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The Warsaw Voice » The Polish Science Voice » December 21, 2012
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Innovative Locomotive
December 21, 2012   
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An innovative Gama Marathon locomotive manufactured by the PESA company from the city of Bydgoszcz aroused much interest at the world’s largest trade fair for rail vehicles, InnoTrans in Berlin, in October 2012.

The versatile locomotive is one of the first rail vehicles of its kind in the world that combines a set of electric motors powered with a current of 3 kV DC and a diesel engine. The latter allows the locomotive to travel in areas where there is no electric traction, such as seaports and depots. Up to now, freight train cars were directed to railway sidings, and from there they were pulled to the final destination by a diesel locomotive.

The locomotive is called Marathon to refer to the new options afforded by the additional diesel engine. Using this engine the locomotive can travel over a distance of around 40 km, and a marathon race is 42.195 km long.

The originator and co-designer of the locomotive is the TABOR Rail Vehicles Institute in Poznań. The first locomotive was developed in collaboration with rolling stock manufacturer PESA Bydgoszcz SA where the project leader was Andrzej Karwasz.

The total cost of the project was zl.27.5 million. The National Center for Research and Development provided around zl.8.6 million in co-financing. Experts reviewing the co-financing application rated the project highly, especially its modern solutions and efficiency, compared with rival locomotives from producers abroad.

Up to now, locomotives with such parameters could only be bought from internationally renowned companies such as Siemens and Bombardier. The innovative Polish locomotive not only matches the most modern machines produced by leading manufacturers in terms of technical characteristics, but it surpasses them in terms of driver’s cab equipment. It even comes complete with a toilet.

The price of the Polish locomotive will be competitive in Europe, which should help win orders at home and abroad.

In terms of style, the Gama Marathon refers to the Link diesel train designed by PESA Bydgoszcz and also exhibited at the fair in Berlin.

The Marathon was built to meet the expectations of its future users in Poland. For this reason, the design solutions used take into account the specific conditions of the Polish railway infrastructure and the traction network.

The Marathon locomotive is an electric rail vehicle, with four axles and a capacity of 5,600 kW. The locomotive is designed to pull freight and passenger trains at speeds of up to 140 kph and 190 kph respectively.

The objectives of the project provide for a modular design that allows for the development of a whole range of locomotives with various design and operational parameters, adapted to pull both freight and passenger trains.

The locomotive’s body is made of steel with high mechanical strength. The sides and roof are made from light alloys and are designed for easy disassembly. Special crumple zones increase safety.

The locomotive is equipped with an electronic anti-skid system that works independently on each axle. This prevents excessive sliding when starting and braking.

When designing the cab, the designers consulted engineers, who provided feedback important for the driver’s safety and comfort.

The first locomotive is being tested on lines operated by Polish rail carrier PKP/PLK at speeds reaching 176 kph. The machine’s components are being tested for safe operation and whether or not they meet the requirements of international standards. The tests cover the propulsion system, brakes, and rail traffic control equipment.

PESA is Poland’s largest manufacturer of rolling stock that is increasingly successful on both the Polish market and abroad. Its vehicles are designed by a team of nearly 200 engineers at the company’s research and development department.

PESA’s products—which include the Link diesel train, new-generation ATR220 diesel trains, and Swing trams plying the streets of Warsaw—feature many modern solutions, such as energy-efficient motors and interior monitoring systems. They are friendly to disabled users and have safety features that meet the latest crash safety standards.

PESA’s vehicles are used in Italy, the Czech Republic, Romania, Kazakhstan, Hungary, Lithuania, Ukraine and Belarus. The Bydgoszcz company recently signed a record 1.2 billion euro contract for the supply of rolling stock for Deutsche Bahn Regio AG, and earlier it signed a contract for the delivery of 12 Link units with another German carrier, Regentalbahn AG.
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