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Contents

EfficiencyEdit

What's this talk under "efficiency"? If the locomotive is considered alone, electric engines would seem to be much more efficient than steam or diesel-electric engines. But the efficiency of the locomotive alone does not, in any way, determine the efficiency of the whole electric traction system. This is because the efficiencies of the power plant and transmission system are not taken into account. If these are considered, then electric engines would not seem to be much efficient. How can it possibly be true? I'll bet that a powerplant is much better at generating electricity then a diesel-engine mounted in a locomotive


The efficiency bit caught my eye too. I believe a large centralized powerplant (read: hydroelectric or nuclear plant) would be more efficient at producing electricity than an on-board diesel engine. However, grid power lines will introduce losses while distributing electricity from the centralized plants, and I'm guessing there will also be losses moving power from the third rail to the locomotive motors, which taken together might decrease the advantages of an electric-only locomotive. At least, that's how I read the section. It would be nice to see the statement quantified in some way.

I've eliminated most of the efficiency discussion. It was too

hypothetical. Mangoe 21:00, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

Direct or alternating currentEdit

"United Kingdom (750 V and 1500 V)" There were some 1500V DC overhead installations in the UK, but they have all disappeared. The current system in the UK is 750V DC (south of London and pockets elsewhere) or 25KV AC. TiffaF 15:02, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

Advantages / DisadvantagesEdit

"Overall, the flexibility of diesel locomotives and the relative inexpense of their infrastructure has led them to prevail except where legal or other operational constraints dictate the use of electricity. That said, new passenger service has tended to favor electric locomotives, because diesels are incapable of the speeds required in new service; and they remain the only choice for subway use."

This article appears too negative about electric locomotive. Maybe from a US-perspective with a lot of low-speed, low-intensity (in terms of trains per hour) services this is so. For high-capacity lines, either freight, local passenger services or high-speed passenger services, in Europe electric is usually chosen because it can provide high acceleration and heavy haul for freight. TiffaF 15:02, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

It's a reasonable criticism, and I'd change it except that I'm afraid of coming up with something that is too eurocentric by overcompensating. Is much of Africa electrified? I don't think so. How about China, or the Indian subcontinent?
In the case of the USA, it isn't low traffic density, but the distances which dominate the issue. As far as I know the only freight handled under wires in the USA in recent years was on captive systems like the Black Mesa and Lake Powell (which no longer operates).
Something ought to be said about how the European situation is different, but from what I can tell the worldwide situation tends to resemble the American situation. Mangoe 16:38, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
I've modified this to refer to NA practice only. The European situation still needs to be addressed. Mangoe 15:25, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Three phase ACEdit

There seems to be a bit of a problem here, which I've not had much luck working out through looking for references. "3 phase" seems to mean three things:

  • Supply of external polyphase power to the locomotive which uses it "as is".
  • Internal use of polyphase power by the motors, as converted from single phase supply power
  • The inaccurate but common US usage to mean the practice of getting 220V from two 110V sources joined over a single "neutral" line

The part about use of Three-phase AC induction motors is particularly problematic. I can't find references to defend this, not to mention the sales-pitchy use of "today's advanced", but in any case the article isn't clear about the use of inverters/etc.; there's too much jargon (particularly the word "commutation") and not enough explanation of what the differences are. I'm a bit wary of doing this myself because, as I said, I'm not finding good references. Mangoe 18:49, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

3-ph traction motors are the modern replacement for the traditional DC series wound motor. EMD have built AC traction Diesel-Electrics since the 90s, the europeans have been using this technology for years. Main advantages claimed are: less maintenance, no brushes, comms, flashovers, lighter. Single phase motors are generally only available in small sizes, therefore an AC traction motor is a 3-phase motor. External power supply could be either DC or single phase AC (but not 3-phase, there is only one catenary or third rail after all), it depends on what's available. The on-board inverter converts this supply to Variable Voltage, Variable Frequency (VVVF) 3-phase for the motor. Basically, the motor is supplied with low voltage/low frequency current at start, both increasing with speed. To suit the motor's requirements the ratio of volts to frequency remains constant. One ref to this topic is: [ http://www3.toshiba.co.jp/sic/english/railway/products/vehicle/mmotor_popup.htm] Suckindiesel 23:12, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Systemic biasEdit

