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Drive units for the Swiss Federal Railways: Zeppelin Power Systems to supply 94 power packs for Alstom


The Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) have ordered a total of 47 Prima H4 locomotives from the French manufacturer Alstom, which will be sourcing the drive units for the major order from Zeppelin Power Systems. The high-performance power packs were jointly designed by both companies and each locomotive will be equipped with two power packs (47x2). The contract was concluded in September at InnoTrans, the international trade fair for transport technology.

“We are very pleased to be working with a highly efficient engineering and distribution partner such as Zeppelin Power Systems,” said Tony Faucher, Commodity Manager at Alstom. “The close collaboration during the power pack design phase worked really well. Zeppelin’s ability to be highly flexible when implementing specific customer requirements, which can differ from the standard solutions, also became apparent here.” 


The locomotives are based on Alstom’s new Prima H4 dual-mode platform for shunting and track work. The dual drive mode facilitates both diesel-electric operation and a purely electrical drive system using the overhead contact line. It can travel up to 120 km/h and can therefore easily be integrated into the mainline traffic flow. The Prima H4 dual-mode locomotive is powered by an electric drive system and two diesel generators. The two power generators, coupled with an automatic start-stop system, make it possible to achieve a 20% reduction in fuel consumption compared with a single engine diesel locomotive.


Closed diesel particle filter

Zeppelin Power Systems worked with Alstom to design the power pack specifically for Prima H4 locomotives. The fitted power packs each have a Cat C18 diesel engine with a capacity of 522 kW, and include a cooling system, preheating systems, and a traction generator that is also provided. Two power packs have been installed on each Prima H4 locomotive. The power pack meets all customer requirements such as compliance with safety standards relating to the rail sector.

“The power packs comply with the EU exhaust emissions stage IIIB, F-cycle, with a closed diesel particle filter system (DPF),” explained Thorsten Meyer, Sales Manager at Zeppelin Power Systems. “The Caterpillar DPF exhaust after-treatment system that has been fitted complies with the strict requirements of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (Bundesamt für Umwelt, BAFU). This ministry requires a closed DPF to be used in tunnels to protect staff from fine particles whilst they are working. The DPF system is also fully integrated into the engine control. For easier operation and maintenance, the driver can see a digital reading of the loading and operating status of the DPF in the driver’s cab.”

The SBB will use the locomotives, which have a total order value of €175 million, on the railway network and for shunting in the marshalling yards at Lausanne, Triage and Limmattal. The locomotives will be built at Alstom’s plant in Belfort, France, and are expected to be ready for operation in 2018.