August 11, 2010 - M.T.H.'s O Scale ALP-46 and TRAXX Electric locomotive featured in the Premier Line of the 2008 Volume 2 Catalog is slated for release later this year. Delayed until this year while waiting to become the first M.T.H. model to feature the O gauge version of our Proto-Sound 3.0 system, a pre-production model of the ALP-46 version arrived last week. Check out the model's details in the photos below or click on the video icon to the left to see the pre-production engineering sample in action.
Since the dawn of the Orient Express in 1883, Europeans have dreamed of a rail network that would transcend national borders. For more than a century, the best that could be accomplished was the handoff of passenger or freight consists from one national rail system to another, usually stopping at the border to change motive power. Even when most of the continent went to overhead wires to supply motive power, voltage and current were often different from one country to another. Today, however, all that is changing. Sporting service names like "EuroCity" and slogans like "Connecting Europe," electric engines glide seamlessly and swiftly across borders, and carriers offer freight and passenger services that span many nations.
With locomotive and car manufacturing facilities on four continents, Bombardier has emerged as a leader in the manufacture of equipment for these multinational rail carriers. Starting with electric locomotive technology developed by German firm Adtranz, which Bombardier acquired in 2001, Bombardier developed the TRAXX/ALP-46 locomotives for service across Europe.
The ALP-46 electric offers a near-perfect combination of speed, safety, and practicality. Its streamlined shape is designed for aerodynamics but also for economical construction, being composed almost entirely of flat surfaces. The ends are raked at an angle that slices through the air - but a steeper, more streamlined angle was avoided in order to minimize air turbulence between the engine and the following car. With up to 7,100 horsepower being delivered to eight wheels, wheelslip control on all ALP-46 locomotives was mandatory. Another system automatically ensures adherence to speed restrictions and trackside signals.
But the most practical feature of the ALP-46 electric has nothing to do with speed or safety. It turns out the engine's smooth, flat sides make a perfect rolling billboard, either for publicizing the owner or selling ad space for additional revenue. The most complex images can be printed on a heavy plastic foil and applied neatly to the engine, and changed easily when necessary.
New Jersey Transit operates a fleet of 29 German-built Bombardier ALP-46 electrics that were derived from the same Adtranz technolgy as the TRAXX platform and delivered in 2001-2002. NJT ordered the first 24 ALP-46 locomotives in December 1999 and an additional five locomotives in September 2001. Capable of pulling longer trains than the NJT's ALP-44's, they operate in commuter service and also pulled Amfleet trains in the final days of Amtrak's Clocker service. In February 2008, New Jersey Transit ordered 27 ALP-46A locomotives ensuring that the railroad will have the most up-to-date technology along with increased acceleration and operating efficiency.
Each version of the MTH ALP-46 - one of the first MTH engines to feature the O gauge version of our Proto-Sound 3.0 sound system - comes fully equipped with all the features that make Proto-Sound locomotives more fun to operate than any other engines in model railroading - including operating motorized pantographs; CD-quality sound; and Proto-Speed control for smooth pulling power at any speed from 3 mph to full throttle.
M.T.H. is proud to produce this superbly detailed Premier model of the ALP-46 that found its niche in high-speed intermodal service. Check it out in the detail photos below.