I felt myself compelled to add the [[template:Globalize/USA]] markup after user:Mangoe continued to revert back my elimination of stuff which was clearly related to uninformative description of local US situation. He accused me of anti-Americanism, but it was not the case. I would have reverted in the same way any other uninformative and too loca-oriented examples coming from Burkina Faso, Norway, etc. Open to discussion. --Attilios 21:55, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Equating the railroad history of North America with that of Burkina Faso is tendentious in the extreme. Electric locomotives were pioneered in the USA; the history of their usage there is important without regard to European opinion or even practice. Yes, the article needs more European material, but removing American material instead is painfully WP:POV.
I'm going to leave [[template:Globalize/USA]] in, but only for lack of a less prejudiced template. Mangoe 02:28, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
I have added the markups also to Diesel locomotive. I agree with user:TiffaF about this article having too much a negative tone (an unexperience reader could even think that electric locomotives are backwards and diesel ones the state-of-the-art, when it is exactly the contrary). For example, why in Diesel locomotive do not appear Advantages/Disadvantages sections. I'd like to add them, but probably Mangoe will delete them under the charge of "Antiamericanism". Further, all these local examples about US stuff make this article really annoying for not American users. --Attilios 09:38, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
Well, you could with some justice add them to pretty much all the railroad technological articles. In some of them (e.g. railway signalling) we are finding it difficult to write an article that is even coherent, due to the extreme differences in practice.
The "Advantages/Disadvantages" section predates my involvement in the article; and what it said when I arrived was misleading and reflected your "electric locomotives are the greatest" perspective. In reality, electric locomotives are neither more nor less advanced than diesels; improvements in one tend to be reflected in the other. The infrastructure issue is non-trivial, and it has been determinative in America; I expect that it is determinative outside Europe as well, though I am not so bold as to put such an assertion in the article. Your annoyance at having to read about American practice doesn't move me; I have tried not to use such examples except where they are illuminative, and if you don't want to know about how us backwards Americans did it, then skip those parts.
The historical sections of the diesel article are sorely deficient. Again, the problem is that I can only fill in the USA part. If you can provide some early diesel history in Europe, then do so. The whole "advantages/disadvantages" section probably ought to be moved to the main locomotive (railroad) article, but that's not going to make the issues go away. Diesels are more flexible and require less infrastructure; electrics are more powerful and (potentially) pollute less, and are (potentially) more efficient. The modern situation reflects a balance of these aspects. Mangoe 11:00, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
Finally I read something reasoning from you. But still can't absolutely see how illuminating and what further infos provides the example about Amtrak trains in New Haven. It is already written that locos can change from the two types: these lines add nothing at all. Plase let me delete it. With "backward" I meant really inferior as per performances. Anyway, the railway articles here are really lacking. Good work! --Attilios 12:29, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
All of this material was in the article already. And as far as New Haven is concerned, eliminated the engine change was a major impetus behind the Northeast Corridor upgrade project. Yes, compromise locomotives like the FL9 have been designed, but they haven't proven to be a good enough solution to the changeover issue to have been repeated much. In fact, the FL9 was designed in light of the expectation that the caternary on that line would be deenergized, except for the last little bit in New York City. I think you are too focused on the hypothetical advantages and not enough on how these have played out in actual practice. That's where the examples come in. Mangoe 13:32, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
What I find odd: The Trans-Siberian railroad is electric. The Trans-Siberian railroad is 9,289 km (5,772 mi) long, equivalent to the distance from the US East coast to the West coast and back. Density of population in Siberia is 12 times less than in U.S. Why then does the US choose for diesel traction? Obviously it's not because of track length nor is it because of population density. Why? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 77.225.212.147 (talk) 14:08, 11 February 2012 (UTC)

Power TransmissionEdit

I am not sure what this has got to do with electric locomotives. This relates to the electrification system, which is a completely different subject. The interface between the locomotive and the contact system (overhead line or conductor rail) is all that this article should concern itself with. I strongly suggest that this section of the article be moved to the Railway electrification system page. ALECTRIC451 22:33, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

