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Rail Tunnel Vision

MTU Series 1600 engines to play vital role in Swiss rail tunnel maintenance

Posted on July 1, 2014

MTU Friedrichshafen, a subsidiary of Rolls-Royce Power Systems AG, will deliver 13 PowerPacks with Series 1600 rail engines for infrastructure maintenance vehicles in the Gotthard and Ceneri Base Tunnels. The vehicles will be built by Harsco Rail Europe for SBB Swiss Federal Railways.

The MTU PowerPacks are diesel-electric underfloor units that deliver 700 kW each. At the heart of the package is a 12-cylinder MTU 12V 1600 R80L diesel engine. The unit is equipped with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) exhaust gas aftertreatment technology and meets the stringent requirements of EU Stage 3B emissions regulations, MTU said. Along with the engine and generator, the PowerPack contains all the subsidiary assemblies needed to drive the vehicle.

The maintenance vehicles will operate as pure electric units when overhead power lines are available and run on diesel-electric power on non-electrified routes. The vehicles carry maintenance equipment including cranes, generators and work platforms. The MTU PowerPacks will also generate the power for this equipment, the company said.

The first PowerPacks are scheduled for delivery to Harsco Rail at the beginning of 2015.

The two tunnels are the centrepiece of the New Rail Link through the Alps (NRLA). With a length of 57 km, the new Gotthard Base Tunnel is one of the longest in the world. Regular passenger and freight train operations are scheduled to begin in December 2016. The tunnels will contribute to environmental protection by switching a large proportion of heavy transport from road to rail.