Rail technologies meeting the steepest of challenges on Pilatus Bahn

Pilatus Bahnen, operator of the world’s steepest cogwheel railway with a gradiant of up to 48 percent, has put a new, more energy-efficiency fleet of eight railcars and one freight car into operation at the popular Swiss moun-tain.

Thanks to ABB’s energy-efficient traction converters, the new rack-and-pinion railcars consume 30 percent less energy than the previous generation. During braking, the electrical energy generated is fed back into the grid and available to use for the ascent.

This works in the way that motors serve as generators that convert the kinetic ener-gy into electricity, which flows back into the overhead line via traction converters, instead of converting the brak-ing energy into waste heat.

The custom-designed ABB traction converter solution is compactly housed in a single enclosure. Two traction converters are installed underneath each train unit.