PoliticizationEdit

The article should be about electric locomotives, not operating practices, how country ABC does it on railroad XYZ or the presumed environmental friendliness of pure electric propulsion (which would obviously apply to subways, light rail, etc.). As for advantages or disadvantages, I seem to detect an inherent bias in what I have read. In the large scale model railroad world we call it "steam snobbery." All machines have pros and cons, and in the case of locomotives, one railway's pros are another railroad's cons. In other words, the advantages of one technology over the other matter only in the context in which the technology is considered. For example, the electric locomotive has zero advantages compared to steam or Diesel power in areas where there is no electricity. For that reason, I tend to feel that an advantages/disadvantages section may ultimately be of minimal value. Electric locomotives appeared before any internal combustion types, simply because electric motors as practical power sources capable of moving a vehicle as heavy as a locomotive predated internal combustion engines. Steam predated electric propulsion because it was the only means at the time to propel a train. So, does that make steam "better" than electricity or an electric unit better than its Diesel counterpart? I think not! BDD 00:05, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Pantograph to MotorEdit

Where should there be info about the part of the transmission that lies between the pantograph (or shoes) and the motor(s)? How is the current controlled and converted? What semiconductors and other choppers or switches or rheostats have been part of past designs and are part of more recent designs? How does this compare to electric transmissions in hybrid automobiles, boats, ships, submarines, switch engines used to haul ships through canals, etc.? Jack Waugh 22:27, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Current situationEdit

The "current situation" section was intended as a replacement for the general "advantages"/"disadvantages"-section, and not as an in-depth description of the developments in the various countries. I guess the title was a very bad choice. Anyway, I think the details about Australia belong to a specific article about electric traction in Australia, and not in this article. --Kabelleger 18:04, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. I have created a separate article for one of the locomotive classes and trimmed this article back to represent a discussion of the recent departure of the electric locomotive from areas of Australia, as well as its recent success in Queensland. Zzrbiker 03:16, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
I have changed the title to one that (hopefully) better represents the idea of that section. --[User:Kabelleger|Kabelleger]] 20:53, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

The following lines are not up-to-date, if not incorrect, at least for Japan: Africa, South America, Asia. The situation in these countries is similar to that in the US, thus electric >traction is not very widespread in most of these countries. Japan is the first country to implement high-speed (>200 km/h) electric trains in the world (Tokaido Shinkansen began its operation in 1964.) Most of the mainlines are electrified as well as public sector commutor lines of big cities. It is noteworthy that most (passenger) electric trains are emu's. Electric locos are used mainly for freight operations, but recentely emu freight trains began to operate. User: eltonjohn 9 May, 2007)

That's why the article says "most". Feel free to add a section about Japan with more details... --Kabelleger 10:02, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
My personal feeling is that this section is so generalised (eg describing the situation of multiple countries in Asia as being "similar to that in the US", but without any explanation/justification) it should probably be deleted until someone has something more factual to add. There's many countries in Asia that are engaging in widespread electrification projects (eg China, India, Korea to name but a few). Zzrbiker 03:16, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Ok I removed it entirely (better don't write anything than something wrong). I was under the impression that Japan was more or less the only country with widely electrified rail networks, which does not seem to be the case. --Kabelleger 20:47, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Its not my area of expertise at all but i know India has adopted it over a long period of time (there is quiet a good article on India). The problem is "Asia" is a very large (people, area and countries) at varying levels of development meaning catch all phrases are dangerously over simplistic. Pickle 17:09, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

Electric trainEdit

I prefer electric train title, where electric locomotive is a big and important section. --Mac 15:22, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

IIRC (see train), train refers to the whole formation, be it loco and carriages or multiple units (EMU/DMU, etc) or just a loco on its own. In this sense maybe "electric train" should be a disambig page overing EMUs and this page as choices. Pickle 18:59, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

Mostly Empty Locomotive Body?Edit

If the motors are mounted right by wheels, does that mean that the body of a typical electic locomotive is mostly an empty shell? Obviously there needs to be a control cab (but that's small, juding from what I've seen on passenger cars with a cab), and if dynamic breaking is used, the resistors need to be mounted somewhere, but what other parts are there? I imagine there might be transformers to convert the voltage from the overhead lines to what is needed by the motors and any passenger cars, and probably some equipment to supply braking energy to the cars.

