Low cost, innovative LoCo™ tunnelling Locomotive

Low cost, innovative LoCo™ tunnelling Locomotive
October 1, 2019 Jessica Salt

The LoCo™ has been designed and developed specifically to address the needs of tunnellers for haulage applications. When compared to traditional locomotives, key features of this patent pending locomotive are:

  • A reduction of 40% in capital costs.Clayton low cost tunnel LoCo locomotive
  • An increase in traction of 50%, enabling loads to be doubled.
  • The increase in traction also means improved braking distances even with higher loads or steeper gradients, yet still compliant with the 60 metre braking distance required in BS 6164:2011 Code of practice for health and safety in tunnelling in the construction industry.
  • Adjustable gauge ability, allowing the LoCo™ to be readily used on other tunnel construction sites. The gauge can be adjusted from 600 mm to 1,067 mm, and anything in between
  • Modular design with flexible options.

The LoCo™ has successfully completed an extensive design and development test phase. This demonstrated the exceptional ride characteristics while still easily hauling the 80 tonne load on a 3.3% (1:30) wet track.
The design has addressed some significant issues that the tunnelling industry face, which include:
1. High capital costs spread over a relatively short project duration; as the LoCo™ is 40% cheaper this is no longer an issue
2. Hiring wastes money; due to the low cost of the LoCo™ it is now financially beneficial to buy instead of hiring
3. High operating costs; using the battery powered option, the operational ventilation costs are significantly reduced. This also eliminates any exposure to the operators and other personnel from Diesel emissions
4. An under-utilised asset once the project has completed; the gauge adjustment allows the LoCo™  to be quickly deployed to other construction projects, regardless of the track gauge
5. High tunnel gradients; the LoCo™ can used on track with gradients up to 10% (1:10) 

Since 1968, Clayton Equipment has designed and manufactured rubber tyred locomotives for arduous conditions, ranging from 3.5 tonnes to 30 tonnes. Building on this experience, together with a leading tyre OEM, has led to the superior performance of the LoCo™.

Although there is a ‘trend’ to move to Lithium-Ion technology by others, Clayton Equipment has retained the use of lead acid batteries as they offer significant advantages; they can be charged below 0°C, have a low fire risk, can be readily recycled, are resilient to shock and vibration, and provide the best £/kWh.