300th Cummins QSK19 for VLocity, one of world’s most reliable railcars
Another major milestone has been achieved in Victoria’s VLocity rail project with Cummins delivering the 300th QSK19 engine for the world-recognised trains which operate on the state’s regional network.
Cummins has worked closely with the railcar manufacturer – originally Bombardier and now Alstom – to ensure high availability and on-time performance of the VLocity fleet. In fact, VLocity is one of the most reliable passenger railcars in the world today.
When the 200th QSK19 was delivered in 2017, it was pointed out that the key measurement of the reliability of a rail fleet was the MDBF, or mean distance between failures. The MDBF is based on any delay in station arrival time of five minutes or greater.
“The original expectation for VLocity was an MDBF of 100,000 kilometres, but the actual long-term MDBF average exceeded 150,000 kilometres which was unheard of in the diesel railcar industry,” says Mark Pellington, who heads up the VLocity business for Cummins. “That same MDBF is maintained today.”
Pellington has been involved in the VLocity project from the outset and before that performed a similar role for Cummins in the U.K. where there were 350 Cummins QSK19 powerpacks in Virgin Voyager trains.
The first VLocity trains went into service in Victoria in late 2005 and move more than one million passengers a month.
Operating at speeds of up to 160 km/h, they are powered by 750 hp horizontal Cummins QSK19 diesel engines. Each car in the latest three-car VLocity trains has 19-litre Cummins power as well as a 182 kWe load-sharing Cummins generator set powered by the QSB6.7 engine.
When the VLocity project was mooted in 2002, Cummins was considered the only diesel engine manufacturer capable of providing the engineering expertise to ensure its success.
The VLocity railcars are manufactured by Alstom at its Dandenong facility, while production and assembly of the propulsion, cooling and electrical power generation modules is carried out at Cummins’ South Pacific headquarters in Scoresby (Melbourne).
The innovative module concept was developed by an engineering team at Cummins to significantly reduce maintenance downtime. Each module is designed for quick replacement with a standby unit, meaning fast turnaround during scheduled servicing and maintenance.
When the modules are removed they are taken to the Cummins Laverton branch for refurbishment in readiness for the next train scheduled for a major service. The proven durability of the Cummins QSK19 engine is highlighted in the 18,000-hour life-to-overhaul being achieved.
“VLocity is a great success story with the trains providing outstanding service reliability and passenger comfort,” says Pellington.
“Local employment has also benefitted. We have a team of employees dedicated to production and assembly of the modules at our Scoresby facility, as well as a team of business managers, technicians and apprentices at our Laverton branch who liaise with Alstom and manage scheduled and unscheduled maintenance,” he adds.
Cummins also has more than 50 local suppliers specifically for the VLocity project. Close to 600 components are used in local assembly of the modules.
Hydrogen fuel cells
While the Cummins-Alstom partnership focuses on conventional diesel rail power in Australia, Cummins is a key partner in the development and implementation of hydrogen fuel cell systems for Alstom’s Coradia iLint passenger train in Europe.
iLint is the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell passenger train and is completely emission-free, using electrical energy for propulsion and putting off only steam and water.
Cummins has developed a hydrogen fuel cell systems production centre in Herten, Germany, to initially focus on supplying Alstom with hydrogen fuel cell systems for the iLint train.