Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Transit Gearbox for Urban Rail(ST6433)

Alstrom Transportation, Inc.


As congestion in metropolitan New York continues to rise, and the commuter/light rail fleets age, it is clear that new rail systems need to provide more effective and efficient performance to keep pace with growing needs. An area needing improvement is the propulsion system, which consume the vast majority of energy in transit operations. However, systems developed by Alstom for use in Europe require customization for North American operations, and some components must meet the more stringent North American standards.

Map Error

Project Description

The objective was to adapt Alstom's advanced European AC propulsion system for North American use by developing a gearbox to couple the advanced high-efficiency AC motor with the rail car. The first phase of the project comprised the conceptual design, requirements definition, preliminary design, and detailed design of prototype systems. The second phase achieved the fabrication and initial testing of full-scale prototype units. The final phase comprised extended test stand testing in parallel with a one-year field test on a New York City transit rail car.


Use of the high-efficiency AC systems will improve the overall energy efficiency of the transit system as well as reduce maintenance costs, compared to existing DC-drive systems. This project will also result in increased NYS content of the drive system, as a component currently not manufactured in NYS (gear box) will become a NYS product.

Project Results

The project was very successful. The gearbox was incorporated in Alstom's R160 Railcar design, and helped allow them to win a production contract for over 1,000 of the railcars, using over 4,000 gearboxes. Alstom used Renold Ajax of Westfield, NY as its gearbox manufacturing subcontractor.


Alstrom Transportation, Inc.
1 Transit Dr
Hornell, NY 14843

Principle Investigator

Richard Downer

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Product Development

Technologies Types:


NYSERDA Contact Information

Frank Ralbovsky


R&D -Transport & Power Systems

Contract Details

Start Date: 11/29/2000
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST6433

Last Updated: 9/2/2014 3