Eurotunnel Class 9

Eurotunnel Class 9

Eurotunnel 9015 (2009)
Type and origin
Power type Electric
Builder ASEA Brown Boveri[1]
Brush Traction (assembly)
Qualter Hall (locomotive and bogie superstructure)[2]
Build date 1993–2002
Total produced 58
Rebuilder Brush Traction / Bombardier Transportation
UIC class Bo-Bo-Bo
Gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Wheel diameter 1,250 mm (49.2 in)[3]
Length 22 m (72 ft 2 in)[4][5]
Width 9 ft 9 in (2.97 m)[5]
  Pantograph 13 ft 9 in (4.19 m)[5]
Loco weight 132 tonnes (130 long tons; 146 short tons)
Electric system(s) 25 kV AC catenary
Current collection Brecknell Willis Pantograph[5]
Loco brake electro-pneumatic air, regenerative brake[6]
Train brakes air[6]
Performance figures
Maximum speed 160 km/h (99 mph)[6]
Power output 5.6 or 7 MW (7,500 or 9,400 hp)[7]
Tractive effort max. 400 kN (90,000 lbf)[4]
continuous 310 kN (70,000 lbf) @ 65 km/h (18 m/s)[4]
Operators Eurotunnel

The Eurotunnel Class 9 or Class 9000 are six-axle high-power Bo-Bo-Bo single-ended electric locomotive built by the Euroshuttle Locomotive Consortium (ESCL) of Brush Traction and ABB. The class was designed for and is used exclusively to haul the Le Shuttle road vehicle services through the Channel Tunnel.

Background and design

Tendering for the locomotive procurement began in 1989. The specification included; a top speed of 160 km/h (100 mph); a terminal-to-terminal travel time of 33 minutes pulling a 2,100-tonne (2,067-long-ton; 2,315-short-ton) train; an axle load limit of 22.5 tonnes (22.1 long tons; 24.8 short tons); an operating temperature range between −10 °C (14 °F) and 45 °C (113 °F);[1] a loading gauge within the UIC 505-1 standard; a minimum curve radius of 100 m (328 ft);[8] be able to start a shuttle train on a 1 in 160 (0.625 %) gradient with one locomotive bogie inoperative (at 0.13 m/s2 (0.43 ft/s2)), and a single locomotive should be able to start the train on the same gradient if the other locomotive failed.[1][8] The operating concession agreement between Transmanche Link/Eurotunnel and the British and French governments required that there be a locomotive on either end of the train, allowing splitting and reversing of the train.[1]

The design specifications implied a minimum power of 5.6 MW (7,500 hp), and also meant that a four-axle design would not be guaranteed to be able to supply sufficient tractive effort. The French railway lobby was suggesting using three four-axle Bo-Bo locomotives (such as the SNCF BB 26000). ESCL proposed a six-axle Bo-Bo-Bo locomotive derived from the narrow-gauge Class 30 EF locomotives supplied by Brush Traction to the New Zealand Railways Corporation and won the contract with an initial order of 40 in July 1989.[1][3][9]

The main traction electrical system consists of;[note 1] two pantographs (duplicated for redundancy) collecting a 25 kV AC supply which feeds the main transformer, with separate output windings rectified to a DC link (one per bogie) using four quadrant converters. The direct current drives a three-phase inverter, which powers two asynchronous three-phase induction motors.[6][10] There are two additional output windings on the transformer for the locomotive's auxiliaries and to supply power to the train vehicles.[6]

The bogies were a fabricated steel design, with coil spring primary suspension. The traction motors and gearboxes (one per axle) were mounted to the bogie frame and connected to the wheels by a flexibly coupled quill drive. Traction links were connected to the bogie frame at a height of 200 mm (7.87 in) above rail. The locomotive superstructure is supported on coil springs on a central swing bolster, and the centre bogie allows 200 mm (7.87 in) of lateral movement to negotiate small-radius curves.[3] Yaw dampers are also fitted.[3]

The locomotive superstructure is a stressed-skin monocoque design.[3]

The driver's cab and exterior design of the locomotives was undertaken by DCA Design, Warwick, UK.[11] Side windows in the locomotive cab are omitted to prevent 'segment flicker' caused by fast running in the tunnel, a potential distraction and cause of driver drowsiness.[12] The driving position was air conditioned and pressurised,[1] and incorporated in-cab TVM 430 signalling.[13] The driving cab also incorporates train manager's facilities, including safety systems such as CCTV, alarms and communication links. There is a second driving position for shunting at the rear of the locomotive.[1][note 2]