I guess the related question is whether there's much equipment in an electic locomotive, or whether it would be easy to mount those parts on a passenger car with a cab to build an EMU. JNW2 16:11, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Regenerative BrakingEdit

The article mentions regenerative braking. I'm curious how common this is. The system that varies the power going into the traction motor might become more complicated if it needs to be able to function correctly in reverse; perhaps the article could explore that in more detail. JNW2 16:11, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

CharacteristicsEdit

In the second para, it is said "Also the power for electric locomotives can come from clean and renewable sources, including hydroelectric power, solar power, and wind turbines.". Solar power and power from wind turbines is intermittent. For example, solar power is only available when the sun is shining, and is therefore unsuitable for powering a train. Ccfn (talk) 02:59, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Noone says that wind or solar power *alone* are suitable to power trains. If there is not enough wind or sunshine, power can come e.g. from Pumped-storage hydroelectricity plants, which can store wind or solar energy, or from hydroelectric plants that provide electricity on demand. Moreover, if wind or solar power is distributed over a wider area, power generation becomes more and more constant overall. Thus, wind and solar power are very suitable for powering trains (or anything else). --Kabelleger (talk) 08:35, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

I am sorry to disagree with your words "very suitable". My thinking is wind and solar power are *very unsuitable* for powering trains, and anything else that requires a continuous and reliable supply. Wind power can be a supplement; solar power cannot. You are of course correct in mentioning pumped storage, but I wonder how many electrified railways have such a facility. Ccfn (talk) 10:15, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

At least in Europe, railway power grids are interconnected with public power grids (even if frequencies are different, in which case mechanical converters are used) and electricity is bought from and sometimes (especially here in Switzerland) even sold to the public power grid. So railway companies do not need to have their own pumped storage plants. Many railways don't even have any power plants themselves, so the problem of leveling out electricity production is shifted to public grids anyway. --Kabelleger (talk) 12:06, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Kálmán KandóEdit

Kálmán Kandó has two entries, one describing him as the father of the electric train in 1894 (or, as occasionally posted, 1884) and the other in the historical context of his first actual installation, in Italy 1n 1902. I have been removing the the father of the electric train post in favor of the chronological one, but in doing so am I underestimating his importance; does he deserve the two entries here? --Old Moonraker (talk) 14:19, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Reinstating this edit by User:Wongm at the "1902"====> / it doesn't matter/ sentence might work as a useful way forward. --Old Moonraker (talk) 15:47, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

The DC propulsions (wich were existed before his inventions) hadn't future. Fact: His inventions were the fundamentals of all latter electric locomitives. Previous clumsy technological attempts of other engineers hadn't future.

Hungarians invented the electric motor too in 1828. Look==> electric motor

  • Prompted by this unsigned rant, perhaps I should also mention that the posts, although creditable for a non-native speaker of English, don't have the fluency of the rest of the article. Attempts to improve them are reverted, e.g., User:Wongm's edit, as above. --Old Moonraker (talk) 15:44, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
"1894...simple transformer substations, directly the electricity from public networks". Leaving the syntax aside, I am unsighted with regard to public electricity supply networks in 1894, hence the {{cn}} tag. --Old Moonraker (talk) 22:50, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
I had a look in the Kálmán Kandó article to see if there were any valid references there that we can use. Yikes - there are citations for facts in the article, but when you go to the references section you find each one is a link to a JPG file, as in a photograph.
On balance, I'd have to say the assertions that Kálmán Kandó was the 'father of the electric train' are probably a little suspect. The same editor who claimed Hungarians invented the electric motor in 1828 chose to ignore the previous working examples devised by a British scientist in 1821, or note the fact that neither the British or Hungarian motors from the 1820s had any practical application and these motors weren't invented until the 1830s. So I'm a bit dubious about that editor's objectivity. Zzrbiker (talk) 08:45, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
Moonraker - You are entirely correct. In the reference http://www.omikk.bme.hu/archivum/angol/htm/kando_k.htm it is stated that Kando formulated this principle after 1915.
I just tried to be as delicate as possible in doing some clean-up without raising too much irritation of the kind of the unsigned rant above. I also wanted to add some clarifying details. I understand that the whole thing of using national power systems is related to Kando's use of AC motors instead of DC motors. With DC motors the only practical way was to use dedicated DC generators that supplied electricity directly to the electric railroad. By using three-phase AC motors power supply transformers from the electric grid could be used.
I have no idea how obvious that already was after 1915 and what is the point in emphasizing it. After 1915 it was certainly far more obvious to people involved in railroad electrification that the power must be taken from national power systems rather than dedicated rairoad power systems. On the other hand, it cannot be a huge problem, beacuse 3 kV and 1.5 kV DC systems are still in use, although they are considered obsolete technology.
I guess "father of the electric train" is what he is called in Hungary. By all means, he seems to have been an extremely talented engineer, but I too feel that it's a little bit exaggeration, thinking of e.g. Werner von Siemens and Frank J. Sprague. I'm not a Hungarian, nor a German or an American, so I feel I'm pretty neutral on this.
After your constructive comments, I think I dare to add the year 1915 and do some rework on the sentence in question.
BTW, English is not my mother tongue, so feel free to correct and stylize my english! 88.114.210.92 (talk) 10:34, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
I have found a ref which gives the date of adoption of Kando's "ingenious system" by the Hungarian State Railway as 1932, with the "successful" locomotives to his design giving "good service". The same work also offers an insight into the parallel development of AC and DC. To introduce a point of original research, which obviously will not be included in anything I may add to the article, yesterday I travelled to London, England, on a modern electric train running on 750V DC. --Old Moonraker (talk) 10:58, 6 December 2009 (UTC)


