Published: 30-09-2006 photo #117 0 comments 0 votes
The Eurotunnel Class 9 Bo-Bo-Bo electric locomotives were built by Brush Traction between 1993 and 2002. They are used to haul the Eurotunnel Shuttle service through the Channel Tunnel between Cheriton and Coquelles.
The Bo-Bo-Bo wheel arrangement is unusual, yet offers the adhesion of 12 wheels (equivalent to a Co-Co) with flexibility that 4-wheeled bogies give. The flexibility is required as they have to negotiate 180-degree curves at both terminals, and the middle bogie has side play to allow this.
The class were built by Brush Traction at Loughborough and receive heavy maintenance there. To get to the Brush Works they must travel by road since they are built to the Berne gauge and are too large for British loading gauge.
They operate as two locomotives per train, one at either end, hauling the Eurotunnel rolling stock. For safety reasons each is capable of hauling a train by itself should the other one fail.
Common with UK and French practice, the driver sits on the left hand side of the cab, and the right hand side of the cab is used by the train manager, who travels in the rear locomotive and is also a fully qualified driver and capable of driving the train out of the tunnel in an emergency. Early locomotives were fitted with a second small cab at the inner end, for use when shunting at the depots, but these were not fitted to later locos.
They are fitted with TVM 430 in-cab signalling. They take power from 25 kV 50 Hz AC overhead line electrification.
The Class 9s handle only the Eurotunnel Shuttle services; British Rail Class 92 electric locomotives haul normal freight trains through the tunnel.