Meeting Tier 4

March 7, 2016
Better performance and reliability for passengers while meeting Tier 4 standards.

Go transit has recently taken delivery of a prototype 4000 THP locomotive, model designation MP40PHTC-T4. In 2012, Go Transit initiated a development project to convert an existing MP40 locomotive from its fleet, originally built by MotivePower Inc. (MPI) of Boise, Idaho, with a power plant meeting EPA Tier 4 emission standards.

Unit 647 was selected for the conversion. Originally equipped with an EMD 710 Tier 2 engine and a separate head end power plant, a CAT C27 engine, the platform was rebuilt to accommodate dual Cummins QSK 60 Tier 4 emission engines. The conversion was completed by MPI.

Unit 647 was stripped to the deck and fitted with the two QSK60 Tier 4 engines/alternator power modules. The engines utilize SCR technology with diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). A completely new Wabtec Qtron QES control system was designed for the locomotive control system and interfaces with the Cummins’ engine control systems.

The original trucks with the 4 EMD D87 DC traction motors were re-used. The twin QSK60 2700 GHP engines generate 5400 GHP combined, which provides 4000 THP plus auxiliary locomotive power and sufficient HEP power for the coaches. The dual engines can be used in combination to provide nominal 2000 THP in econo mode with a single engine or provide get home capability should one fail. In either mode the alternators feed a common bus which supplies power to all four traction motors.

The unit has successfully passed all the track worthiness tests at TTCI in Pueblo, Colorado. Go Transit is currently running acceleration/deceleration tests as well as minimum run time tests on its system. Upon completion of these tests, the unit receives conditional acceptance.

The final test phase is to put the prototype unit into revenue service and monitor performance for 7 months. The unit must also demonstrate relevant failure-free service — no train delays or cancellations — for a defined period to successfully pass and receive final acceptance.

The experience gained from unit 647 will demonstrate engine reliability and control and a completely new remote health monitoring system – CDS (central diagnostic system), which will feed into the design for 16 new MP40PHT-T4AC units equipped with ABB AC traction propulsion technology, scheduled for delivery in 2017/18. The addition of the AC traction equipment will not only bring the benefits of greater adhesion control and improved reliability but helps reduce weight and space required by the DC equipment and allowing more room for the after-treatment equipment.

Steve Cavanaugh, P. Eng., is chief rail equipment engineering, Rail Fleet & Facilities, at Go Transit.