old vehicles for another 25 years of service.

Vossloh Kiepe says that while the basic structure of the vehicles, which were built between 1974 and 1975, is still very good, elsewhere they suffer increasingly from obsolescence, particularly the electrical equipment and interior.

Bonn 2013As part of this complex project, Vossloh Kiepe is responsible for revamping the electrical equipment. The essence of the refurbishment project is to optimise the traction system by equipping the vehicles with modern dc choppers which return braking current to the overhead wires.

The traction switchgear is being replaced by two contactless IGBT GAA 200 choppers each with an output of 250kW. For this, Vossloh Kiepe is supplying two ASM traction controllers. Each of the IGBT choppers controls and feeds one of the two longitudinally-mounted self-ventilated dc series-wound motors which are also undergoing refurbishment as part of the project. New braking resistors are being installed next to the dc chopper, while the control switches and the brake control switches are refurbished with new cover plates to match the design of the other new control panels in the driver's cab.

Other important components are a new modular static onboard inverter, auxiliary equipment converter, driver's cab air-conditioning, control panels, and various equipment mounts. The LRVs are also being fitted with video surveillance, a smoke detection system and passenger intercom as well as fault diagnosis software.

The LRVs are undergoing an internal revamp to provide passengers with a bright and modern interior. The driver's cab is being redesigned to improve functionality and create a better working environment.

Vossloh says the modernisation is providing SWB with rejuvenated vehicles, equipped with an energy-saving driveline and proven technology, but at one-third the cost of purchasing new LRVs.

(Visit Vossloh in Hall 26, stand 310 and at the outside track area)