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Intriguing. I'm guessing it operates as a boosting unit starting the train and up grades and adds dynamic braking going down grades. Unless it can charge off the diesel units or act as a slug at other times. 

It seems like a logical evolution of the Green Goat switchers from about 10 years ago that were built from GP7/9 donors using batteries for power and having an on-board small diesel generator to charge the batteries when standing by.

Last edited by AGHRMatt

Maybe we would see a combo with a conventional locomotive mu'ed with a full battery one.

But everybody is forgetting somethings:

1.  If the batteries are being charged off the traction motors during braking, or, from a renewable source, you are just moving the smokestack from the locomotive to the prime mover or power generating plant.

2.  Batteries and solar panels are made with not so friendly materials.  Many cancer causing. See 3 for solar panels.

3.  Windmills and solar panels cause visual pollution.  Windmills also cause windflow and bird migration issues.

4.  When the batteries and solar panels are dead, were are you going to put them?  Safely?

I think we need to look ahead.  But in solving one issue, this may create even more.


@Hot Water posted:



4) Obviously "old fashion" DC traction motors?


Current locomotives use a AC-DC-AC transmission where AC produced by the generator is rectified to DC. The DC is fed into a variable frequency drive which feeds AC at the desired frequency to the asynchronous motors that drive the wheels.  

In the case of a battery powered locomotive the DC from the batteries is fed to the VFD which then supplies AC at the desired frequency to the asynchronous motors that drive the wheels. 

The unit is propelled by AC motors.

If I understand the spiel properly, the battery electric isn't really designed to operate as an independent locomotive for any extended period of time.

It appears to to turn a multiple locomotive consist into a hybrid consist reducing the load on the conventional locomotives in the MU consist. 

It will be interesting to see if the theory of operation matches the spiel providing the desired results.


Where this might work in some form is BNSF's Cascade and Steven's Tunnels.  If freights are run with diesel/battery-slug combinations, more freights could run through them.  With battery power, one less locomotive to fowl the air in the tunnel.  So less time needed to purge the tunnel between trains.  I think it takes 30 minutes to purge Cascade after a train.  Was Cascade at one time an electric division on GN?

Last edited by Dominic Mazoch
Was Cascade at one time an electric division on GN?
That was where the GN W-1 electrics ran back when. If I understand the Railway Age article correctly, the Wabtec units are more in the train power / fuel consumption management role rather than a raw power haulage locomotive, although doing that in a big way..

[Photo: S. Berliner lll]

Last edited by Firewood

These locomotives would be excellent pushers on the Hill from Altoona to Gallitzin. Then couple on to the next Eastbound train and recharge the batteries going back down the Hill to Altoona. Rinse&repeat all day and all night. Truly a lot of something for nothing.


IIRC the Milwaukee Road used regenerative braking on their DC electrified line and that power went into the Catenary to power a train climbing the hill.

I heard about and read up on this months ago and was excited to see it.  I was hoping for MTH to make one so I could add it to my roster.  But instead MTH announced they were closing.  Like stated, it's a calf type locomotive, but that has the ability to run on it's own for short runs.  Kind of like a modern fireless steam locomotive.

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