Only some rapid transit system operate with DC system. The so-called "Locomotives" are not metropolitan transit systems. The first AC locomotive was built by Kálmán Kandó in 1894. Why didn't somebody built AC locomotives before Kandó? Because it was not constructable. It contained more than 18 new patents and inventions which didn't exist before Kandó. The serials of this inventions made it possible to build AC locomotives. Ganz company was the master of AC electricty in XIX and early XX. century. Ganz company invented also the first real transformer ! Ganz invented also AC power distribution system and first AC electricity meter


I have edited the section concerning Valtellina railway and Kalman Kando's contribution to it. I have removed the erroneous statements that the Valtellina railway and locomotives were "a system from Westinghouse" and "supplied by Westinghouse". This is an understandable misconception, because the history in reality goes like this:

Kando graduated from the faculty of mechanical engineering at the technical university of Budapest in 1892. He joined in 1893 the "Paris Compagnie de Fives" in Lille, France, where he worked in the electro-technical division designing induction motors. The company was not owned by Westinghouse nor had anything to do with Westinghouse Electric. Kando returned to Budapest to work at Ganz Electric Works in 1894, where he stayed until 1906.

The Valtellina railway (1902) did not use any designs by Westinghouse.

Because of the success of the Valtellina railway, Italian government supported the founding of Societa Italiana Westinghouse with American capital in 1905, and Kando was invited to undertake the management of this company. The company bought Kando's patents. While there, from 1907 to 1915, Kando led the development of several Italian electric locomotives.

Kando was not employed by Westinghouse previously.

So it is not correct to state that Kando used "system by Westinghouse", when it actually was the other way round!

After 1917, Kando worked as a consultant for Westinghouse Electric and spent some time at Westinghouse in the USA. Later he served as the managing director of Ganz Electric Works, where he developed the electro-mechanical converter, allowing the use of three-phase motors powered from single-phase alternating current, thus eliminating the need for two overhead conductor wires.

BTW, I do not buy the Hungarian version of the story that Kando is "the father of the electric train" because there are certainly several fathers for the electric train, but definitely he is one of them!88.114.213.239 (talk) 16:32, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

[Cross post] I have just re-instated the reference, because deleting ones which don't fit an editor's conception of an an article is wrong, but perhaps previous attempts to change this article to a Kalman Kando fansite have made me a little sensitive. The existing ref specifically mentions that the loco in the picture came from Westinghouse. However, the extra detail you have found, if referenced, could find a place, perhaps in the text rather than the caption. --Old Moonraker (talk) 16:46, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
I know what you mean, I share your feelings. I'm certainly not a Kando fan, just a railway fan! Unfortunately I don't have Duffy's book in hand so I don't know what is written there, but finding the biographical details of Kando (from the web) I have the feeling that it is possible that either #1 The loco in the picture is built later (and therefore indeed by Societa Italiana Westinghouse) and is not one of the original locos, or #2 Duffy has made an error (because he has learnt that Kando was employed by Westinghouse, albeit later, and that Kando's later Italian loco designs are rightfully attributed to Westinghouse). I'll see what other refs I can find (other than websites). 88.114.213.239 (talk) 17:21, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Other references would be welcome: Duffy rattles over the developments and he isn't specific with regard to dates. The Valtellina Line loco illustrated was snapped in 1902 and described as "world's first AC locomotive (Power: 3 phase AC, 3600 V )", which fits, but it seems to be eight-coupled and Duffy says that they were ten-coupled. I look forward to a definitive answer!--Old Moonraker (talk) 17:43, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Here I have a ref:

