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S-450 and 451 electric rail cars

At the end of the 1980s, Renfe decided to acquire rolling stock formed by double-decker cars in order to offer an optimum solution for resolving passenger transport on long suburban train lines with route times exceeding 30 minutes and in which there was major demand at the end of the line, thereby making it necessary to have a high seating capacity.

Renfe used this train concept on its suburban lines, and as from 1990 it put into operation 60 cars integrated by 12 reversible branches constituted by a trailer with a cab and four intermediate trailers, all towed by a rail car of the 269-200 series.

In view of the good results obtained by this type of service and in view of the problems detected regarding lack of reliability and features of the 296-200 rail cars, in 1991 Renfe decided to incorporate double-decker power cars that would replace the rail cars. It therefore acquired 30 power cars to form, together with the 60 existing trailers, 12 units of the 451 series and 9 units of the 450 series. Likewise, it acquired 15 complete units of the 450 series, whose testing began in May 1993.

In 1994, the power cars were incorporated, and the trains of the 450 and 451 series took on the current composition: two power cars and four intermediate trailers for the former series, and one power car, one trailer car and one trailer car with a driver's cab for the 451 series.

Thus, since 1994 the 450 series consists of 24 trains of six cars each.

Due to the attacks of 11 March 2004, two of the bombs destroyed two cars of this series, which were removed, which is why two trains of this composition only have 5 cars.

In turn, the 451 series has been integrated by 12 compositions of 3 cars each since 1994. Both the trailer cars and the trailer cars with a cab have branches that entered into service in 1990. Both series have identical technical specifications and features and can be coupled together in multiple control. The trains of the 450 and 451 series were built by CAF and Alstom, and while the former travel on the Madrid and Barcelona suburban networks, the latter only travel on the Barcelona city networks.



The self-supporting structure, built of welded copper steel, was designed using the finite elements system. Cold-rolled or bended profiles of large dimensions and small thicknesses were used to manufacture the structures, thereby reducing the weight. On the power cars, the anti-collision structure of the end walls are of polyester.

Each car is accessed through automatic, sliding-recessing doors of two leaves that are pneumatically operated with electrical control. They provide a clearance of 1300 mm on the power cars and 1800 on the trailers. These doors place passengers in a vestibule equipped with stairs that allow access to the central compartments located on two levels.

On each floor, the sides have a row of windows arranged as a strip, manufactured using a semi-reflecting bronze colour safety glass that complements the train's line.

The power cars of the 450 and 451 series consist of a driver's cab where the driver's desk and the upper instrument panel are located, while the rear houses the low-voltage cabinets, the train-ground system and the ASFA system. A technical compartment is located behind the cab, used to house end motor block 1, switch gear, the static converter, the battery and climate control. It is followed by two platforms where the central, upper and lower compartments are located, and at the rear end there is a passenger compartment equipped with facing seats of two pairs each and another compartment for the electric switch gear and end motor block 2. As they are all equipped with power and braking equipment, these cars can travel on their own. Likewise, the braking resistors and the pantograph with the lightening rod and circuit breaker are located on the roof.

In turn, the upper and lower central compartments are located in the trailer cars of both series, between the two vestibules. One end is used to house the low-voltage cabinet and the auxiliary static converter, and the other end contains the WC (equipped with a vacuum system), an electrical equipment cabinet and bag storage.

The trailer car with the cab in the units of the 451 series incorporates, in addition to the driver's cab, the cabinets for low voltage, the train-ground radio equipment and the electronics of the on-bard signalling equipment and the driving assistance system. The brake and pneumatic suspension panels are located in the vestibules.

The couplers are the Couplomatic type, with mechanical, pneumatic and electrical coupling on free end walls and a screw coupler on coupled end walls. The interior lining of the walls and ceiling is polyester.

Traction and auxiliary systems

The electric power equipment guarantees traction, the electric recovery and/or rheostatic brake and the power supply of the auxiliary circuits under the 3000-V electrified lines. These trains incorporate three-phase asynchronous motors, the use of a microprocessor for inverter control and GTO thyristors.

The electric power and control equipment of the train unit is installed entirely in each power car, and it consists of two electric traction and electric brake circuits, which are identical but function independently. Each traction and electric brake circuit is formed basically by a current capture system formed by a pantograph that collects the 3000-VDC current, a high-speed circuit breaker for protecting all the electrical equipment, an input filter consisting of condensers and reactors and two DC reactors.

It has two motor blocks each formed a DC reactor, a chopper that reduces the traction voltage and increases the braking voltage and two self-switching current inverters installed in a series. Each inverter feeds a traction motor, controlled by a control microprocessor. There is also specific equipment for the rheostatic electric brake, consisting of a chopper with a resistor block on the roof.

