Bombardier TRAXX AC3

In 2011 Bombardier presented a new member of its TRAXX family; the AC3. This machine was the successor of the successful AC2, better known as Baureihe 185.2. Duration power is again 5.6 MW, its traction effort 300 kN. Top speeds of 140 – 200 kph are possible.

The layout of the current Traxx MS(2e) (a.k.a. Baureihe 186) served as the basis for the AC3 – now having an engine room component lay out with an U-shaped gangway. With the AC3 a new TCMS was introduced focusing on dewiring the safety and operational functions in the locomotive control software.

The construction of the longitudinal bars of the TRAXX AC3 body is different compared to older models – more practical and easier to built. For the AC3 Bombardier decided to use a different side panel construction method, no smooth outer layer, but ribs – again simple, but not the most aesthetically pleasing solution. At that time, Bombardier expected that it customers would opt for the also new ‘Flex Panel’ which would cover these ribbed sides using an ingenious system of springs.

The Flex Panel is a flexible canvas – an idea that came from the truck and trailer market. It should offer a cheaper and more flexible way of applying your own branding to the locomotive – The base material was relatively cheap, it could be done within two hours and one didn’t need a dry shed anymore. The base paint stayed untouched. However, if desired, Bombardier could also install in a hard panel, or even no panel at all. No problem for the driving conditions of the locomotive.

Visually, and the most remarkable change, was the introduction of a new cabin module – New double-curved shapes gave the new AC3 a more dynamic, rounded design, made possible by installing RCF mask over the steel body construction.

With the AC3, Bombardier added its ‘accolade shape’ to the TRAXX, a style element used frequently in its corporate identity at that time, and also present in the Zefiro 380 high speed train design for example (often in red). The Bombardier autograph.

Design agency PanikRuhdorfer was consulted during the design of the new Traxx identity. If a customer ordered more than 50 units, they can change the design of the GFK-module if they wanted…

the ‘Last Mile’ diesel

The first AC3 locomotives featured the new ‘Last Mile’ diesel shunting module (LM). It comprises of a small diesel engine with 240 kW (Deutz 2013 BR-4V), a battery pack and a full shunting package including a remote control.

With the Last Mile it is possible o bridge the gap between place of arrival and a multi-modal freight terminal for example, or a the shunt yard, the harbor network or the customer’s factory site. Often short distances (therefore the ‘last or first mile’) with no overhead wire and often the exclusive domain of diesel shunters.

The LM was a market-driven innovation, aiming at open access freight operators that were looking for a more efficient, cheaper transport solution, and that didn’t want to be dependent on other operators when in need of a shunting locomotive.

There was space available in the engine room of the TRAXX AC to make it possible to introduce the LM equipment – also including a fuel tank with a 400 liter capacity. The placement of the diesel engine was done in such way no extra air intakes where required.

When running on diesel power, the AC3 still has 300 kN traction effort available, can reach a top speed of 50 km/h and, theoretically, it could haul trains up to 2000 t for 8-10 hours.

Customer references:

DB Fernverkehr
DB Cargo Deutschland
DB Regio
Swiss Rail Traffic
Israel railways
HSL Logistik
EP Cargo
Stern & Hafferl

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