http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locomotiva_FS_E.430 It is exactly the loco we are talking about. It states unequivocally that it is manufactured in Hungary in 1900 by Ganz (electrical parts) and Mavag (Royal Hungarian state mechanical works) (mechanical parts). No mention whatsoever of Westinghouse. So it is quite obvious that Duffy has it wrong. Here: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locomotiva_FS_E.550 is a later design from 1906 that is manufactured by Societa Italiana Westinghouse, as can be expected from the history that we know. Here: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locomotiva_FS_E.380 is another constructed by Ganz in 1905, before the Westinghouse era. Here: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locomotiva_FS_E.330 ia a much later one (1912) by Societa Italiana Westinghouse, presumably also developed under the direction of Kando. IMO, it has simply escaped Duffy's attention that the earliest Italian electric locos were not manufactured by Societa Italiana Westinghouse.

Here is another interesting story: http://www.ilmondodeitreni.it/trifase_parte_1.htm (sorry, also in Italian). I don't speak Italian either, but the railway facts can be understood without too much pain :) Here is a biography from Hungary, but seems not to be overly partial: http://www.omikk.bme.hu/archivum/angol/htm/kando_k.htm 88.114.213.239 (talk) 18:28, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

I want to take a back seat on this to get a wider editorial viewpoint, but I hope we don't get too bogged down in detail: this section is already pretty big and KK has his own article. Apart from that, go for it! --Old Moonraker (talk) 18:43, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks :) 88.114.213.239 (talk) 18:56, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

New level-3 header "Electric traction in suburban and metropolitan transit systems"Edit

The first sentence in this newly labelled paragraph is: "The first known electric locomotive was built by"... etc. Seems contradictory, given that RT systems aren't usually loco-hauled. Proposing a revert. --Old Moonraker (talk) 17:26, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

There's definitely a shift from DC to AC but the implicit assertion that DC was basically for transit systems isn't true, as the text indicates. Mangoe (talk) 18:09, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the fix. --Old Moonraker (talk) 20:45, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

There are not DC LocomotivesEdit

DC traction means only suburban and metropolitan trains. The real so-called locomotives which are not local but long-distance trains are always AC tractions. Some modern locomotives ( like TGV) have very serious AC/DC converters and phase conventers, therefore the most modern trains can use DC, but O N L Y when they entered the suburban area

First of all, Stubes99, sign your messages. Second, I can see for myself that (for example) all Italian passenger service from the 1930s on, at least, is DC-powered. Your absolute statements simply aren't correct. Mangoe (talk) 19:57, 11 May 2010 (UTC)


Mangoe, Have you ever been in Italy? I've been 8 times in Italy. Your statement sounds irrealistic. However, I've many Italian friends. I will ask them about it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Stubes99 (talkcontribs) 09:23, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Discovery channel claims 1829 as a firstEdit

A Discovery channel program "Massive machines" with a Chris. Claims the first electric train In Switzerland was built and run in 1829. Being able to run at 6 km/h with passengers facing the side of the train (b/w photo was shown). The reason for electric power was coal demand, and a surplus of high mountains and water = hydropower. Electron9 (talk) 01:46, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

History of rail transport in Switzerland claims that the first railways in the country were built in the 1844-45 era, so I think a prior claim is dubious. Mangoe (talk) 15:41, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

Battery locomotiveEdit

I find it odd that Battery locomotive is a section of Electric locomotive, but then again, I notice that Electric Vehicle includes both rail and non-railed vehicles (ie buses and cars). I may be wrong, but I have always associated electric locomotives with an electrified railway, whereas non-railed electric vehicles are powered by batteries (or capacitors); I have never thought of a trolleybus as an electric bus, because the latter traditionally ran soley off batteries (unlike more modern hybrids). I also note that whilst the electric bus article includes trolleybus as a non-autonomous electric bus, it then just occasionally refers to the trolleybus article.

