Two-stroke cycle and four-stroke cycle diesel engines are in use in rail traction, with the four-stroke cycle design dominating the field. Cycle simulations using computer programs have shown that the conventional two-stroke cycle is somewhat inferior to its four-stroke cycle counterpart in combustion efficiency and thermal loading. Research at Sulzer concluded that the conventional two-stroke cycle engine is not very suitable for locomotive application. A survey by Ricardos, based on an investigation of engines in current production for traction application, suggested that there are potentials in two-stroke cycle design. This paper presents a summary of the results of a research project concerned with comparison of two well-proven typical locomotive diesel engines, one with a two-stroke cycle and the other with a four-stroke cycle. Performance, mechanical loading, thermal loading, and vibration were chosen as parameters to be investigated to provide information on the status of the two cycles in relation to power range, fuel consumption, reliability, and durability, with a view to assisting the users of locomotive engines to make the correct choice.

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