Short history of the MÁV Class V40 "Kandó" Electric locomotives

Part 3

The Successors

V60, the Freight Engine

V44, the High Speed Engine

V55, the after WW2 Engine

Bavill, the Electric Railcar

The end of the Converter Engines


V60, the Freight Engine

V60 kando loco minipicFor the heavy coal trains between Tatabánya and Budapest Mr. Kandó designed a freight version of the V40 locomotive. This was an engine with F (0-12-0) arrangement, six driven axles with smaller diameter wheels and without leading wheelsets. All other equipment was the same as on the V40, just the connecting rods had different spacing. As a result of the smaller wheels the cab was mounted lower, thus the pantographs were mounted on supports. Due to the small wheels the speed was also slower, the synchronous speeds were 16.5, 33, 50 and 66 km/h (10.3, 20.6, 31.2 and 41.2 mph). Because of their fast running short "legs" these locos were nicknamed as "Piglet".

Three of these engines were built. They were quite well performing machines, but it turned out that the V40 machines are almost as good for the same job, thus no more V60s were purchased.

V44, the High Speed Engine

Mr. Kandó was a highly regarded expert of the rod driven locomotives. In 1927 he was invited by Westinghouse to the US to solve the rod breaking problems of the Virginian RR. Class W2 locomotives, and he performed this job within a few months. But he knew too that the era of the rod-drive is over. Since the introduction of the Swiss Büchli-drive and its cheap and more reliable successors, the German Kleinow-Federtopf-Antrieb used in the German Class E04 and E18 electrics, and the similar Westinghouse drive system used in the US in the famous GG1s, it was clear that this is the solution for the future.

The modern drive systems however required small size traction motors, and the V40's 48 pole multiphase engine was not to be built smaller. It was obvious to use small, simple 3-phase asynchronous (induction) motors, but this way it was necessary to generate not only multi-phase but also multi-frequency traction current. This was possible when the successor of Mr. Kandó, Mr. Ratkovszky developed a machine, the frequency converter. They did not want to change the phase converter construction, thus the frequency converter was a separate machine.

It could not only produce different fixed frequency current, but by using rotating generation field it could change the frequency continuously. Despite of this feature the fluid resistor was necessary to start. The synchronous speeds - when the frequency converter had no counterrotating magnetic field - were 25, 50, 75, 100 and 125 km/h (15.6, 31.2, 47, 62.5 and 78.1 mph), the lover 4 same as those of the V40 loco.

V44 loco minpicThe new locomotive was a 2-Do-2 (4-8-4) construction, similar to the famous French designs. Ganz purchased a licence for the traction drive, but not the French engine's Büchli-drive, that required a certain level of constant maintenance, and not the easier-to-maintain German Kleinow-drive, but those of the Swiss Company Sècheron in Geneva. The cab styling was somehow similar to the German high speed locomotives E18 and E19.

Two prototype engines were built, they were ready to run in 1944. Despite of the war the first one performed on trials as many as 60'000 kilometers. When its frequency converter had a serious short during the tests, it was replaced by the converter of the second loco.

Late 1944, however, the Ganz Locomotive Factory was heavily bombarded by the allied forces, both new Class V44 engines on the yard were almost destroyed. After the war it was impossible to repair them. Another reason for their final scrapping might have been that their axle load was unusually high, almost 22 metric tons. This would have limited their application anyway to the Hegyeshalom line, and a line reconstruction would have also been necessary. After the war the trackage was in much worse state and no reconstruction for heavier loads seemed to be possible.

V55, the after WW2 Engine

MAV Class V55 converter engineThe destroyed catenary was quickly rebuilt after the war, and as soon as on October 8th 1945 the coal trains were alraedy hauled by Kandó locos from Tatabánya to Budapest. To replace the V44 prototypes destroyed in the war, Ganz decided to develop a new construction. It was influenced by the successful Swiss all wheel driven boogie designs. Due to the heavy phase converter a BoBo arrangement would have resulted in a too heavy axle load, thus they decided to build an unusual BoCo design, with one two axle boogie and one three axle one. The cab was now an all-welded box construction (monocoque design). They also kept the idea of separated phase and frequency converter, but gave up the continuous frequency regulation of the V44 prototypes, and returned to the fix speed service with fluid resistor acceleration. The synchronous speeds were the same as for the V44, 25, 50, 75, 100 and 125 km/h (15.6, 31.2, 47, 62.5 and 78.1 mph). The highest speed was however never achieved in revenue service as no tracks in Hungary allowed that time more than 100km/h (62.5mph), thus after the prototypes the locos were built without the 125km/h windings.