Just to complicate matters further the Electric Vehicle article says it is also referred to as an electric drive vehicle, and specifically includes onboard generation, as in a diesel-electric locomotive or most electro-diesel locomotives. I think that approach is wrong, and just leads to a messy article with much information that should be hived off into separate more specific articles, as with electric bus vs trolleybus and electric locomotive vs diesel-electric locomotive.

So, should there be a separate battery locomotive (akabattery-electric locomotive) article as with buses, or should the information be kept here, with the current redirects onto this section, on the basis that it's still an electric locomotive? Tim PF (talk) 17:09, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Accumulator railcars and battery locomotivesEdit

Is a battery locomotive the same as an accumulator railcar? If so, we should consider harmonising the separate article on the latter with the section here about the former. Perhaps accumulator railcar should be the main article and mention battery locos, and the section here could be a brief summary of both with a link to the main article. Bermicourt (talk) 09:20, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

They're about as close as locomotive and railcar are. If we wouldn't merge those two, then we shouldn't merge these. Andy Dingley (talk) 09:31, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
I note that accumulator railcar has a short "Accumulator locomotives" section which refers back to battery locomotive (ie the section within electric locomotive). To my mind, this is a similar situation to that of the electro-diesel locomotive article, which has included multiple units for a long time, but there was no real consensus 5 months ago for either a rename or an article split.
In this instance, I think that the battery / accumulator power source is more of a common factor than the vehicle type (as with electro-diesels), but I'm not sure that either battery train or accumulator train would be suitable titles. Tim PF (talk) 11:52, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
Some locomotives have a different operating pattern to railcars: rather than trips between stations, these locomotives are specialised for either shunting, underground working, or some other specialist use where their lack of exhaust, ignition sources or even vibration is important. This was the opportunity that allowed the first battery locomotives, as they were specialised for this; even though they weren't capable of any useful distance for passenger hauling, a necessity for railcars. The Dover harbour railcars would be an example of this.
I'm unfamiliar with battery railcars: I don't know when they appeared and how successful they were. If just one or two were tried (BR's experiments), then they might just be a para under battery locomotives. However if whole classes, to production numbers, went into revenue service and did useful work (or even failed to!) then they would warrant their own article. As Germany seems to have operated them in some numbers, I'd support this. Andy Dingley (talk) 12:46, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
Two additional complications are the Battery-electric locomotive (or even Battery-electro-diesel locomotives such as GE three-power boxcab), which were able to operate on un-electrified sidings where smoke was banned (eg in New York City), but could also operate as a normal electric locomotive, and the Hybrid train which uses batteries for different reasons. Tim PF (talk) 16:56, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
These were a fairly common type, amongst battery locos at least - the class 419 railcars for Dover harbour, and also some battery-electric locomotives for London Underground were of this type. There was also the Sentinel gyro loco, that used a gyroscope for short-term energy storage and "refuelled" at lineside charging points. Andy Dingley (talk) 17:21, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

Image of EMUEdit

The caption and title of this image suggests that these are the controls of an electric locomotive, but there is also a link to an external view here—it's an EMU. I suppose we should take it out, for accuracy. Views? --Old Moonraker (talk) 05:23, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

I would have no problem in leaving it. I would certainly leave it unless we have a better image that's from a "canonical electric locomotive". This is not only an EMU, it's a narrow-gauge EMU, it's a Swiss EMU and (like any image) it illustrates the technology of a particular decade. Either of those make just as much difference to the cab image as being a MU/locomotive does. It's a fair illustrative image of electric traction in general - any other image would be equally subjective, just in a different way. Andy Dingley (talk) 09:35, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
OK, but let's remove "locomotive" from the caption. What about the rather fuzzy "unit" instead? Any other suggestions for wording? --Old Moonraker (talk) 21:21, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
Removing locomotive is fine by me, as it's inaccurate. I'd call it a motorcoach, because that's what it is and how it's described at Luzern–Stans–Engelberg-Bahn. It's not a "unit" because it's a rack railway and so I doubt very much if this train can have its components easily uncoupled and re-arranged. Usually the bottom vehicle on a rack is the specialised power & brake car and the top vehicle is a driving trailer. They might not (although I don't think this applies here) even be built on the level, so even the trailer coaches can only be used one way round. Andy Dingley (talk) 21:39, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
Switched to a picture found on the Russian Wikipedia article. It looks pretty "canonical" to me! --Old Moonraker (talk) 09:21, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

