Thursday, October 20, 2011

VIA Rail's Winnipeg Maintenance Centre Part 2

VIA 6429 in Winnipeg

First off, welcome to the new followers that joined in the past week! Also, thank you for the nice comments on part 1 of this series.

In this part I will talk about VIA 6429. As I said in part 1, I had the opportunity to tour VIA Rail's Winnipeg Maintenance Centre. After walking around the inside of the building, we went inside VIA 6429 to take a look inside at the improvements made in its recent refurbishment.

VIA Rail's F40PH-2 engines are all being rebuilt to extend their life and make them more fuel-efficient. You can read VIA's statement on the rebuilds here. Their new model number is GPA-30H, replacing the three series GPA-30A through C. The engines are totally stripped and rebuilt, so there are a lot of changes and improvements. The major changes include:
We started with the outside. The most obvious change, of course, is the new paint scheme. I've featured that enough on my blog already!

The new units all have a third Xenon headlight mounted under the original two. This headlight was tested on VIA 6420 among others. Tommy told me that it really cuts through fog and mist, and also improves the train's visibility to motorists.
VIA 6429's nose

You might notice some extra stuff on the roof too. Here's a closeup of VIA 6449's roof.
VIA 6449 roof

Emergency horns have been added on both sides of the roof. These are in addition to the regular horn, which is still well back of the cab on the roof. The emergency horns are considerably louder than the regular horns and are intended to be used for... well, emergencies. I can imagine they are quite loud to the engineers sitting right underneath them.

There's a light on the roof between the two emergency horns. On many locomotives this indicates that the engine is a remote control unit, but that is not the case here. When flashing, it indicates that the engine has been manually shut down and the Hotstart unit will not monitor the unit. It is intended to warn crews and maintenance people that the Hotstart microprocessor is not going to keep the unit warm and charged.

Now let's look at the rear of the engine.
VIA 6429 roof

The HEP generator is in the very back of the engine, so there is a little "hump" at the back of the hood, with its own cooling fans. The dynamic brake grids are on the side of the engine, in the bottom right of the photo above.
Rear of VIA 6429

The original F40PH-2 engines had one rear headlight in the top centre, but the refurbished engines have one off to the side.

The speedometer used to be mounted on the lead axle of the unit, but it was found that this was the most common wheel to slip. As part of the rebuild, the sensor has been moved to the second axle. It's a small change but it shows the level of thought put into the rebuild project.

In part 3 we will go inside the engine and have a look at the new HEP generator, Hotstart unit, QES-III unit and other cab improvements.

EDIT: Corrected the meaning of the light on the roof - thanks Tommy!

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