Great Southern Railway

Power & Drive Solutions managed and implemented the upgrade of 28 1950‘s diesel engines contained within the 10 power vans for the Ghan and Indian Pacific trains with new control systems and updated diesel engines.

The upgrade was performed over a 2 year period and involved the decommissioning of the old engines, retro fit of the new 225 kVA engines and control systems, and commissioning of the new evolution.


The challenge was to design and introduce a control system that would operate continuously without an attendant engineer, with reliability being paramount given the huge distances the trains cover.


The final product allowed for the trains to run the power supplies on one engine instead of two (or three) on a common bus. In the interests of maintaining a manageable maintenance program, the engines were also “Run As Equalling” to enable better service scheduling so they are never more than 8 hours of run time apart across the three engines. The ComAp control system introduced also allowed for better engine monitoring through a Tetracom satellite connection to the VPN at United Rail Group. This translated to a 27% saving in fuel costs.