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TERA1 – Russian-American project in two copies

TERA1 – Russian-American project in two copies
The decision to launch a joint project to build a diesel locomotive was made against the backdrop of the rise in Russian-American relations in 1998. This is a very difficult time for the Russian Federation and most industries were unable to begin independent development due to the sharp deterioration of the economic situation in the country. Creating your own locomotive model from scratch required money, and the use of foreign experience made it possible to at least slightly reduce costs.


By the end of the XNUMXth century, the fleet of diesel locomotives in the Russian Federation had become obsolete: new locomotives had not been produced for a good dozen years. Therefore, joint cooperation was to some extent forced. On the Russian side, the project was handled by the design bureau of the Lyudinovo plant (JSC LTZ), and on the American side by the General Motors company.

ТЭРА1 – российско-американский проект в двух экземплярахThe M62 freight locomotive was considered obsolete. Photo: YouTube.com

The new diesel locomotive was supposed to replace the M62, go into production and operate not only in Russia, the CIS countries, but also in Europe. The initial price of the car is 80 million rubles.

Structural features


The locomotive body with the drivers' cabin, instrumentation and pneumatic braking system were manufactured at the plant in Lyudinovo. The body is welded to the spar frame, forming a monolithic structure. The running bogies (two pieces on four axles) were borrowed from the TEM-7 diesel locomotive.

The chassis donor is TEM7. Photo: YouTube.com

General Motors, for its part, provided a diesel power plant, microprocessors for engine control (the EM2000 computer was used), traction transmission and auxiliary equipment. The result of a “two-pronged effort” was a single-section locomotive with sixteen wheels and electric transmission.

Power and traction units


The first is a two-stroke (!) turbocharged internal combustion engine type 16-710G3B. The AR11/CA6A traction unit is connected to it through a special flange. It includes several mechanisms: the main AR11WBA generator with a rectifier and an auxiliary one.

One of the features of TERA1 is the placement of an additional generator. It is located between the main voltage “supplier” and the engine. This simplifies the overall design and subsequent maintenance. Namely: the length of power cables is reduced, and the rectifier cooling system works more efficiently. In the Russian diesel locomotive industry, such a technical solution was not used at that time.

The diesel engine is started using a pair of electric starters connected in series. The power plant includes several systems:

✅ air cleaning – includes inertial and dry filters at the inlet to the turbine compressor
✅ fuel - consists of an electric pump that supplies fuel to the main line
✅ lubrication - has three pumps with filters, a separate pumping mechanism, pipelines
✅ cooling - with a pair of centrifugal pumping units, a water tank, two roof radiators, a double electric fan with shutters

Heaters and coolers are provided everywhere for stable operation at different times of the year. The exhaust system consists of an exhaust manifold with a muffler plus a turbine part of the compressor. The diesel locomotive also has an auxiliary unit CA6AS, which generates electrical energy for “intra-locomotive” needs.

Features of cooling and braking equipment


Inertia filters are primary. A special clean air compartment houses one double centrifugal fan, operating through a mechanical drive from an additional (intermediate) generator. The distribution of flows is carried out through special channels in the frame.

These are the diesel locomotives in the West that were equipped with diesel engines of type 16-710G3B. Photo: YouTube.com

The air pumped by one fan is supplied to the traction motors. Flows from the other are used to cool the main, auxiliary generator and rectifier. The braking system is divided into pneumatic (automatic stops the entire train, auxiliary - only the locomotive), manual and electrodynamic.

Electrical equipment and diesel control


The system for supplying a diesel locomotive with additional energy from the CA6AS generator is characterized by simplicity of implementation. There are no resistors for adjustments or other auxiliary equipment. Everything is “managed” by the computer.

EM2000 display. Photo: YouTube.com

It controls the start and stop of the engine, regulates the number of crankshaft revolutions, switches the main generator to optimal or maximum traction mode, as well as braking. Another “responsibilities” of the EM2000 include control over the cooling system. Some technical characteristics of TERA1:

✅ length, width and height – 21,5, 3,12 and 4,925 m, respectively
✅ power plant capacity – 4 thousand 165 “horses”
✅ smallest turning radius – 80 m
✅ track width - 1,52 m
✅ “cruising” speed – 100 km/h

But that’s not all: the computer can, if necessary, change the connection diagram of the rectifier bridges. This is necessary to weaken the excitation of the generator when accelerating. The bottom line is that the unit has a pair of windings (the connection type is “star”), each of which has its own “own” rectifier bridge. At low speeds and at low loads, they are connected in parallel and are therefore capable of providing current up to 8 kiloamperes.

In the driver's cabin TERA1. Photo: YouTube.com

With a series connection, this parameter doubles, which is necessary to increase the voltage on the electric motor and effectively accelerate the locomotive. Also, the computer “must” “monitor” the wheelsets so that they do not slip. And the final “duty” of the EM2000 is to protect locomotive systems and components from emergency situations, mainly associated with overloads.

Test


Primary testing was carried out at the testing ground of the Institute of Railway Engineering in Shcherbinka. Based on the results of the inspection, it was clear: the car complied with all the stated parameters.

In Shcherbinka. Photo: YouTube.com

The ease of engine control under different loads was especially noted. The second test stage took place in Siberia, at the famous BAM.

What prospects “threatened” TERA1?


After six months of operation of a pair of diesel locomotives on the Baikal-Amur Mainline, the opinion of the drivers was clear: the railway workers assured that forty similar locomotives would help solve all transportation problems.

In Siberia, the diesel locomotive was tested according to the “full program”. Photo: YouTube.com

There simply were no diesel locomotives of this class in the Russian Federation at that time. The Ministry of Railways hastily announced that by 2006 there would be at least a quarter of the country's entire railway fleet of such vehicles. And since 2007, the Ministry of Railways has recommended purchasing one hundred locomotives per year. Indeed, at the end of the 90s, TERA1 was the most powerful freight diesel locomotive in the Russian Federation, built on its territory.

The design, of course, is not very good, but then the main thing was power. Photo: YouTube.com

However, even in the 90s they thought about import substitution: the Kolomna Plant was offered to develop the same diesel engine as General Motors. However, diesel locomotive builders were realistic and noticed that this project required 20 million rubles. and three years, at least. In addition, other components were also required: that is, in order to build a completely Russian locomotive, then it was necessary to invest at least 150 million rubles in the project. On average, in 2000, a dollar cost 28 rubles, which means 5 million 357 thousand “green”. Or (in today's Russian money) - 476 million 857 thousand - a huge amount that there was nowhere to get.

The result?


The project was simply canceled due to its high cost: Russian Railways abandoned such “prospects”. What about diesel locomotives? It is known: one of them this year was located on the territory of a paint and varnish plant in Likino-Dulevo. There is no information about the fate of the second car: it is only known that it was seen in the Krasnodar Territory (2013) at the Zhelezny Rog station.

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Photos used: https://youtube.com

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