GE’s continental-European PowerHaul debuts at InnoTrans

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

At the InnoTrans 2012 expo in Berlin, GE Transportation unveiled its PowerHaul Series PH37ACai diesel-electric locomotive, which the company says “is continental Europe’s newest cross-border locomotive and our most technologically advanced, fuel-efficient, and low-emissions diesel-electric locomotive to date.”

The double-cab, six-axle, 3,700-hp PH37ACai meets the latest European TSI (Technical Specifications for Interoperability). “Our PowerHaul series has been delivering fuel efficiency while lowering emissions for several years now,” says Rob McKeel, General Manager of GE’s Locomotive business. “Now, our European version can provide cross-border operations and meet the requirements of one of the most stringent standards in the world.” 

Engineered to support Europe’s lighter axle-load applications in freight service, the PH37ACai features starting tractive effort of 135,000 pounds, continuous tractive effort of 96,000 pounds, and dynamic braking effort of 43,000 pounds. Nominal weight is 126 metric tons; maximum weight is 129.8 metric tons. Equipped with a twin-turbo, GE P616 16-cylinder prime-mover, common-rail fuel injection system, and AC traction, the locomotive meets current EU (European Union) IIIa and IIIb standards, “reducing fuel usage and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 9%, compared to current operating fleet averages,” says McKeel. HEP is available as an option for passenger service applications.

To develop the locomotive, GE partnered with HHPI (Heavy Haul Power International), an EU freight rail provider based in Germany that specializes in 7,000-8,000 gross-ton, single-locomotive, Pan-European unit-train operations, particularly in the coal sector. The PH37ACai “is capable of operating more productive trains for bulk traffic than current technology, says HHPI Group Chairman Richard Painter. “Our focus is on cost per tonne, which will be achieved by one train doing the job of three existing ones and therefore significantly benefiting the environment and the economy.”

Len Hill GEGE Transportation Systems Leader Global Locomotives Len Hill (pictured) and other PH37ACai project team members provided Railway Age Editor-in-Chief William C. Vantuono with a tour of the unit. Hill noted that the locomotive is equipped with GE’s new “Tempo” ETCS (European Train Control System) Solution, “the first ETCS implementation on a PowerHaul Series Locomotive for 2013 deployment.” This system is part of Tempo Railway Solutions, described as “a comprehensive onboard and wayside signaling portfolio designed around a common failsafe, scalable hardware and software platform as well as an integrated suite of engineering tools.” Tempo, deployed on the PH37ACai with GSM-R and GPS communications gear, “supports operations ranging from high traffic density urban lines or high-speed lines to lower traffic regional lines. The solutions also simplify railway signaling project execution, day-to-day operations, and maintenance.”

The PH37ACai was built in cooperation with TÜLOMSAŞ, (Türkiye Lokomotif ve Motor Sanayi Anonim Şirketi), a locomotive and freight car builder in Turkey. TÜLOMSAŞ is the main locomotive supplier to Turkish State Railways and one of the two companies that designs and assembles locomotives in Turkey along with EUROTEM (Hyundai EURotem, a joint venture of Hyundai-Rotem of South Korea and TÜVASAŞ of Turkey). The TÜLOMSAŞ headquarters and factory are located in Eskişehir.

In addition to freight rail operators in continental Europe, GE’s markets for PowerHaul locomotives are the United Kingdom (Freightliner Group Ltd., where the the PowerHaul debuted in 2009), South Korea (KORAIL, Korea Railroad), and Australia. KORAIL ‘s PowerHaul locomotives are built in cooperation with Hyundai-Rotem. The Australian units are built in cooperation with UGL Limited. GE Transportation says it “continues to build regional and global partnerships to support customer reach and growth.” Earlier this year, GE Transportation and TÜLOMSAŞ introduced the first PowerHaul Series Locomotive to be assembled in Turkey. “This important partnership with TÜLOMSAŞ demonstrates GE’s commitment to serving customers in the UK, continental Europe, and other countries around the region,” the company says.

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