Bi-mode multiple units

Metrolinx recently issued an RFI for future locomotives/rolling stock, and while including bi-mode (electric and diesel) locomotives, and electric MU’s (multiple units), it appeared to omit bi-mode MU’s.

Until now there has been little on offer anywhere in the world in the way of bi-mode MU’s. But that changed recently with the commencement of manufacture by Hitachi of a large order for IEP (Intercity Express Program) trains for the UK. These trains are being supplied as either electric or bi-mode.

One important characteristic of the IEP trains is that the two versions are identical except for the addition of diesel generators, which are placed in some of the cars of the bi-mode MU. The UK DfT (Dept for Transport) are purchasing both electric MU’s for use where there is power, and bi-mode MU’s for where there is no power.

The bi-mode MU’s are particularly well suited to routes where the power is available only part way, since the train runs in electric mode as far as it can, then diesel generators are started to continue into non electrified areas. If, over time, electrification is extended, and the diesel generators are not needed, they can simply be removed.

The UK trains are single level and diesel generators are under-floor, similar to UPX. In your case you would want bi-level cars to maintain the existing high capacity, such that the diesel generators would need to go over the wheels, or next to them in the space of a bathroom, and removable as a skid from the side of the car. In the UK case, most diesel generator maintenance is to be done by swapping them.

Based on my readings in the industry press, the UK DfT (department for transport) have spent considerable time and effort to develop a train best suited to their needs and a far cry from initial offerings from bidders. While your bidders might not take such developments seriously initially, do your due diligence, and with the prospect of a large order, suppliers could well do you proud.

A good article on the IEP is found in Modern Railways, a UK industry print journal, titled ‘IEP operations’ of February 2014, p44

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