Locomotives that Emit Less, Consume Less, and Do More

When Knoxville Locomotive Works (KLW) began designing its own line of green locomotives in 2008, it was evident that KLW could not follow the path that many had already traveled. KLW's goal from day one was to manufacture a simple, easy to install repower package that provides superior benefits and economic value in comparison to other low-emissions locomotives. Fast forward to today and it is clear that KLW has achieved this goal and as a result has gained acceptance in the railroad industry.

Here are a few reasons why KLW is raising the bar for green locomotives: 

  • Four horsepower options to meet the needs of industrial, switching, and road-switching operations
  • Single-engine design is simple, reliable, and preferred over multi-engine alternatives
  • EPA & ULEL compliance with emissions reductions of up to 85% 
  • Reductions of 10%-65% in fuel consumption (dependent on locomotive being replaced)
  • Reductions in oil consumption by up to 75% 
  • Increasing starting tractive effort up to 40% 
  • Retention of time-proven components such as the AR10 alternator 
  • Standard two year parts and labor warranty with a four year option available

A New Type of Single Engine Locomotive


What sets KLW locomotives apart from the rest is our unique approach to locomotive repowers. Each KLW model uses a single MTU high-speed engine with a low-speed AR10 alternator. This is possible by using a ZF 2:1 reduction gearbox with the MTU engine. The gearbox converts the RPMs from the MTU engine (up to 1800) down to a lower speed (up to 900), making the MTU engine compatible with the AR10. The gearbox is joined to the AR10 by using an AR10 double bearing adapter (designed and patented by KLW) and a Geislinger or Centa coupling.

Although the engine and gearbox setup is unique to our product line, KLW actually re-utilizes many of the unit's original components. In addition to the AR10, the trucks, traction motors, wheels, and other items are retained and rebuilt if possible. By retaining common components, the KLW line of locomotives are more familiar to the railroad industry than much of the competition and consequently require minimal training. This approach also reduces costs and makes it easy to find replacement parts. 


The Widest Horsepower Range

Knoxville Locomotive Works is the ONLY single-engine green locomotive manufacturer that offers locomotives from 1,050 horsepower up to 3,200 horsepower. As a result, we are able to offer products for operations big or small. For example, many short line and industrial operations have no need for large 3,000+ horsepower units as they are too big, consume too much fuel, and are overkill for the work that needs to be done. On the other hand, large operations such as Class-I switching yards would have no interest in anything under 2,000 or even 3,000 horsepower as they need this extra horsepower and size to move large cuts of freight cars. KLW is proud to be the only single-engine manufacturer that offers green locomotives for everyone. 

Read more about MTU engines by clicking here.


Marine Proven, Railroad Ready

 ZF gearboxes are very popular in the demanding Marine industry.

ZF gearboxes are very popular in the demanding Marine industry.

In order to make the MTU engine compatible with the low-speed alternator, KLW employs a ZF non-reversing gearbox with a 2:1 nominal reduction ratio. The gearboxes are derived from marine commercial vessel transmissions but they do not have any shifting involved. Once the locomotive is started, the single multi-plate clutch engages after about six seconds. At this time the ZF gearbox starts turning the AR10. The unique part to KLW's layout is this set up allows there to be virtually no load on the MTU engine, saving money that would normally be spent on starters and batteries.

The gearboxes used in all KLW repowers have proven their durability and reliability in the demanding marine industry. In fact, ZF gearboxes are designed to handle shock load forces of up to 10 g’s due to their installation in mine-detection vessels. This is accomplished by each gearbox featuring hardened, ground, specially treated, single helix gears developed in accordance with ZF’s strict production standards. 


The Future of Locomotive Electronics

TMV's Traction and Engine Control Unit (TECU) is a next generation locomotive control system that boosts the performance of KLW locomotives. The TECU has features such as traction control, event recording, and a modifiable modular architecture to suit a variety of different locomotives. The traction control abilities of the TECU system allow repowered locomotives to see up to a 40% increase in tractive effort capabilities.

The TECU system also offers significant benefits that are not related to tractive effort. The system is small in size, taking up only 1/4th the amount of space that a Dash-II module rack would occupy, resulting in less wiring and extra space in the cabinet. A touchscreen is also mounted inside of the cab which allows operating or maintenance crews to view locomotive diagnostics as well as a list of any active or previous faults. The TECU’s small size, simple troubleshooting options, and ability to dramatically increase tractive effort are just a few of the reasons why the system is ideal for KLW repowered locomotives and repower kits.


KLW Double-Bearing AR10 Adapter


The main design feature that sets KLW apart from the competition is the use of the high-speed MTU engine (up to 1800 RPM) with the AR10 alternator, which is designed to work with low-speed (up to 900 RPM) engines. In order to get these two components to work, KLW attaches a 2:1 ZF reduction gearbox to the MTU engine, something commonly done in the marine industry, to convert the high-speed MTU engine RPMs down to the low-speed RPMs needed by the AR10. Although this solved the RPM problem, KLW still needed to figure out how to connect an AR10 to the new MTU engine, prompting KLW to design its own AR10 adapter. The KLW patented AR10 double-bearing adapter adds a shaft to the AR10, which is joined to the shaft coming off the gearbox by use of a Geislinger or Centa coupling. The coupling joins the two shafts together and allows the mechanical energy from the MTU engine to be converted by the gearbox and sent to the AR10 alternator.

Learn More About our Models

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Questions? Give us a call at 865-525-9400 or send us an email.