Bombardier locomotives - The industrial evolution                                                         
Technological evolution
Before continuing toward Octeon platform, it is interesting to see where we are about electric power train. The years 90-2000 have indeed seen a simplification and the standardization of multi-purpose tensile components now fitted on trams, locomotives, metro and Emus. This technological aspect led Bombardier, and its competitors, to update their industrial production to a dedicated platform by product (tram, metro, cars, locomotive, wagon ...). That led to a network of specialized factories which allows each to offer modular concepts while maintaining a high degree of "tailored" product according to the needs of the customer. So it is the German factory in Kassel which has become the dedicated factory of the Octeon platform, and then of the TRAXX platform.

Side "electricity", the GTO became the norm while the asynchronous motor is continuing to impose. The electric power train now includes a generalisation of current converters, which breaks down the technical barriers between 1.5 and 3kV DC, and 15 and 25kV AC. The axles and their respective motors are now controlled individually to prevent slippage and the control of the electric power train relies heavily on power electronics.

Industrial evolution
The other trend is the drastic reconfiguration of the industrial landscape of rail manufacturers. All medium-sized companies have either disappeared or have been merged. The example of merging of AEG with ABB-Henschel has given birth to ADtranz until this latter was in turn absorbed in 2001 by Bombardier Transportation for US $ 711 million. The Canadian company thus became the first railway rolling stock provider. This has reconfigured dramatically the trade relationships with the railways.

Today products are sold by catalogue,or nearly. When taking into account the needs of his customers, about the locomotive which will be proposed, Bombardier integrates all the parameters of the network, the profile and geometry of the track, and of course the train services which are contemplated. The type of locomotive can vary depending the train service, passenger or freight, modifying the selling price (no heating component needed for a freight train, speed limits...)
Evolution of the railway landscape












The least one can say is that the railway landscape has changed ! Since Europe gets involved from 1992, rail operators, infrastructure managers and manufacturers have their own role to play by focusing on their own business: transportation for some, the network management for others. To this is added some independent third-party agencies to approve a comprehensive railway package, primarily for the rolling stock. A fourth railway package is still on track on the European Commission in order to reduce the rolling stock homologation which takes today too much time.
Now, what are manufacturers which are responsible of turnkey productions, such as facilities or fully validated systems, developed and approved. Operators today ask products under warranty "RAMS" (Reliability, Availability, Maintenance and Safety), from the kilometer zero, immediately upon receipt. This evolution makes need the industry to build upon expertise from some external agencies, and to comply with TSI as well as the ETCS signaling system.
The main factory of TRAXX, at Kassel, Germany (photo from press room of Bombardier with free access)