It likewise has a braking rheostat that dissipates the braking energy when it is not possible to recover it on the catenary because there are no other units under traction on the line at the same time. It has two motor bogies that each have two traction motors that are three-phase asynchronous with four poles and a squirrel cage rotor, cooled by forced ventilation. They each generate 435 kW of power, and there are two mechanical transmission units formed in turn by a reducer gear and a coupling.

In turn, the auxiliary equipment consists of a 3000-VDC/380VAC, 3-phase, 50-Hz/72-VDC static converter of 120/85 KVA per car (motor/trailer); one 72-VDC Ni-Cd battery with a capacity of 73/112 Amp/h per car (motor/trailer), which feeds the low-voltage electrical circuits and rescue lighting; and a main screw compressor for air production that is capable of producing 2000 litres/minute, plus an auxiliary compressor and an air dryer. There are climate control units located over the access vestibule, which provide cooling and heating to the access compartments.

Bogies and brakes

The bogies were designed to be convertible to international gauge through a simple operation. They have vertical and transversal dampers and yaw dampers and a system of torsion bars that gives the train great dynamic stability.

There are two bogies per car, with two axles each, solid wheels that are surface-tempered, journal boxes with conical roller bearings and elastic guiding by rods. Each power car has two bi-motor bogies (Bo type) with completely suspended asynchronous motors that are fastened to the central bolster of the bogie frame and a single reducer gear and elastic coupling. The primary suspension is formed by steel coil springs and dampers, while the secondary suspension uses air bags without a centre plate.

Each trailer car has two bearing bogies that are similar to the motor bogies, except for the traction elements (motor and mechanical transmission). The primary and secondary transmission is conceptually identical to that of the motor bogies. All axles have tachometers. The end axles incorporate a wheel flange lubrication system, sanders and a snow plough or rail guard.

Regarding the braking system, each train unit has an electric recovery and/or rheostatic brake, with preference of the former over the latter; an air brake; an electric and/or pneumatic service brake, blended type, with preference of the former over the latter; and a parking brake that acts on two wheels of each bogie, controlled by tie rod and independent cylinders regarding the motor bogies and accumulator spring blocks in the case of trailer bogies.

The service brake is combined, electrical and/or pneumatic, and it is applied through disks fitted on the axle bodies. It is activated by brake blocks, and it recovers energy to the extent the catenary allows.

Technical Specifications

Technical Specifications
Description Series 450 Series 451
Track gauge 1668 mm 1668 mm
Power supply voltage 3000 VDC 3000 VDC
Continuous load power 2960 kW 1480 kW
Motors 8, three-phase asynchronous 4, three-phase asynchronous
Maximum speed 140 Km/h 140 Km/h
Starting tractive force 320 KN 320 KN
Starting acceleration 0.62 m/s2 0.62 m/s2
Average acceleration between 0 and 60 km/h 0.50 m/s2 0.50 m/s2
Average acceleration between 0 and 140 km/h 0.25 m/s2 0.25 m/s2
Maximum deceleration 0.9 m/s2 0.9 m/s2
Starting on a ramp with maximum load 35‰ 35‰
Composition M-R-R-R-R-M M-R-Rc
Multiple composition 3 trains 3 trains
Access doors 24 12
Total seating capacity 1844 908
Seats 1008 498
Standing passenger capacity 836 410
Seats in the power car 128 128
Seats in the trailer car 188 188
Seats in the trailer car with a cab ---- 182
Standing passenger capacity in the power car 110 110
Standing passenger capacity in the trailer car 154 154
Standing passenger capacity in the trailer car with a cab ----- 146
Driving with pre-set speed
Units built 24 12

Capacity, weights and dimensions

Dimensions (mm)

Dimensions (mm)
Series 450 Series 451
Total train unit length 159,400 80,580
Power car length 26,900 26,900
Trailer car length 26,400 26,400
Trailer car with a cab length ---- 27,280
Exterior width 2926 2926
Maximum height over the track 4300 4300
Height of the floor of the vestibule over the track 1010 1010
Height of the lower floor over the track 355 355
Height of the upper floor over the track 2313 2313
Height of the compartments 1909 1909
Diameter of new wheel on the motor car 1020 1020
Diameter of new wheel on the trailer car 840 840
Wheelbase of the motor bogie 2650 2650
Wheelbase of the trailer bogie 2400 2400

Weights (t)

Weights (t)
Series 450 Series 451
Total tare 350,800 177,600
Power car tare 70,200 70,200
Rail car tare 52,600 52,600
Tare of trailer car with a cab ----- 54,800
Total laden weight 481,000 241,400

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