Two prototypes were built in 1950, and 10 other locos a few years later. They were rather unreliable engines. This was mainly due to the poor quality materials that were available for locomotive building in the early '50s in Hungary. They remained in service for a long time, but MÁV tried to avoid their application when it was possible. The old V40s remained on top of the trains.

Bavill, the Electric Railcar

In the early '40s an Electric Railcar was also developed. This was a difficult issue that time for high voltage catenary systems, as the transformer's and phase converter's large size and mass disabled them from building in a railcar.  The war prevented to build these machines, the framework was completed in 1944, but the electric equipment has never been built. In the '50s it was rebuilt with Ward-Leonard engine to study this traction method before building locomotives using the Ward-Leonard drive (MÁV Classes V41 and V42). The single prototype of the railcar made many trials, but never entered into revenue service.

The End of the Converter Engines

Mr. Kandó has chosen the catenary voltage 16kV mainly because of practical reasons. This was a widely used voltage with low frequency (16.66Hz) systems in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and performed well with 50Hz converter engines too.

The French SNCF performed many trials in the early '50s with 50Hz electric system. They compared AC converter and AC-DC converter (Ward-Leonard) engines with rectifier engines (they purchased the Ganz-Kandó licence to build the huge CC-14100 phase converter engine), and the winner was clearly the rectifier engine as a result of its much lower maintenance costs. It turned out, however, that the rectifier engines operate with a very poor power factor. This could only be reduced  to an acceptable level if the catenary voltage would be increased. That time the practical limit was about 25kV, and SNCF recommended this to the European Railway Union, UIC. This was accepted, and MÁV also decided in 1957 to follow this line. Although the first section of the second Hungarian line towards Miskolc was already electrified with 16kV, they continued the construction with 25kV. No loco was however available. The converter locos could not be retrofitted for the higher voltage, as this would require to rebuild the phase converter. Thus new locomotives were needed, that could operate under both 16kV and 25kV catenary.

MAV V42 electric loco minipicIn lack of experience with rectifiers, Ganz developed a system Ward-Leonard engine. In this system the main transformer supplies a single phase synchronous motor, that drives a DC generator. The traction motors are simple DC motors. This system is complicated and heavy, but allows dual voltage catenary by switching the main transformer's primary winding. Two Classes of locomotives were built, the 1100HP Class V41 and the similar 1350HP V42. Despite of their big mass and high maintenance costs some of them were in service until the late '90s.

V43 loco minipicTo solve the motive power problems MÁV decided to let develop a silicon rectifier locomotive abroad. This was made by a West-European Consortium, the "Society for 50Hz Electrification", with members from Sweden, Germany and France. The first 7 locomotives of the new V43 Class were built by AEG in Germany in 1963, after this Ganz purchased the licence with the production documentation and built 346 similar locomotives until 1988.

The catenary voltage on the Budapest-Hegyeshalom line was also changed for 25kV in 1968, and since that time no phase converter locomotives can run in Hungary. The last Kandó locomotive in service, the V60,003 was used as braking engine for steam and diesel locomotive tests up to 1976. Due to her phase converter she could regenerate the braking energy into the electric network, and due to her asynchronous traction motor she featured constant speed when braking.  After 1968, to continue these tests, one transformer station still could be switched to 16kV instead of the 25kV already standard that time. This activity continued until 1976, when the transformer station was rebuilt and the 16kV tap was removed.

One V40, the V40,016 is plinthed on the north side car park of the Budapest Keleti Railway station. The V60,003 is plinthed in the yard of the "Kálmán Kandó Main School for Electric Technology". V55,006 is kept in the yard of the Ganz Locomotive Plant in Budapest.


In Summer 1945 a French officier, member of the "Supervising Comity of the Allied Forces" visited in Budapest all former facilities, destroyed production sites, ruined workshops, where the Kandó locomotives were built and maintained. He was putting thorough questions concerning all aspects of the Hungarian 50Hz Electrification, and carefully noted all answers and remarks. This man was Mr. M.Armand, the later General Director of the French SNCF, probably the most important European promoter of the 50Hz Railway Electrification. He often mentioned his learnings in Hungary and always highly regarded Mr. Kandó's work.

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This page was updated last time on 30th August 2000
© János Erö