The E.464 is a class of Italian railways electric locomotives. They were introduced in the course of the 1990s for hauling light trains, especially for commuter service. They were acquired by FS Trenitalia to replace the old E.424 and E.646, dating from the 1940s and 1950s. The class was originally designed by ABB Trazione, later ADTranz (now part of the Bombardier group), and produced in the Italian plant of Vado Ligure.
Cost per unit is 2.6 million Euro. With 717 locomotives currently in service (as of December 2015) the E.464 is the largest class in use by Trenitalia, and also the most numerous Italian locomotive class ever in service.
The E.464 derives from a project launched by the Italian Ferrovie dello Stato in the 1980s for a "modular" class of locomotives which would be easily adapted to commuter, inter-regional and cargo services. Initially, types with 4-axle (Bo-Bo, E.453/E.454) and 6-axle (Bo-Bo-Bo, E.665/E.666) were devised, the latter for cargo services. However, the E.666 class was cancelled due to availability of the new E.652 Tigre class, capable of hauling massive cargo trains. Moreover, the new inverter technology was developed in those years, and the E.454 became suddenly obsolete.
In 1994 FS requested ABB to design a new class which, to save money, was to be based on already built prototypes and using parts from the new E.412 from the same producer. The first batch of 50 E.464 was issued to the Lazio regional government in 1999-2000, and proved immediately successful. Further orders for 90, 100 and 48 units followed in 2001-2005, plus another 100 in 2006-2007, another 100 in 2009, another 50 in 2011,and, finally, another order of 29 locomotives on November 2013: a total of 717 locomotives, and an investment of over one billion Euro.
The E.464 were the first Italian locomotives provided with an automatic Scharfenberg coupling system, capable of forming trains rapidly. The hull is steel with aluminium ceiling, in the white-green standard livery of FS Trenitalia.
The locomotive uses simplified on-board electronics, with two GTO thyristor choppers which provide a variable voltage to the two inverters, that are used to feed the 4 three-phase asynchronous motors.
The motors employ a double-star type connection; if a traction inverter is inoperative (i.e. due to a failure) the motors use a delta-type connection and are fed by only one inverter. During braking the motors can be used as generators in order to recover electric energy (regenerative braking). However, since Italian railway power substations are not able to receive energy (they are not reversible), this method only works if there are other trains nearby absorbing current and the line voltage is lower than 4000 V. Otherwise the power is dissipated through a braking rheostat. The vehicle braking logic checks if these conditions are met and then decides to send the current to the line or to the rheostat.
Two static inverters (often referred to as BUR) output a voltage of 450 V, 60 Hz AC that feeds the auxiliary systems which include the compressors, 24 V battery charger, rheostat ventilation fans, motors fans etc.
Usually BUR n.1 feeds only the motor cooling devices with a voltage down to 352 V at 58 Hz, while BUR n.2 feeds the rest; in case of failure of one BUR, one of the three motor fans is deactivated automatically and the system is fed at 450 V 60 Hz by the remaining one.
Braking systems include, other than the regenerative/rheostat braking, disc-type brakes activated by compressed air to completely immobilize the locomotive when stationary. If this condition lasts for a prolonged time air may run out thereby releasing the brakes, in which case the spring brake is activated.
The coupling system allows, in case of emergency, coupling of up to 4 locomotives for hauling heavy trains, for a total of 14,000 kW (more than one TGV). The E.464 can be coupled with other modern types like the E.402.
The locomotive is provided with a secondary driving cabin with reduced instrumentation in the rear area, for short range manoeuvres in stations (maximum speed allowed: 30 km/h).
Bombardier has produced 60 units especially adapted for use with the new Vivalto two-floor coaches.
Apart from FS-Trenitalia (whose engines are often owned by regional authorities), E.464 is used in Lombardy by the regional railway company Trenord, and in Emilia-Romagna by the Ferrovie Emilia-Romagna.
As of April 2018[update], there are 727 class E.464 locos. 717 are operated by Trenitalia; 716 in the series 464.001-464.717 (464.029 was withdrawn after accident damage sustained in September 2009), and 464.880, which was formerly operated by TFT. 10 locos (464.890-893 and 464.901-906) are operated by TPER (ex-FER).
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