What Duffy actually saysEdit

One can read the passages cited from Duffy online, and the quite clearly do not support any priority claims for Kando other than the use of single-phase transmission to three-phase motors. On p. 116: "The first railway to use three-phase supply and three-phase induction motors was the Lugarno tramway, on which Brown installed a 40 Hz system in 1896." Kando's system is shown as not being put into action until three years later. At the very least, Duffy does not say that Kando was first at AC traction. Mangoe (talk) 17:56, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

Tagged {{failed verification}}. --Old Moonraker (talk) 12:21, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Sorry boy, but it is not true. In 1894, Hungarian engineer Kálmán Kandó developed high-voltage three-phase AC motors and generators for electric locomotives. The design and patents was sold to many countries (for example: Italy Germany) in the same year. Lugano tram is a wrong example against Kandó, because its engineers used the Kando's early patented system for AC traction --Treblers (talk) 10:03, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

'Electric locomotive' vs electric engine and other terms.Edit

I'm 99% sure that the term 'electric locomotive' is virtually unheard of outside North America, or perhaps is used in only a few countries. The term is more usually 'electric railway engine' or 'electric engine' or 'electric train' in the UK and at least India. The relatively clumsy term 'locomotive' is, in my experience, never, ever used outside NA. I did some quick googling, and that seemed to be the way they are described.GliderMaven (talk) 17:12, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

Nonsense (and I'm in the UK). 'Locomotive' is very widely used, although 'engine' and to a lesser extent (applied to EMUs rather than locomotive) 'train' are pretty widely used too, although they offend the cognoscenti.
The one variant I really couldn't support is 'engine' being a synonym for 'motor', in the context of electricity. These are synonymous for prime movers such as IC engines, but semantically distinct for rockets, somewhat so for steam and just never used for electricity. 'Electric engine' isn't used because a motor is not a prime mover. Andy Dingley (talk) 17:32, 16 September 2013 (UTC)
I'm English. GliderMaven is welcome to come to an upcoming Meetup, and afterward check my library of several hundred railway books, where the term "electric engine" in the context of railway vehicles is rare to the point of absence (except possibly in something written for the under-5s where they purposely omit words of more than one syllable). But you will find it in some old electrical engineering textbooks as a synonym for "electric motor". --Redrose64 (talk) 18:00, 16 September 2013 (UTC)
I've never heard of "electric engine" before.
GliderMaven might like to try Railway Gazette, which is UK-based; searching their archives yields zero results for for "electric railway engine", three false-positives for "electric engine" (two are due to powerplants made by English Electric), 57 for "electric train" (including EMUs &c) and 410 for "electric locomotive". bobrayner (talk) 10:39, 17 September 2013 (UTC)
As I have been reminded, it is for the person making an edit to provide a reference as per WP:BURDEN. Bhtpbank (talk) 12:13, 17 September 2013 (UTC)
I´m a bit late to the party, but e.g. in Germany the correct term is "Elektrolokomotive", a common (ultra-)short form is "E-Lok". We would never ever use terms like 'Elektrische Eisenbahnmaschine', 'Elektrische Maschine' or 'Elektrozug'. regards, 82.113.99.171 (talk) 13:54, 14 September 2015 (UTC)

SQM Boxcabs 289AEdit

SQM operates probably some of the world's oldest (built around 1927) electric locomotives still in regular service, and much of the infrastructure is about the same age, in particular the overhead line. Might be an interesting addition to the article, but I'm not sure if it fits and where to put it, since the article seems a bit over-illustrated already. If desired I can also provide other pictures. --Kabelleger (talk) 21:27, 24 September 2013 (UTC)

Fabulous pictures, and a great story. If that does not demonstrate the advantages of electric traction over all other forms, then I'll eat my hat. And there I was thinking that the GG1's had lasted a long time. Bhtpbank (talk) 22:13, 24 September 2013 (UTC)

Could split out History section into its own articleEdit

since it and the rest of the article are large. But what to call it ? History of electric railways seems better than History of electric locomotives since the locomotives depend on the electric generators (stationary or on-board)? - Rod57 (talk) 10:27, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

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