SP47-001, on static display at Kościerzyna locomotive heritage park; photo taken in August 2000
SP47 in its original variant; side drawing by M.Ćwikła from the monograph given in references.
Another picture of the SP47-001: Giżycko, May 3, 1997 (a few days before withdrawal). Photo by Marek Niemiec (from my collection).
SP47-001 once again: Kościerzyna, September 23, 2013.
SP47-002 in the PKP fleet, location and date unknown. Photo from my collection.
SP45 was the first mainline diesel locomotive built in Poland. Fitted with a 1700 hp engine, however, it soon proved too weak for heavier passenger drafts and a need for a stronger machine became obvious. In March 1972, requirements were drawn up at Cegielski (HCP) of Poznań for its more powerful derivative (factory type 303D), with up-rated W2112SSF engine, which later materialized as SU46. Almost in parallel, a concept was developed for an even more powerful diesel locomotive in the 3000 hp class in two variants: passenger (maximum speed 140 km/h) and freight (120 km/h). They differed in reduction gear ratio and engine suspension, but shared the 2116SSF diesel engine and AC electric transmission – then a novelty in Polish locomotive industry.
2116SSF was a 16-cylinder development of the 2112SSF V-12 unit, built under FIAT license and used in SP45. Rated power was 3000 hp. New locomotive drew on experience with SU46, which appeared in late 1974, and was similar in external appearance, but longer by 1190 mm. Trucks were almost identical, with the same axle base, but it was decided to use (in the passenger variant only) special wheelsets with elastic rubber insets, supplied by Swedish SAB (Svenska Actienbolaget Bromsregulator) company. Axle load increased from 17.5 to 19 tonnes, but anyway new locomotive was intended for main lines.
Work on two prototypes (factory type 302D) began in 1974 and at an early stage it was decided to complete both in the passenger variant. First example, designated SP47-001 (s/n 270/1975) was outshopped in November 1975 and soon began test runs. Results were basically satisfactory, apart from some problems with the main generator. Here, however, politics intervened. HCP had been obliged to commence production of heavy twin-section electric locomotives (PKP class ET41) and heavy line diesels were to be imported, of course mainly from the USSR. Certainly freight version of the SP47 (factory type 202D), which in fact never materialized, would have been superior both to ST43 and ST44, but priorities were elsewhere. The company managed to complete the second SP47-002 (s/n 310/1977) in June 1977 and even intended to build a batch of ten machines, but final decision was taken next August and further development of diesel locomotives at HCP was definitely terminated.
Two SP47s were used by PKP, but their service was comparatively short. Being the longest diesel locomotives in Poland, they had problems with matching existing turntables and servicing facilities. SP47-001 logged slightly over 600,000 km; after a serious engine failure in May 1997 it was never restored in service and in 2000 was transferred to the Kościerzyna locomotive heritage park, where it still remains on static display. SP47-002 was re-engined in 1990 and suffered crankshaft fracture in May 1991. As no replacement engine was available (only three 2116SSF engines were built before the entire program was terminated), this locomotive was written off in 1998 and finally scrapped three years later.
SP47 was the most powerful and most modern diesel locomotive ever designed and built in Poland – but also the last one. In 1980, HCP won a contract for 80 diesel locomotives for Syrian state railways CFS (Chemins de Fer Syriens) with type 306D, developed from 302D. This machine retained the 2116SSF engine, was slightly shorter and had no car heating equipment, but otherwise differed mainly in details. Due to Soviet pressure on Syria (in late 1980 Poland was certainly the ‘black sheep’ among Soviet allies), this contract was first cut by half and finally cancelled in early 1981. CFS purchased Soviet TE114 diesels instead. Type 306D was thus discontinued and no prototype was built. Further plans for heavy line diesels, with either FIAT or SEMT-Pielstick engines, did not progress beyond preliminary studies.
Main technical data
1) Data from various sources are not unequivocal.
2) In service set at 120 km/h.
References and acknowledgments
Most comprehensive technical and historical account of this class can be found in the monograph HCP Diesel Locomotives, Classes SP45, SU46, SP47 by Marek Ćwikła and Paweł Terczyński (Kolpress, 2004)