Thursday, October 20, 2011

VIA Rail's Winnipeg Maintenance Centre Part 3

Diesel engine in VIA 6429

After viewing the interior of the VIA Rail Winnipeg Maintenance Centre, and looking at the changes to the exterior of VIA 6429, we went inside the unit to see its interior. I've been in a few cabs but I had never been in the engine compartment of an F40PH-2 before.

The big blue diesel engine aka "prime mover" dominates the compartment. That baby is a General Motors 16 cylinder 645E3C, delivering 3,000 horsepower to the traction motors. Most people know that the vast majority of "diesel engines" are actually diesel-electric engines, with a diesel engine driving an alternator or generator to produce electricity for the electric traction motors that drive the wheels. The F40PH-2 is no different. The 645 engine drives a generator that produces DC current to supply the traction motors powering all eight wheels.

The engine also drives a smaller alternator to provide 500 kW of Head End Power (HEP) at 480V for use by the passenger cars it is pulling. This is how the original VIA F40PH-2 engines provided power for the cars.

The rebuilds have included a separate diesel engine that provides HEP independent of the prime mover. Canadian Allied Diesel (CAD) is the prime contractor for the F40 rebuilds, and they subcontracted the HEP engine to Hewitt Equipment Ltd. Hewitt supplied a Caterpillar "genset" on a skid, basically a diesel engine combined with an alternator.  I'm told the genset is a Caterpillar C18 with a 6 cylinder engine running at 1800 RPM delivering 831 horsepower, and the genset delivers 500 kW of power.

With the Cat HEP unit, the main diesel engine can use all of its 3000 HP to move the train forward. As well, when the train is stopped, the Cat HEP can continue to run while the main engine idles, saving fuel. Previously the main engine had to be in "run 8" (full power) to provide head end power.

The HEP unit is mounted on a skid and is designed to be easily replaceable. There are doors at the rear of the engine that open, and after disconnecting a few cables and hoses, the entire unit can be slid out and replaced.

The cabinet below contains the "brains" of the genset and has local controls for the HEP power unit.
HEP control box in VIA 6429

Every engine has some kind of cooling system, and the F40 is no different. It is water cooled and below are some instructions on the cooling system. As well, there is a manual sight glass showing the level of water in the system.
Cooling System Instructions in VIA 6429

Another major part of the F40 refurbishment was the addition of a Hotstart unit. These are made by HOTSTART, Inc. formerly known as Kim Hotstart. In some sense a Hotstart unit serves the same purpose as the block heater in your car. The Hotstart unit keeps the engine coolant and lubricating oil warm and has its own pump and heaters to warm the fluids and keep them circulating. This allows the main engine to shut down during extended stops without any worry of the engine freezing up. If the Hotstart unit draws the batteries down too much, or it can't maintain the proper temperature, the main engine will be restarted.

This is a model DV3300-0904-X01 operating at 480V and 51A. It has a local Siemens TD200 control panel. This kind of stuff really interests me because this is the kind of work that my company does.
Hotstart in VIA 6429

After admiring all of this new equipment we moved into the cab... part 4.

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