References: Highest utilization of tractive effort worldwide

Siemens’ expertise in the area of tractive effort is based on experiences from a host of different applications in which wheel-slip protection has been continuously improved. There are more than 4,000 locomotives in service today that are equipped with Siemens wheel-slip prevention systems.

Germany/ Netherlands: Heavy load transport to the Dillingen steelworks

Thanks to its exceptionally effective utilization of tractive effort, the four-axle BR 189 offers a substitute for six-axle locomotives. On April 12, 2010, DB locomotives of class BR 189 for the first time transported ore trains with a hauled weight of over 5,500 tons in double traction. They are equipped with an automatic coupler of type Transpact. These transports are carried out on the Rotterdam Port-Dillingen steelworks (Saarland) line via the Betuweroute (NL), with gradients of up to 25 ‰. The engine drivers were impressed by the high tractive effort, which is virtually unaffected by weather conditions. This represents a peak performance for four-axle locomotives. For example, it was possible to start and accelerate the 5,500-ton train from a standstill on a gradient of over 12 ‰. The same results were found in the Kaiser-Wilhelm Tunnel, which is extremely challenging in terms of traction. The drivers, who formerly only had experience with two six-axle BR-151 locomotives, had not believed this was possible.

Poland: 4,000 tons with a four-axle locomotive

In Poland freight-train locomotives are still almost all of six-axle design. On July 28, 2009, a regular train of the Polish operator Lotos Koleje that is usually drawn by a six-axle locomotive was hauled by a four-axle ES64F4 from MRCE-Dispolok. The objective was to define the hauled load of an ES64F4 and to compare its performance with six-axle locomotives. Despite the bad weather conditions, the 3,650-ton train reached its destination on schedule and coped reliably with all critical gradients. This test was then confirmed by an independent test institute (IPS) that is accredited in Europe. The network operator PLK has now had the ES64F4 certified for operation with a train weight of 4,000 tons on gradients up to six ‰. This provides impressive confirmation that a four-axle Siemens locomotive can replace a six-axle locomotive.

Denmark: Tests with 10 percent more hauled load

Comparable tractive effort tests can only be conducted under comparable conditions. Tunnels offer an ideal test environment since the climatic conditions inside them remain constant over long periods. For this reason, Railion Denmark regularly carries out tests with comparable locomotives and freight trains with a variety of different hauled loads. In these tests, more and more wagons are added until the train can no longer be moved. The result of this objective test shows that the ES64F4 locomotive can haul between 10 and 15 percent more load than all other comparable locomotives.

Australia: Just three locomotives instead of five

About 90 percent of Queensland’s coal is transported from the mines in the Bowen Basin to the ports on the east coast on the two electrified main lines of the Goonyella and Blackwater systems. Whereas in the past five locomotives were necessary, today only three Siemens locomotives are deployed per train: two locomotives at the head of the train and one in the center operated by radio control. This enables coal trains with 120 wagons, each weighing 106 tons, to be hauled. This corresponds to a total train weight of 12,720 tons.

China: HXd1 dual locomotives for 20,000 tons

Two HXd1 freight locomotives haul coal trains on the 650-kilometer long Daqin railway line between Datong and the port city of Qinhuangtao. The coal trains are up to 3,000 meters long and weigh up to 20,000 tons. In the past, four locomotives were needed for this type of train. In simple English, that means that two modern locomotives can do the work of four locomotives of the older type.

Sweden: ES64F4 extreme test at Hector Rail

The 1,200-kilometer long line from Piteå to Hallsberg features gradients of up to 17 ‰, curve radii of as little as 400 meters, and extreme climatic conditions including lots of snow and temperatures down to -35 °C. Hector Rail transports heavy freight trains over this line with ES64F4 locomotives. On one section of the line, loads of up to 2,000 tons are now hauled where in the past the upper limit was about 1,600 tons. The maximum load on the other line sections is 1,440 tons compared with the former upper limit of about 1,200 tons. If the ES64F4 locomotive was ever unavailable, a six-axle locomotive would be deployed instead or, alternatively, two older four-axle locomotives in double traction.

Germany: Tests on the Rübelandbahn

In 2003, test runs were carried out on the “Rübelandbahn” in the German state of Sachsen-Anhalt for the purpose of comparing various locomotives of modern four-axle design with a six-axle locomotive. For the tests, the trains transported a cargo of potassium up extreme gradients. The measurements made established that the tractive effort of the ES64F4 (BR 189) puts it in the same performance bracket as the six-axle steep-gradient locomotive of DB class 171 (251 at the former DR) traditionally deployed for this purpose. The team also observed that the Siemens locomotive had the highest tractive effort of all four-axle locomotives and achieved the same tractive effort as the traditional Co-Co locomotive designed especially for this line.

Australia: Three locomotives replace four in the Moura and Blackwater system

Siemens and EMD built the type GT42CUAC for deployment in heavy coal transportation in Australia, on the basis of similar locomotives developed for North America. With a starting tractive effort of 600 kN and with a weight of 120 tons, these vehicles boast the highest tractive effort of any narrow-gauge locomotive in the world. In the Moura Coal System, two GT42CU ACs now haul coal trains weighing 6,650 tons, where formerly three locomotives were deployed to haul 4,450-ton coal trains. This translates into the equivalent of a “1 for 2 replacement.” In the Blackwater Coal System, three GT42CUAC locomotives now transport coal trains weighing 9,150 tons. By comparison, it took four old electric locomotives to haul trains weighing 8,080 tons. This means that three new locomotives now do the work of four old ones.

India: GT46MAC replaces two old locomotives

Siemens and EMD are developing wide-gauge locomotives for India based on locomotives built for North America, namely the GT46MAC freight locomotive, the GT46PAC for passenger transport, and the variants WDG4 and WDP4 produced in India. These locomotives are used to haul freight trains weighing 4,750 tons. These trains, which were previously drawn by two locomotives (of 2,300 kW each), can now be hauled by a single GT46MAC (3,000 kW). In this case, two old locomotives are replaced by one new one.

North America: First reference for three locomotives instead of five

At the beginning of the 1990s, EMD and Siemens jointly developed locomotives with three-phase drive for transporting heavy coal trains. Three of these locomotives can do the work of five equipped with DC traction motors. This “3 for 5 replacement” produces substantial savings in maintenance costs. Significantly better utilization of the tractive effort of each locomotive was necessary to achieve this goal, and was made possible by the interaction of three-phase power transmission and an excellent wheel-slip prevention system. Burlington Northern was so impressed by the demonstration runs that it purchased 350 type SD70MAC locomotives. A demonstration tour of other North American rail companies led to the large-scale introduction of AC locomotives.