Most powerful single-engined diesel set for rails

16th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

16 November 2007, Velim, Czech Republic - The world's most powerful single-engined diesel locomotive is undergoing final testing before being licensed for cross-border traffic across Europe.

16 November 2007

Velim, Czech Republic - The world's most powerful single-engined diesel locomotive is undergoing final testing before being licensed for cross-border traffic across Europe.

The Voith Maxima 40 CC reveals surprisingly graceful lines for the power it puts out: 3,600 kilowatts, or almost 5,000 horsepower.

Designed and built in the northern German port of Kiel by the Voith Turbo company, a subsidiary of the traditional family-owned Voith concern in the south-western state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the new engine has gone from drawing board to prototype in record time.

The Kiel-based subsidiary was born in early 2005, just weeks after the decision was taken to build the engine. By March next year, just three years later, the Maxima is expected to be licensed for operation.

The silver-and-blue engine is undergoing final testing at the Velim Test Centre near Podebrady in the Czech Republic, a facility devoted entirely to testing trains.

By locomotive standards the Maxima is not particularly large. Bombardier's Kiruna, which pulls iron ore trains from Kiruna in Sweden to the Norwegian port of Narvik puts out 13,000 horsepower.

But the Kiruna is an electric engine, while the Maxima's selling point is its diesel engine, which facilitates cross-border operation, particularly in Eastern Europe, where electricity standards are not uniform.

After licensing in Germany early next year, Voith plans to have its new engine approved in the Netherlands in the summer. Applications are also pending in Belgium, Scandinavia and Poland.

The company has taken orders for 15 engines and expects that figure to rise to 100 by 2011, despite a price tag of 3.3 million euros (4.8 million dollars).

At Velim, the engine has undergone strenuous testing. A form totalling some 11,000 pages has to be filled out.

"Building the engine is the easy part. Getting an engine licensed in Europe is much harder," says Voith Turbo technical manager Hinrich Krey.

Marketing manager Manfred Lerch is optimistic on the Maxima's commercial future. "The market is big," Lerch believes, with rail goods traffic on the rise across Europe

DPA

Subject: German news

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