26.4.10

WHAT A PAIR OF E UNITS CAN DO. The latest issue of Railway, featuring the final twenty years of British Railways, includes a brief tribute to the extremely successful High Speed Trains, still going strong after thirty years of service. As built, these were a pair of 2250 hp power units, one at either end of an eight- or nine-car formations, with enough power to cruise at 140 mph (officially on test, unofficially until the Road Foreman and the Master Mechanic put some overspeed governors that would cut the trailing unit out). Some of the prime movers have been replaced, but the trains themselves continue to make the case on the Great Western and elsewhere in the United Kingdom that fast running need not require catenary and exotic tilting mechanisms.

In North America, the idea of putting a pair of souped-up Genesis diesels (perhaps with better lines) at either end of a ten car formation of double-deck California cars and giving the resulting train free rein to 110, or to 140, appeals. (Once upon a time, you would run a pair of E units around the train and you'd be limited to 117 for short times. The British concept with the power at each end goes one better.)

No comments: