Upgrading the V Line N Class Locomotives

 
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

I am curious if the N Class can be upgraded to a more powerful engine. At present they use EMD 645’s. Can they be upgraded to EMD 710’s? So would these engines fit into the engine space? Would there still be enough room for the HEP generator?

I am assuming a power output of 3,200hp or more in this case, up from the current 2,450 hp. I am interested in seeing if this can lift the overall performance of these locomotives. Eg Slightly faster acceleration and better hill climbing.

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  DounutCereal Chief Train Controller

Location: Who knows.
I am curious if the N Class can be upgraded to a more powerful engine. At present they use EMD 645’s. Can they be upgraded to EMD 710’s? So would these engines fit into the engine space? Would there still be enough room for the HEP generator?

I am assuming a power output of 3,200hp or more in this case, up from the current 2,450 hp. I am interested in seeing if this can lift the overall performance of these locomotives. Eg Slightly faster acceleration and better hill climbing.
Duncs

GML10 is basically an N class with a 12-710G3A so it's possible BUT they couldn't fit the dynamics above the engine anymore and the HEP space is filled with a bottom intake style dynamic brake unit. The radiators have to expand aswell to cool the higher horsepower engine so again going to GML10 you would need to cut out the toilet (which would piss off some drivers no doubt!) behind the No.2 end cab and extend them toward the engine a bit too since it'd need to be about the size of a C class. Unless you flared the radiators like EDI you'd lose a lot of space to the bigger accomodations for the higher horsepower engine. You'd get to the point of a rebuild simmilar to the X - XR grade where they would need to be taken back to a frame and rebuilt with a new hood, radiators, internal layout changes, etc.

The engine has the same footprint though and the frames would be strong enough for the power increase. I'm not sure if the turbo lag with the engine would offer much acceleration gain even with the higher horsepower output.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

If you were going to use the existing cooling systems and ancillaries, the 2000hp 8-710 would the best fit. In the US, EMD is running an in house rebuilding program for mid-sized diesels replacing the 16-645s in GP38-2s and GP40-2s with the eight cylinder 710s. An 8-710 will cost an N 300hp, but it would cost a lot less than the  reengineering needed for a 12-710.
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

If you were going to use the existing cooling systems and ancillaries, the 2000hp 8-710 would the best fit. In the US, EMD is running an in house rebuilding program for mid-sized diesels replacing the 16-645s in GP38-2s and GP40-2s with the eight cylinder 710s. An 8-710 will cost an N 300hp, but it would cost a lot less than the reengineering needed for a 12-710.
Sulla1

A loss of 300hp will not work given the gradients in Victoria. It looks like we will need to stay with the 645’s for now. Any way of boosting their power output?
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Turbo lag on a 12 710 - seriously ?
Wonder if it would be cheaper to hire Gs or even surplus 81s off someone else , even for a trial .
An N class was never going to be a gun pass engine because they don't have enough grunt , plain simple not enough guts on that corridor .
  M636C Minister for Railways

GML10 is basically an N class with a 12-710G3A so it's possible BUT they couldn't fit the dynamics above the engine anymore and the HEP space is filled with a bottom intake style dynamic brake unit. The radiators have to expand aswell to cool the higher horsepower engine so again going to GML10 you would need to cut out the toilet (which would piss off some drivers no doubt!) behind the No.2 end cab and extend them toward the engine a bit too since it'd need to be about the size of a C class. Unless you flared the radiators like EDI you'd lose a lot of space to the bigger accomodations for the higher horsepower engine. You'd get to the point of a rebuild simmilar to the X - XR grade where they would need to be taken back to a frame and rebuilt with a new hood, radiators, internal layout changes, etc.

The engine has the same footprint though and the frames would be strong enough for the power increase. I'm not sure if the turbo lag with the engine would offer much acceleration gain even with the higher horsepower output.
DounutCereal

GML 10 is much more like an 82 class on an N class frame than anything else.

I would expect that the radial dynamic brake unit was fitted in place of the HEP generator as much for weight balance as anything else.

The 12-710G3 is the same length as a 12-645G3 and about 25mm higher and 25mm wider, so I would think that the dynamic brakes could be fitted above the engine with only minor adjustments.

