World record with mtu engines: Talgo high-speed train reaches 254 km/h

Posted on September 24, 2002

During testing in June, the Spanish high-speed train "Talgo" reached a speed of 254 km/h on the new line between Madrid and Barcelona.
Berlin - During testing in June, the Spanish high-speed train "Talgo" reached a speed of 254 km/h on the new line between Madrid and Barcelona. This is a new world record for a diesel-powered rail-bound vehicle, significantly improving on the previous record of 238 kilometers per hour held by a British train.

Two of the things which made this record possible were the tremendous saving of weight achieved in the power car as well as the powerful drive system featuring mtu engines. The saving of weight in the power car, which was developed by the Spanish rail manufacturer Patentes Talgo S.A. in collaboration with Siemens, Munich, is the result of the systematic adoption of a lightweight construction principle. Thus, the power car complete with engine and transmission weighs only around 43 tonnes. There is also the fact that the carriages rest not on heavy bogies, but on lightweight individual axles.

The traction is provided by a 1,500 kW 12-cylinder Series 4000 diesel engine, with which each of the train's two power cars is equipped. The engines deliver their power via a hydraulic transmission to the drive shafts of the power cars. The diesel power car is the only one of its kind in the world with axles which can be adjusted to different track widths. Whereas it had already previously been possible to switch the passenger carriages over from the national gauge of 1668 millimeters to the European gauge for use throughout Europe, it was to date always necessary to change the locomotives. Thanks to the new power cars, it is now possible for complete trains to be given a change of gauge by passing through a regauging facility.

The "Talgo" has been undergoing testing in Spain since 1999. The test train, consisting of a power car and three passenger carriages, is a laboratory on wheels: numerous sensors and measuring instruments are installed in a first-class car, a second-class car and a buffet car. In addition, the train has a measuring car, which documents, among other things, the operating performance of the locomotive and that of the diesel-electric drive. Not least because of the electronically controlled Common Rail injection system, which provides top-class values in terms of consumption and power, the Series 4000 engine is considered one of the most advanced diesel engines in service with the Spanish state-owned railroad company Renfe. The routes traveled by the train from Madrid include the approximately 200-kilometer-long mainlines to Burgos in northern Spain and Albacete in the east of the country, in the course of which the train benefited from the passive "Pendular" tilt technology of the passenger carriages, this allowing the train to travel at high speed along winding sections of track. The train will operate in regular service at a maximum of 180 km/h on the 650-kilometer-long high-speed line between Madrid and Seville.

The cooperation between Talgo and mtu dates back to the 1950s, the age of mtu's predecessor company Maybach-Motorenbau. This was an era which was characterized above all by the manufacture of particularly fast, lightweight and reliable diesel-hydraulic locomotives.