Chapter: Civil : Railway Airport Harbour Engineering

Diesel Traction

This alternative form of motive power was invented by a certain Doctor Diesel of Berlin in about 1893. There are specific technical problems associated with applying diesel power to railways.

Diesel Traction

This alternative form of motive power was invented by a certain Doctor Diesel of Berlin in about 1893. There are specific technical problems associated with applying diesel power to railways. These mainly relate to the fact that the engine must be turning even when the locomotive is stationary, unlike the steam engine which has latent power provided the head of steam is up. In road vehicles this can be overcome by the familiar mechanical device of introducing a clutch and gearbox. This works well for vehicles of moderate horsepower but is unsatisfactory for more powerful engines. Because of this drawback, the diesel engine was relatively late in coming to the railway scene. It was not until the 1930's and later that t began to be taken seriously and only in the traction finally ousted steam in most parts of the developed world.

 

Two main methods of coupling the diesel engines to the driving wheels were evolved and still remain today. The first involved hydraulic drive which had modest success. Most of this type of locomotive originated from Germany and many are still running today.

 

Without doubt however, the standard diesel locomotive today throughout the world is the diesel-electric. One could describe this as an electric locomotive with its own on-board diesel generator power station.

The solution of the drive problem is complicated and therefore expensive. As a very rough indication of this, the first cost of a diesel locomotive

 

is about three times the cost of a steam locomotive of similar power. However the real savings come to-life'lightcostswhen consider involved in running and maintaining steam versus diesel.

 

In particular, steam requires many man-hours each day before and after working to get up the fire and rake out the ashes etc. The diesel locomotive has immediate push button power and has a much lower requirement for ?down-time'   for   regular   maintenance.

 

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Civil : Railway Airport Harbour Engineering : Diesel Traction |


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