Alstom Prima diesel locomotives

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CFS Alstom-Lokomotive Prima DE 32 C AC.jpg
A Syrian Railways Prima DE 32 AC
Type and origin
Power type Diesel
Builder Alstom with engine from EMD or Ruston
Except BB 47500: Alstom / Siemens with engine from MTU
Transmission Diesel electric

The Prima Diesel-electric locomotives are a class of medium and heavy, four- and six-axle, passenger and freight mainline locomotives.[1] They have been built both to 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard and 1,668 mm (5 ft 5 2132 in) broad gauges, and find use in the Middle East, Europe and North America. Alstom is the primary designer in cooperation with both General Motors (now EMD) and Siemens.


AD32C Locomotive (M9) Operated By Sri Lanka Railways

Initially the Prima locomotives were electric only, with the technology demonstrator and test platform being built in 2002[2] in Belfort France by Alstom. Next came the Prima 6000 technology demonstrator; this too was an electric locomotive, with 6000 kW of power and primarily intended to test and demonstrate multi-voltage operations for European cross-border operations.[3] Orders for the Prima electrics came, mostly from SNCF.

A series of diesel locomotives also associated with the Prima name were also built. These were the General Motors (GM)-engined machines built by Alstom at its Spanish plant in Valencia, and Ruston-engined locomotives built in Belfort, France.

The Valencia plant was sold to Vossloh in 2004. Locomotives continued to be built there using EMD engines and electrical transmission systems - including almost total rebuilds of the RENFE 333 class. Vossloh changed the names of the products produced there to the "Vossloh Euro" platform[4] (see Vossloh Euro locomotives) and the end came of the association of the Valencia plant with the Prima name.[5]

Also produced in the 1990s were Prima diesels countries outside Europe. The DE32C was produced for Chemins de Fer Syriens in Syria, and Sri Lanka received 10 locomotives which it designated M9 class. A DE43C model was exported to Iran (AD43C[6]). Nevertheless, the Euro 3000 and Euro 4000 products produced at Vossloh España continue to show similarities with the earlier Prima products[5]—such as the centrally located driver position with radially located controls, the single drivers window, and general body shape and design of the rigid body shell.

Alstom and Siemens collaborated to produce the BB 75000 diesel, which has received orders for at least 400 locomotives from SNCF with a possibility of 100 more. A Siemens/Alstom BB 75000 mock-up was unveiled on 25 March 2004,[7] The first locomotive was produced in 2006.

In 2008 Alstom unveiled the 'Prima II' platform;[8] diesel versions are to be offered,[9] so it is expected that further models of the Prima diesel locomotive family will appear.


The Prima type locomotives built at Alstom's Valencia plant were engined with General motors engines; in fact the entire power train - engine, generator, electronics and motors were supplied by General Motors for the Valencia built Primas. For the locomotives built in France - primarily those exported outside Europe Ruston engines were used. The Prima diesels for SNCF Fret used MTU engines.

Modern innovations in the Prima class included - a centrally located drivers seat with ergonomically arranged controls, a monocoque rigid bodyshell.

The BB 75000 retains the Prima appearance - the single window, drivers position, body design, but the 'innards' are supplied by Siemens, the engine from Caterpiller.


Type Operator
Engine UIC
Build date Notes
JT 42BW Israel Railways EMD 710 V12 Bo'Bo' 140 48 1996-2006 Primarily passenger use
JT 42CW Israel Railways EMD 710 V12 Co'Co' 110 8 1996 Primarily freight use
AD 32C Sri Lanka Railways (M9) Ruston RK 215 V12 Co'Co' 110 10 1997-2000 1676mm gauge.[citation needed] Engine de-rated from 3220 hp to 1800 hp
DE 32 C AC Syrian Railways
Ruston RK 215 V12 Co'Co' 120 30 1999 Built for Syrian Railways, 2,160 kW (2,900 hp) of power at wheel.[10] Also referred to as AD 33.[11]
(Class 67)
EMD 710 V12 Bo'Bo' 200 30 1999-2000 Mixed use
DE 43 C AC Iranian Railways
Ruston RK 215 V16 Co'Co' 110 100 2000-2009 A passenger version is specified with a 150 km/h top speed. First 20 units built by Alstom, remainder by Wagon Pars, Iran
PL42AC NJT EMD 710 V16 Bo'Bo' 160 33 2003-2006 Single ended machines for passenger use
Class 333.3 RENFE EMD 645 V16 Co'Co 120 92 2000-2005 1668mm gauge. Rebuilt from 1970s Macosa built, NOHAB design, EMD engined RENFE 333 - only EMD 645 engine plus generator retained
Class 333.4 RENFE EMD 645 V16 Co'Co 160 8 2003- 1668mm gauge. Rebuilt from RENFE 333.3 subclass for higher speed use on passenger services
(BB 75000)
MTU 4000 R41 16V Bo'Bo' 120 400 2006-2015 Collaboration between Alstom and Siemens (approx. 60:40 split). Based on design elements of SNCF BB 27000 'Prima' (bodyshell) and 2016 'Eurorunner' (traction equipment). Engine is from MTU as per Rh 2016
Sources - see individual articles (linked first column), except where noted

RENFE 334[edit]

These were the last of the Valencia-built Prima locomotives and technically should be considered part of the Vossloh Euro series of locomotives since they came off the production line after 2004. Built for passenger work on non-electrified lines in Spain, and were intended to replace older Class 333s.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]