Sister companies Knorr Brake Company (KBC) and New York Air Brake (NYAB) have introduced the jointly developed EE-26™ electropneumatic passenger rail brake system, which they say “is engineered for safety, performance, uptime and lower total cost of ownership.”
The EE-26 employs electronic closed-loop control “to provide higher reliability, real-time diagnostic capability and a platform for future advancements,” the companies—both of which are subsidiaries of Munich, Germany-based Knorr-Bremse—said. Designed in compliance with APTA (American Public Transportation Association) standard PR-M-S-020-17, the EE-26™ “is aligned with new standards being adopted by many leading railways.” It combines elements of the companies’ freight and passenger rail ECP (electronically controlled pneumatic) technology.
Based on NYAB’s “service-proven” EP-60® freight rail product line, the EE-26™ brake system “represents the future of passenger ECP braking in North America,” as it increases the recommended valve overhaul period to 10 years, more than doubling the previous four-year period. Its modular design uses “the preferred panel-mounted valve approach from other transit applications, saves space, makes installation easier for car manufacturers, and provides more accessible maintenance compared to existing traditional pipe-mounted equipment. Additionally, the EE-26™’s integrated diagnostics technology and vehicle networking enable rapid problem identification for quicker repairs and provide more detailed data that helps expedite routine maintenance, overhaul and replacement planning.”
The EE-26™ also utilizes an AAR (Association of American Railroads)-approved Car Control Device (CCD) as the foundation of its brake control operation, “leveraging service-proven components for system reliability and smooth product introduction. Proven to perform, the EE-26™ system has undergone a rigorous battery of testing at both KBC and NYAB’s laboratories and has been under continuous field trial in North America since 2014, accumulating more than 1.8 million miles of service.”
The EE-26™ has been designed in accordance with APTA standards to be interoperable with vehicles that have legacy brake control valves. As such, this means that “railroads can gradually migrate to the modern system without forcing fleetwide upgrades,” KBC/NYAB noted. “This reduces operating costs while providing safe, uninterrupted service. And since it is based on globally accepted EP-60® technology, the EE-26 system is easily upgradable to an APTA-compliant ECP braking system.
“North American passenger railcars have been equipped with the same conventional pneumatic brake control for decades,” said KBC Deputy Director of OE Sales Michael Gibbs. “Now, with adoption of electropneumatic control technology significantly increasing in North America, we’ve engineered the EE-26™ brake system with the capability to handle both true pneumatic and electropneumatic control of a braking system. It’s a bridge to the future of passenger car brake control.”
“We often relate the comparative communications speed of pneumatic and ECP signals through a brake system to the speed of sound vs. the speed of light,” explained NYAB Manager of Sales and Systems Engineering Brendan Crowley. “In addition to the safety and performance enhancements of greater signal speed, ECP systems deliver real-time diagnostic information and alerts to operators and maintenance staff, which benefits train engineers and technicians, improves train handling and decreases maintenance downtime. We included a simplified and standardized application platform in the new EE-26™ design, so that the system can be easily incorporated by all carbuilders. Combine the ease of integration together with advanced diagnostics and high reliability, and you’re looking at lower life-cycle costs in a higher-performance system. The obsolescence of legacy pneumatic valves, along with their more intensive maintenance requirements, is driving customers toward systems that only need to be overhauled every 10 years or so.”
NYAB and KBC also developed the EP 60/26™, described as “a second variation on the EE-26™ that can handle ECP as well as respond to traditional pneumatic control.” This system “addresses the North American passenger rail market’s needs while building a foundation for the next stage of braking system evolution,” Gibbs noted. “We needed to bring together old and new, because the jump to a completely electronically controlled brake system would have created problems interfacing with older equipment. We need to make sure we’re serving everyone, so even as railway transit authorities are considering new cars, they’re still seeking to retrofit older cars, some of which may be around for another 10 or 20 years. The EE-26™ and the EP 60/26™ systems reflect the dedication, expertise and rail-proven technologies of both New York Air Brake and Knorr Brake Company, and our combined teams are proud to help drive North American passenger rail transit into a safe and dependable tomorrow.”
Knorr Brake Company, headquartered in Westminster, Md., has been supplying North American rail market customers, including light rail vehicles, metro, and high-speed trains, since 1973. The company operates sales and service facilities in Carmel, N.Y. and Union City, Calif. KBC subsidiaries IFE North America LLC (passenger door systems) and Merak North America LLC (climate-control systems) are co-located in Westminster.
New York Air Brake LLC, established in 1890, develops and supplies air brake control systems and components, electronically controlled braking systems, foundation brakes, training simulators and train handling systems, and wayside equipment to the rail industry. NYAB is headquartered in Watertown, N.Y., with manufacturing plants in Nixa and Wheatland and Riverside, Mo.; Salisbury, N.C.; and West Chicago, Ill. along with Train Dynamic Systems (TDS), a technology development unit located in Irving, Tex.