Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Model Railroad News 02 2009

In Europe, trains run under wire far more places than in North America. While some of that is due to the differences in operating concepts, much of it is really a matter of choice. Take the Taurus for example. Rated at 6,400 Kilowatts, this translates to 8,583 Horsepower, making it vastly more powerful than any single diesel or steam locomotive in operation right now on North American rails. The "ES" stands tor "Euro Sprinter," the 64 is for the hundreds of kilowatts of power, the "U" is for Universal (as opposed to being freight or passenger specific), and the "2" is tor the number of electric power types the machine will accept. Versions can be produced that will accept all four of the power types used in European railroading. The Universal version differs from the Freight in the shape of the nose shell. While the Freight has sharper, boxier corners, the Universal is more rounded. The two power types the U2 accepts are 15 and 25 kV AC; the other two power types used in Europe are 1.5 and 3.0 kV DC. The Taurus is clearly a flexible, all around performer. Amtrak enjoys eight thousand horsepower locomotives for its highspeed passenger trains, but the application of high horse electrics to current North American freight is quite limited. Black Mesa & Lake Powell has nine 6,000 horse units, Deseret Power Rv has three, Iowa Traction has three antiques, and that's about it tor electric freight haulers on this continent. It isn't that we can't; it's just that we don't. Variants of the Taurus have found their way around the world to Denmark, Greece, China, Korea, and Spain. If a railroad wanted to adopt electric under-wire operations, it's nice to know there is a production locomotive that is ready to go.