Certainly bigger radiators would need to be fitted, and following the GT46C-ACe design might allow this at the expense of head room on the walkway.

Like BDA, I'd like to know more about "turbo lag" on a 710. I would have thought that the drive gears take care of turbo speed pretty well.

Surely, if you need more power you could just use two N class rather than one. You could couple one at each end to speed up turnaround, and on the standard gauge you could do away with the power car increasing the power to weight ratio even further.

There are a number of spare A class that could replace N class to allow two to run per train.

M636C
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

Two locos is an interesting idea,or else build up a new generation of locos rated to 3000 -  3300 hp with HEP. BTW some new carriages would be a good idea as well. I say that because loco hauled sets can go where railcars cannot, in terms of long lines with unprotected level crossings. Rail cars are limited to 80kph and locos can do 115kph in the same situation.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
I'm not so sure a 12 710 would get that hot in an N Class pulling lightish loads .
If turbo lag was an issue winding up then the engineers at EMD got it horribly wrong - which they didn't . Mind you an 82 class is a total POS on pass trains and proof that you can have 12 251 performance in an EMD block ....
A double cab unit with 3+000 Hp is the go and I understand more modern and powerful units are displacing 81 classes at 5 Star so a fresh one would have to have the legs on an N Class . Smaller tank yes but easily round trip Albury .
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

I'm not so sure a 12 710 would get that hot in an N Class pulling lightish loads .
If turbo lag was an issue winding up then the engineers at EMD got it horribly wrong - which they didn't . Mind you an 82 class is a total POS on pass trains and proof that you can have 12 251 performance in an EMD block ....
A double cab unit with 3+000 Hp is the go and I understand more modern and powerful units are displacing 81 classes at 5 Star so a fresh one would have to have the legs on an N Class . Smaller tank yes but easily round trip Albury .
BDA

Something based on the QR 2800 class?
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
No , A JT26C-2SS based on an 81 class .
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

No , A JT26C-2SS based on an 81 class .
BDA

OK Thanks
  NOELWB Locomotive Driver

Why limit the discussion to EMD prime movers. There are now a number of medium speed prime movers on the Australian rail scene, ie Cummins, MTU and Caterpillar. Due to their higher speed they should at least theoretically be able to be lighter and smaller, although their radiator/cooling system may be just as large as an EMD 3000hp prime mover.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
Back in the early 1980s when V/Line first ordered the N class, the initial plan was to order 10 N class, and to rebuild all 26 B class into A class (similar as to what has been suggested here). A few units into the project, it was decided it was more cost effective to build new locomotives rather than continue on upgrading older locomotives, so only 10 A class were built and a further 16 N class were added to the order making a total of 26 N class, and 10 A class. With hindsight, it seems to have been a wise choice, nearly all 10 A class our now in storage, with the exception of A66 making the odd trip out for radio testing, and rescue duties, meanwhile all 26 N class are still going strong.

Likewise when Freight Australia was upgrading the X class into the XR class. After PN took the reigns of FA, PN decided that it was more prudent to just build new locomotives, rather than trying to get a bit more life out of the old girls. Which is why XR557, XR558, XR559 as well as the cabless XRBs were all completely new builds, as apose to the rest of the XR fleet which were all X class rebuilds.

This leaves me to believe that major upgrades as has been suggested are probably not the better option, not compared to brand new locomotives.

V/Line and the state government really need to decide what the future holds for the long distance services to Warrnambool, Swan Hill, Albury and Bairnsdale. If DMUs are not good enough in regards to unprotected crossings, then new locomotive and new passenger carriages will be required within the next 15 years. I know 15 years seems so far away, but that seems to be how long it takes for governments to decide on and implement any big ideas.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
You could easily outfit protected level crossings on all of the long distance lines within 15 years.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Why build anything new or rebuild old . I'm sure PN wouldn't mind hiring out 81s if they thought they could spare them . You'd think cheaper than new or new paint on old steel anything .
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

Given the time it has taken just to upgrade the Echuca level crossings, I suggest some new locos and carriages.

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