Locomotive power

When it comes to reliable engine power, you can't afford to compromise. You need proven power. Caterpillar understands how important your rail power needs are. That's why we design rail engines for superior reliability. That's why every Cat engine is built to last.

Caterpillar® is one of the world's leading manufacturer of diesel and spark ignited engines for a wide range of applications. With the acquisition of Perkins Engines completed in 1998 and MaK in 1997, Caterpillar manufacturers offer a range of engines from 3.7 to 15,000 kW (5 to 20,100 hp) at plants in the USA, Europe, India and Japan.

Caterpillar has been a supplier of diesel engine power to the rail industry since the mid-1930's. All engines are well suited in size, power and performance for locomotive traction engines. 3500 Family engines power hundreds of mainline and switcher locomotives worldwide. C15, C18, C27 and 3400 Family engine-powered generator sets provide Head End Power (HEP) in passenger locomotives. Afull range of Cat engines can also be found in maintenance-of way equipment. Cat quite new C175 ACERT engine is building a reputation also.

3400 Series engines:

The 3400 Family engine is used to power diesel electric (DE) and diesel hydraulic (DH) shunting locomotives. They are available with mechanical or electronic fuel injection systems and ratings up to 783 kW (1050 hp) at 2100 rev/min. Currently these engines are being sold into traction, electric power generation and Maintenance-of-Way applications and offer a wide range of options. 3400 generator set engines provides 50 and 60 Hz Head End Power (HEP) in passenger locomotives and power wagons. The 3412 engine is a standard offering in passenger locomotives for North America.

3500 Series engines:

The 3500 Family engine is used to power diesel electric and diesel hydraulic shunting locomotives. The largest users are located in Zimbabwe, Austria, Germany, Canada and USA. In year 2000, the range of power ratings for the fully electronic 3500B was further expanded. They continue to offer reduced fuel consumption, reduced emissions and system diagnostics. 3500B engines are currently in operation with German Railways (DB). Spanish Railways (FEVE), Romanian Railways (SNCFR) and China (MOR). Additional units are on order for serveral customers in Europe, Asia and Carribean. High speed versions of the 3500B engine, packaged with a 2-bearing traction alternator and dual auxiliary alternator on an integral welded base, provide a solution to completely replacing old and inefective equipment. The unique 4-point, rybber isolated mounting system can be installed in many existing carbodies. Caterpillar insures that each package meets published performance by controlling the design, build and testing of the complete package. Sunting locomotives can be powered by 3512B and 3516B engines.

Low and high speed 3500 Family engines offer a practical way to repower old locomotives. This the case of Lithuanian railways, which repowered the most part of its locomotive yard. It now has 34 locomotives with 3512B DITA engines.

Diesel Electric application

Diesel Electric applications use a diesel engine to drive an electric generator/alternator. The generator coverts the engine's mechanical energy to electrical energy. The electrical energy is then sent to the traction motors which propel the locomotive or rail vehicle.

There are 2 basic electric drive systems:

  1. Direct current
  2. Alternating current.

AC traction systems owe their success to the development of microprocessor controls and power electronics. However, superior performance comes with increased cost.