The electro-motive engines

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The FIVES-LILLE steam locomotives

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In 1886, the French builder "Compagnie de Fives-Lilles" was in charge of building all the rolling stocks and operating the line too. The French engineer Edmond ROY choosed a single-type of underframe, 3-axles type, with 2 axles said "radiant". He was the inventor of this special design, well adapted to narrow gauge cars.

Edmond ROY created 0-6-2 steam-tender-locomotives, in which the radiant axles acts like a bissel, facilitating the running of the engine in tight radius curves. This steam engines were running with the smoke stack behind, so that the engine driver would not be choked by the steam and firebox exhaust while passing through the tunnels.

The total weight of these locomotives was of 30 to 37 T; the horsepower was of 225 to 275 HP, varying from one series to another. The diameter of the motive wheels was one meter; all were equipped with non-automatic vacuum-brake.

These locomotives could haul more than 65 T (20 Km/h speed at grades). Coming down, the coal trains were 180 T weight, at 45 Km/h. Since 1909, the use of these locomotives was falling down, and the last remaining one went to scrappers in 1962.

The THURY electric locomotives

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These electric locomotives could now be said "revolutionary". Designed by the swiss engineer René THURY, and built by THURY works (Geneva, Switzerland, later SECHERON works - S.A.A.S.) they were the world first high DC voltage locomotives. At the beginning of the century, all the electrical locomotives were supplied with a maximum DC voltage of 600 V. René THURY choosed 2400 VDC voltage, shared in two thanks to a 3 wire system. Two single conductor lines were feeded under plus and minus 1200 VDC, and the rail fixed the null voltage point. So, a maximum value of 1200 V is applied (between any "hot point" and the ground).

The first locomotive "E1" (named "Le Drac") was delivered in 1903 at St Georges de Commiers. The mechanical elements was built by the "Compagnie Générale de Construction" de St Denis - France, and the electrical part of the job was built by THURY works. This BoBo-type locomotive was 50 T weight, and the 4 electrical motors rated 125 HP each one. Three differents brake systems were installed: screw actuated brake, vacuum brake, and dynamic (rheostatic) brake (upper-limit train weight : 150 T). At this time, traction motors were bulky, and could not be installed between the axles ; this explain why the THURY locomotives had two end-covers.

Four current collectors bows were set on the roof, quickly replaced by twin-arms pantographs. At slopes, the E1 could haul 20 empty coal-wagons (100 T). When coming down, the maximum speed was 22,5 Km/h (300 T coal trains). Four others machines were built by THURY and PINGUELY (France).

These five locomotives were remarkables, and confirmed THURY's technical choices up untill 1933. At this time, the SGLM received five new locomotives, and THURY's locomotives were removed from active service. Unfortunately, no one is now remaining (all were scrapped during the second world war, because of their steel).

The SECHERON electric locomotives

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In 1932, the SGLM reveived five brand new electrics, built by SECHERON works (Geneva, Switzerland), and the "Ateliers du Nord de la France". These Bo-Bo machines are 12 m long, 60 T weight, and the motive power is rated 920 HP.

SECHERON's can haul 360 ton-trains when coming down and 175 ton-trains at grades. When delivered, these locomotives could operate under two DC-voltage systems : first, +1200 VDC / 0 V / -1200 VDC (two single-conductors lines), and second, 0 V / +2400 VDC (one single-conductor line). On the roof were installed four twin-arm pantographs (two at each end).

Four differents brake systems were installed: screw brake, vacuum-brake, rheostatic brake, and electromagnetic brake show (clamping on the rail). At this time, they were "high tech" because of suspended motors and elastic transmission.

Re-numbered T6 to T10, they are still in service. Red-painted (CFF-like !), they now haul passenger-trains, in spite of more than a million of kilometers ride ! These "old ladies" are now among the oldiest narrow gauge electric locomotives (65 years old).

The THOMSON-BUIRE self-propelled electric cars

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In 1909 were ordered eight self-propelled electric cars, for the La Mure - Gap line section. These were designed for passenger trains and less than car load merchandise trains. THOMSON-BUIRE were rated 300 ton-trains at a minimum speed of 14 Km/h, and at a steady grade of 6.5 percent.

These electrics were 42 tons weight, and 16 m long. Each one of the four traction motor was 100 HP. They were designed and builded by the "Compagnie Française THOMSON-HOUSTON (later ALSTHOM)" (electrical part) and the "Chantiers de La Buire (France)" (méchanical part). The first one (A2) was delivered in 1913, and the last one in 1927.

All are now rattled or out of order. Numbers A1, A3 et A5 are preserved, but must be quite entierly re-build before operating.

The SWS electric power cars

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Between 1985 and 1993, the SGLM received 4 electric power cars, coming from the Nyon-St Cergue-Morez Railway (Switzerland). These were builded by Brown-Boveri (BBC - Switzerland), and SWS (Switzerland) between 1914 and 1918, and were in service till 1984.

Lenght 16,4 m
Height 4,15 m
Width 2,2 m

They are equipped with an air-brake, an electric-brake, and a screw-brake. Their capability is of 50 seats, and some have a luggage van.

They weigh 32 tons and each of the 4 traction motors is rated 100 HP. Designed for operation under 2200 VDC, these cars were modified receiving pantographs replacement, and additional resistors on the roof. Two of them (N° 1 and N° 5) are now in revenue service on the SGLM line.

The BRISSONNEAU & LOTZ electro-diesel locomotives

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In 1984, the Isère Department gives to the SGLM two thermic locomotives. These engines were kept in service until 1964 on the "Voies Ferrées du Dauphiné" (VFD), a single narrow gauge line (which has now disappeared). These engines (numbered T2 and T4) remained unused since 20 years, and were transfered to St Georges de Commiers to serve as assistance engines (in case of major electrical problems).

These engines are diesel-electric: designed and builded by the BRISSONNEAU et LOTZ works (Creil plant - France), they belong to a serie of ten machines buidlt near after the second world war. Of BoBo type, with a motive power of 600 HP, they can haul 300 ton-trains on level, or 120 ton-trains on a 12 percent grade.

They were equipped with two diesel prime movers (builder : RENAULT, 12-cylinders, 1500 rpm), and their highest speed was 60 Km/h. The total weight was 50 T, and they could operate in multiple units.

Two other engines (of the same type) are now in service: one on the "Chemin de Fer du Jura - C.J." (Switzerland), and another one on the "Chemin de Fer de La Provence - C.P." (France).

The T4 is now in working order, but not in operation.

The DECAUVILLE rail car

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In 1966 was delivered to the SGLM a heavy rail car, built by the DECAUVILLE works. Weight: 7 T, lenght: 7,1 m. Diesel engine (4 cylinders), with transmission on the two axles by chains. Capability: 18 persons.

This loco can haul loads at a maximum speed of 8 Km/h, such as:

240 T on the level
30 T gradient of 2,7%

Maximum speed: 50 Km/h. This car is now always in operation, used by the maintenance of way Department.

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