Colossal: World’s largest rack railway locomotive for Brazil
To climb the steepest section between the port of Santos and Sao Paulo, rail company MRS Logistica S.A. in the south-east of Brazil relies on Swiss quality. Stadler rail is building the seven largest rack railway locomotives in the world for the freight transport specialist; the locomotives are equipped with cables by HUBER+SUHNER.
Some 65% of Brazil’s freight is transported by MRS. This is mainly iron ore from the hinterland and finished steel goods which are produced in the large industrial complexes in the south-east of the country. The line to Santos, the largest port in South America, is therefore of great importance. The ten kilometre stretch from Raiz da Serra to Paranapiacaba is, however, a major challenge. It includes gradients in excess of 10% and climbs from sea level to 800 metres. Normal locomotives cannot climb this kind of gradient, especially not with the heavy cargos that need to be transported. Rack railway locomotives are the only solution. From 2013 onwards, MRS will be deploying seven new electric locomotives that are faster and can transport even heavier loads. With a length of almost 19 metres and a weight of 121 tonnes, they will be the biggest rack railway locomotives in the world.
Designed for extremes
The rack railway locomotives are being designed and built by Swiss train manufacturer Stadler. One locomotive can pull up to 425 tonnes, and two in series can manage twice that amount. They reach an uphill speed of up to 30 km/h. The position of the gear wheel can be adjusted to reflect the wear on the wheels. The new locomotives need to be designed for extremely tough operations; after all, they will be running 24 hours a day seven days a week. On top of this, the environmental conditions are demanding. For example, humidity can vary substantially because of the rain forest between the mountain and the valley station. Due to these stringent requirements, Stadler is equipping all seven locomotives with proven RADOX® rail cables by HUBER+SUHNER. Each locomotive will include some 20 kilometres of cable, from permanently moving RADOX JUMPER 3600V for the drive motor, through various control and data cables, to the familiar RADOX RAILCAT CAT5 databus cables. All RADOX rail cables are extremely robust, and perfectly suited for tough operations in Brazil.