Example trains used for calculation

Working with the results of the last page, the following high-performance loco is identified to be a realistic setup, within the restrictions of FRA regulation:

The Spanish 354 still needed to use 2 motors in 1984. Today, 3500 - 3800 hp are easily delivered out of one high performance diesel. There are at least 6 options available:
  power @ speed mass (dry) www data sheet
Cummins QSK78-L 3500 hp (2610 kW) @ 1900 rpm 9.9 tons (8950 kg) no
MTU 20V 4000 R42 3621 hp (2700 kW) @ 1800 rpm 9.3 tons (8430 kg) yes
Detroit Diesel 20V 4000 R42 similar data no
Pielstick 16 PA4 V 200 VG 3540 hp (2640 kW) @ 1500 rpm 11.0 tons (10000 kg) yes
MAN B&W Paxman VP185 18V 3753 hp (2800 kW) @ 1500 rpm 11.2 tons (10160 kg) yes
MAN B&W Paxman VP185 18V 4157 hp (3100 kW) @ 1800 rpm 11.2 tons (10160 kg) yes

The European Talgo locos achieve their low weight with hydraulic transmissions. Weight of the currently developed hydraulic transmission "Voith LS 640 reU2 + KB 360", which allows up to 5029 hp, will be 7.7 tons. The dynamic brake is integrated, and included into the weight figure. At the moment, this is the most realistic option for a lightweight high performance loco. Given the progress in AC technology, electric transmission might be an option in near future.

While hundreds of 125 mph push-pull intercity trains are used every day in other countries, the author expects regulatory problems in the USA. For this reason, it is suggested to use end cars for hotel power generation. This has been the standard setup of older Talgos in Europe. Since the FRA dislikes lightweight cab cars with passengers, a power car with cab is suggested for trains with one loco, replacing the lightweight cab car offered in Europe by Talgo. All the loco power can be used for traction in such a setup, and freight locos can be used as emergency power.

Two example Talgo trains will be created on this page, and travel time calculations for the Shasta Route will be based on their performance. For the reader, this allows to check, wether assumptions of the author are realistic. Assumptions are decisive for the results of such calculations. Only one difference will be made between day- and nighttrains: For unbalanced superelevation, a maximum of 7 inches is assumed while traveling deep in the night. Talgo has already delivered all types of both luxury and basic overnight cars, so there is no reason to assume a different train type.

The following table will define a half length push-pull set with one loco and a cab car, plus a full length push-pull set with one loco at each end. Listed are maximum configurations within the power-to-weight limits.

Graphical representation of half length trainset
Size explained by comparison: A half-length trainset.

  half-length train full-length train
power 3621 hp (2700 kW) 7242 hp (5400 kW)
loco weight 80 tons (72575 kg) 2 × 80 tons = 160 tons (145150 kg)
cab car: power and baggage 1 × 24 tons (21772 kg) -
end cars: power and baggage - 2 × 23 tons = 46 tons (41730 kg)
end car: passenger space 1 × 20 tons (18144 kg) -
middle cars 8×15.4 tons=123.2 tons (111765 kg) 20×15.4 tons=308 tons (279413 kg)
total mass 247.2 tons (224256 kg) 514 tons (466293 kg)
power to weight 14.6 hp/ton (12 kW/metric t) 14.1 hp/ton (11.6 kW/metric t)
top speed, improved track 125 mph (201 km/h) 125 mph (201 km/h)
top speed, California high-speed rail project 140 mph (225 km/h) 140 mph (225 km/h)
unbalanced superelevation, passenger track 9 inches (230 mm) 9 inches (230 mm)
unbalanced superelevation, freight track ¹ 7 inches (178 mm) 7 inches (178 mm)
¹ Only an assumption - reasons are outlined on page 11: Track geometry and maintenance.

Graphical representation of full length trainset
Traditional Amtrak train and full-length trainset.

Length of full-length set might be 1070 - 1075 feet. Slight variations of weight occur for cars with different interior. Since this article does not contain any suggestion for a train consist, these very small differences are ignored for the purpose of this document.

Unit conversion for text on this page.
80 tons 72575 kg
9 inches (230 mm) unbalanced superelevation 1.5 m/s2 unbalanced lateral acceleration
10 inches (254 mm) unbalanced superelevation 1.68 m/s2 unbalanced lateral acceleration
3500-3800 hp 2610-2834 kW
4157 hp 3100 kW
5029 hp 3750 kW
7.7 tons 7000 kg
125 mph 201 km/h
7 inches (178 mm) unbalanced superelevation 1.17 m/s2 unbalanced lateral acceleration
1070 - 1075 feet 326.1 - 327.7 m

about this document            Hans-Joachim Zierke            © notice            Thank you

Last modified: 2003-08-28