The first Shuttle
locomotive was completed in December 1992, and on 14th of that month, arrived at
the huge 100,000 square foot maintenance depot at Coquelles, Calais. This depot
was destined to become the main heavy maintenance and repair shed for the whole
of the Shuttle fleet, dealing with both locomotives and rolling stock around the
clock. A pair of the Shuttle electrics were dispatched to Velim, Czech Republic
in 1993, to be run on the 8¼-mile long oval test circuit of the ‘’Traffic
Research Institute’’ of Prague. The circuit, electrified with overhead wires,
allows high-speed endurance tests of up to 125 MPH. In 1994, two Brush-built
Class 92s were also delivered to the circuit for testing. The Tri-Bos were
equipped with TVM430 (TVM: Transmission Voie Machine) signalling equipment; this
system had been used to signal the tunnel, and was an upgraded version of the
earlier TVM300 signalling used on the Paris to Lyon TGV line in 1981. TVM430 was
also installed on the May 1992-opened TGV-Nord high speed line, which links
Paris with the tunnel portal and the Belgian border. Whilst existing
TVM300-equipped trains are not compatible with TVM430, those with TVM430 can run
on TVM300-signalled lines.
On 6th May 1994, the Channel Tunnel was formally opened by Queen Elizabeth II and French President Fraçois Mitterand, and the pair were conveyed through the tunnel by a freight shuttle formation. Thereafter, services were commissioned piecemeal: first, the HGV shuttles commenced, on 25th July, which comprised twenty-eight lattice-framed carrier wagons towering 18.4 feet into the air, in addition to a pair of unloading wagons and an air-conditioned passenger carriage, all sandwich in-between two Tri-Bo locomotives. Shuttle services for cars were inaugurated on 22nd December, whilst coaches could not use the tunnel until 26th June of the following year. Finally, on 29th September 1995, shuttle trains began accommodating camper vans and caravans.
As early as 18th November 1996, disaster struck – a fire in the South, Cheriton-bound tunnel, which started upon a lorry, saw one Shuttle locomotive, No. 9030, extensively damaged. The electronics were totally burnt out, and the locomotive was seen as beyond economical repair, whilst its partner at the other end of the stricken formation, No. 9006, could eventually be returned to service. Eurotunnel’s electric fleet was now one down, but further new-builds were on the cards: in 1997, an order was placed with Brush Traction for the construction of five more Shuttle locomotives. This order was extended in the following year, during the first deliveries, to include a further nine locomotives, bringing Eurotunnel’s fleet total to fifty-one. Finally, in the year 2000, an additional batch of seven Tri-Bo locomotives were ordered, but compared to all earlier builds, these were decidedly more powerful. Their traction output rated at 9,387 HP (7 Megawatts), compared with the 7,724 HP (5.76 MW) of the first locomotives. In 1994, the heaviest Freight Shuttles weighed approximately 2,400 tonnes, but longer formations were later introduced, these being 600 tonnes heavier - thus, trains were to be equivalent in weight to nearly seventeen Boeing 747-400 aircraft. The final examples of this powerful batch were delivered by Summer 2003. The end of deliveries heralded the beginning of an upgrade programme for the existing thirty-seven 7,724 HP locomotives constructed by Brush in the early 1990s. All builds, 5.76 MW and 7 MW, are designed to run at a top operating speed of 87 MPH, and onboard computers ensure that power application is limited during speeds of up to 40 MPH, to prevent wheel slip. All later builds are dedicated to the Freight Shuttles only. It appears that, eventually, Eurotunnel will have an entire fleet of 9,387 HP locomotives.
Shuttle Fleet: Original Builds
The original 1989-ordered locomotives feature a cab at their rear slab end, which adjoins the train. The cab is present for the purpose of shunting the locomotive around terminal and maintenance areas, and a maximum speed of 50 MPH can be attained when using it.
Only these locomotives can haul Passenger Shuttles
The fleet of 38 were commissioned for service wearing two-tone grey with ''Le Shuttle'' branding. On 8th May 1998, Eurotunnel announced that this name was to be dropped, suggesting it was confusing for French customers. Consequently, shuttle branding simply became ''Eurotunnel'', and the lighter of the two grey shades displayed on Tri-Bo locomotives became dark blue.
The majority of the first builds are named after opera singers.
Traction output of 7,724 HP (5.76 Megawatts)
|9001: Lesley Garrett||9002: Stuart Burrows||9003: Benjamin Luxon||9004: Victoria de Los Angeles|
|9005: Jessye Norman||9006: Régine Crespin||9007: Dame Joan Sutherland||9008: Elisabeth SoderstrØm|
|9009: François Pollet||9010: Jean-Philippe Cortis||9011: José Van Dam||9012: Luciano Pavarotti|
|9013: Maria Callas||9014: Lucia Popp||9015: LÖtschberg 1913||9016: Willard White|
|9017: José Carreras||9018: Wilhelmina Fernandez||9019: Maria Ewing||9020: Nicolai Ghiarov|
|9021: Teresa Berganza||9022: Dame Janet Baker||9023: Dame Elisabeth Legge-Schwarzkopf||9024: Gotthard 1882|
|9025: Jungfraujoch 1912||9026: Furka Tunnel 1982||9027: Barbara Hendricks||9028: Dame Kiri Te Kanawa|
|9029: Thomas Allen||9030: Name never applied||9031: Placido Domingo||9032: Renata Tebaldi|
|9033: Montserrat Caballé||9034: Mirella Freni||9035: Nicolai Gedda||9036: Alain Fondary|
|9037: Gabriel Bauquier||9038: Hildegard Behrens|
As a result of refurbishment:
Nos. 9001 to 9029 will become Nos. 9801 to 9829
Nos. 9031 to 9038 will become Nos. 9831 to 9838
Shuttle Fleet: Later Builds
1997 & 1998 orders
All locomotives lack a rear slab-end cab, and are dedicated to Freight Shuttles only.
Of the fourteen ordered, one is numbered into the original 90xx series - No. 9040.
The rest of the batch are numbered in the 9101 to 9113 series.
Year 2000 orders
As per the 1997/1998 locomotives, these are dedicated to the Freight Shuttles.
These became the most powerful members of the Eurotunnel fleet, at 9,387 HP.
17th August 2007
Refurbished No. 9809 is observed departing Cheriton with a Passenger Shuttle. To ensure that drivers are not hypnotised, Shuttle locomotives have been designed with cab windows which limit how much can be seen immediately in front of the driving position. Thus, the first 65 feet of track in front of the locomotive cannot be seen by the driver, thus helping to prevent hypnosis by a quick succession of sleepers passing by. Furthermore, thick cab struts either side of the main two windows also ensure that the driver cannot be hypnotised by identical tunnel segments flashing by. © David Glasspool
17th August 2007
A view of the rear of the formation in the previous picture affords a view of the double-deck stock, which is always to be found at the rear of the train. No. 9028 ''Dame Kiri Te Kanawa'' is seen trailing, complete with the front pantograph raised. Two pantographs feature on each Shuttle locomotive, demonstrating one example of component duplication onboard, ensuring that electronic failures do not leave a train stranded within the tunnel. Each pantograph is fitted with ''wings''; when travelling through the tunnel, the wind resistance causes the pantograph to ''fly'', thus keeps it firmly in contact with the overhead wires. © David Glasspool
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