Friday, October 21, 2011

VIA Rail's Winnipeg Maintenance Centre Part 4

Continuing on through VIA 6429 at the VIA Maintenance Centre... part 1, part 2part 3.

The cab itself is not greatly changed in layout. There is a third folding seat mounted on the back wall of the cab, and a microwave has been added behind the "conductor's" station. I put "conductor" in quotes because there is no conductor on VIA trains. Both head end crew are qualified engineers and usually take turns in the driver's seat. The Service Manager is responsible for looking after the passengers and stays in the passenger cars.

This is the breaker panel mounted on the wall behind the right seat. I did some primitive Photoshopping to brighten the left side enough so it can be read. The big knife switch on the left is the master power for the unit.
Breaker Panel in VIA 6429

Also on the back wall is the engine control panel (see below). The "big red switch" is the kill switch for the engine. Note the four switches fixed in one position.

On the right are the headlight controls. Each unit needs to be set up as a leading or trailing unit.
Engine Control Panel in VIA 6429

Here is the bearing monitoring system panel, made by Lanka Technologies.
Bearing Monitoring System in VIA 6429

Below is the panel to set up the head-end power (HEP). It includes the genset start/stop button.

There is a left and right side HEP cable that goes from the engine(s) back to the train consist. The rule of thumb is that you need one HEP unit for every 15 cars. For trains less than 15 cars long, one engine supplies both sides. The two dials at the bottom set up the left and right side HEP. In the photo I believe this engine is set up to provide HEP to both sides of the train.

Tommy did a valiant job of trying to explain HEP to me but I don't think I completely grasp it. As I said, there is a left and right hand cable going from the engine(s) to the first car in the consist. Each side powers a portion of the car (presumably one side per cable) and normally the cables cross over between cars. This means the right hand cable from the rear engine powers the right hand side of the baggage car but the left hand side of the coach behind it, and so on. There are control panels in each car that allow VIA crew to reconfigure the HEP in each car in case of failure. For example, if HEP fails on one side, they can flip sides to keep one side of the car powered, such as the kitchen in the diner car.
HEP Control Panel in VIA 6429

"Black boxes" were added to the engine during the rebuilding. These Train Trax units from Wabtec record all engine parameters. They do not record sound in the cab.
Event Recorder in VIA 6429

The rebuilt units have the Silent Witness video camera (V60BC5060), now owned by Honeywell Video. The video camera points out the front window and also records outside ambient noise such as the bell, horn, and crossing bells. The early rebuilds did not have them but I assume they will retrofit those.

Another major item installed during the rebuild is the Wabtec QES-III unit. This upgrade brings a host of new features to the F40, including improved performance, better adhesion control, individual traction motor cut-out, and more. There is a display in front of the engineer allowing control of many of these features.

This is the QES-III control unit.
Wabtec QES-III in VIA 6429

This is the unit, opened. I had to resist the temptation to poke around, again because this is the kind of stuff I enjoy working with.You can read more detail here.
Wabtec QES-III in VIA 6429

What else, what else... I mentioned the new microwave. The hot plate is still there on the left side console. In the short hood, accessible from the cab by a couple of steps down, is some storage space and of course the toilet.
Toilet in VIA 6429

That's the end of VIA 6429.

After that, we went outside the building to take a quick glance at VIA 6443 and then walk through the train ready to become the next VIA 693. We'll do that in part 5, and then wrap things up in part 6 with a few photos of the Northern Spirit cars.

Next - part 5

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