9100 subseries

The 9100 subseries use IGBT-based traction inverters instead of GTO based in the original 9000 series), and have one inverter per motor instead of one per bogie in the 9000 series.[4]

Testing, operations, and subclasses

The initial order for 40 units was reduced to 38,[3] numbered 9001 to 9038.[13] The first locomotive was completed in 1992, and two units (9003 and 9004) were tested at the Velim test track in the Czech Republic.[13] Locomotive 9004 started its required 50,000-kilometre endurance test at Velim on 17 August 1993 and finished it on 23 September 1993.[14]

The formal opening took place on 6 May 1994 with Queen Elizabeth II and François Mitterrand travelling on a shuttle through the tunnel.[13]

The 1996 Channel Tunnel fire damaged locomotives 9030 and 9006, 9030 beyond repair. In 1997 Eurotunnel ordered five more locomotives, and in 1998 nine more. One of the second batch was numbered 9040, the others 9101 to 9113.[13]

In 2000 seven more were ordered numbered 97xx,[15] with an increased power of 7 MW (9,400 hp); deliveries ended in 2003,.[13] After 2000 20 units were upgraded from 5.6 to 7 MW (7,500 to 9,400 hp) to match the increasing length of truck shuttles, replacing main transformer, traction converters and motors.[7]

In 2011 Eurotunnel had 57 locomotives, of which 34 are 7 MW (9,400 hp) machines, the remainder 5.6 MW (7,500 hp).[16] The company plans to uprate 11 more machines to 7 MW (9,400 hp) by 2013.[17]

The locomotives are maintained at the Eurotunnel depot at Coquelles near Calais, France.[13][note 3]

Number range Built Power Notes
9001-9038 1992–1994 5.6 MW (7,500 hp) 9030 withdrawn due to fire damage
9040 1998 Built to replace fire-damaged locomotive 9030
9101-9113 1998–2001 Dedicated to freight shuttles
9701-9707 2001–2002 7 MW (9,400 hp)
9801- Rebuilt 2004-2012 Rebuilt from 5.6 MW (7,500 hp) machines


After introduction the locomotives were named after opera singers. In 1997 four units were named Jungfraujoch, Lötschberg, Gotthard and Furkatunnel, after Swiss rail tunnels.[18]


  1. Details from Brush Traction in 2011, some figures assumed correct only for rebuilt locomotives.[6]
  2. The second driving position was omitted on later builds.[13]
  3. 50°55′22″N 1°49′21″E / 50.922664°N 1.822448°E Coquelles Eurotunnel depot


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 B. Driver (1995) , p.9-12
  2. "Channel Tunnel Locomotive Superstructures". Qualter Hall. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Roger Ford (1995), pp.176-178
  4. 1 2 3 4 Jean-Marc Allenbach; Pierre Chapas; Michel Comte; Roger Kaller (2008), "8. Exemples de Véhicules Réalisés", Traction électrique (in French), 1 (2 ed.), Presses polytechniques et universitaires romandes, 8.2.15, "BoBoBo ET ESL9000", ISBN 978-2-88074-674-2
  5. 1 2 3 4 Marsden & Fenn 2001, p. 143
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Shuttle Locomotive - 7 MW". Brush Traction. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  7. 1 2 "Maintenance". Eurotunnel Group. Adapting the locomotives and Truck Shuttles to growth of the market. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  8. 1 2 B. Driver (1996) , p.72
  9. Semmens, pp.16-18
  10. Roger Ford (1995), p.180
  11. "Channel tunnel shuttle and locomotive" (PDF). DCA Design.
  12. Sandra Donovan (2003). The Channel Tunnel. Lerner Publications. p. 49.
  13. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 David Glasspool. "Eurotunnel Tri-Bo Shuttle Locomotives". Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  14. Hamlen, John, ed. (October 1993). "Czech Checks". The Link. Folkestone: Translink J.V. (TransManche Link): 10–11.
  15. "Shuttle". 2002.
  16. "GROUPE EUROTUNNEL : 2010 Annual Review" (PDF). Eurotunnel Group. p. 9. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  17. "Rolling Stock". Eurotunnel Group. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  18. "Eurotunnnel Shuttle Locos" (PDF).



Further reading

External links

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