The Anonymous Widower

GB Railfreight Plans Order For Future-Proofed Bi-Mode Locomotives

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

This is the introductory paragraph.

GB Railfreight is planning to order a fleet of main line electro-diesel locomotives with a modular design which would facilitate future replacement of the diesel engine with a battery or hydrogen fuel cell module.

The rest of the article gives clues to the deal and the specification of the locomotives.

  • Negotiations appear to have started with Stadler for locomotives to be built at their Valencia plant.
  • Twenty locomotives could be ordered initially, with options for thirty.
  • The locomotive will be Co-Co bi-modes.
  • The diesel engine will be for heavy main line freight and not just last-mile operations.
  • They would be capable of hauling freight trains between Ipswich and Felixstowe, within two minutes of the times of a Class 66 locomotive.
  • They will be of a modular design, so that in the future, the diesel engine might be replaced by a battery or fuel cells as required and possible.

They have provisionally been called Class 99 locomotives.

These are my thoughts.

EuroDual or UKLight?

Stadler make two types of bi-mode locomotives.

But the two types are closely related and open up other possibilities.

This paragraph from the Eurolight wikipedia entry, explains the various versions.

The type has been intentionally developed to support use on secondary lines without limiting power or speed performances, making it suitable for mixed traffic operations. Specific versions of the Eurolight have been developed for the United Kingdom market, and a 6-axle Co’Co’ machine for narrow gauge Asian markets, named UKLight and AsiaLight respectively. Furthermore, an electro-diesel locomotive derivative of the UKLight that shares much of its design, referred to as the Stadler Euro Dual, has also been developed and introduced during the late 2010s.

It looks like the customer can get the locomotive they want.

GB Railfreight would probably need locomotives to this specification.

  • Slightly narrower than a EuroDual, to fit the UK loading gauge.
  • Three-axle bogies to handle the weight of the larger locomotive.
  • A body bigger than the UK Light to be large enough for the diesel engine.
  • It would probably help if the locomotive could go anywhere that a Class 92 locomotive could go, so it could handle their duties if required.

This leads me to the conclusion that GB Railfreight will get a slightly narrower EuroDual.

Weight Issues

The weights of various locomotives are as follows.

  • Class 66 Locomotive – 129.6 tonnes
  • Euro Dual – 126 tonnes
  • Class 90 Locomotive – 84.5 tonnes
  • Class 92 Locomotive – 126 tonnes

All locomotives have six axles, except for the Class 90 Locomotive which has four.

I don’t think there will be any weight issues.

Power On Electricity

These are the power of the locomotives on electricity.

  • Class 66 Locomotive – Not Applicable
  • Euro Dual – Up to 7 MW
  • Class 90 Locomotive – 3.7 MW
  • Class 92 Locomotive – 5 MW

GB Railfreight can probably have what power is best for their routes.

Operating Speed On Electricity

These are the power of the locomotives on electricity.

  • Class 66 Locomotive – Not Applicable
  • Euro Dual – 100 mph
  • Class 90 Locomotive – 110 mph
  • Class 92 Locomotive – 87 mph

GB Railfreight can probably have what power is best for their routes, but I suspect they’d want it to be as fast as a Class 90 locomotive.

Power On Diesel

These are the power of the locomotives on diesel.

  • Class 66 Locomotive – 2.5 MW
  • Euro Dual – Up to 2.8 MW
  • Class 90 Locomotive – Not Applicable
  • Class 92 Locomotive – Not Applicable

To be able to handle trains, that a Class 66 locomotive is able to, 2.5 MW would probably suffice.

Could The Locomotives Use The Channel Tunnel?

I suspect that diesel locomotives are not liked in the Channel Tunnel because of all that flammable diesel.

But in the future, when there is a battery-electric variant, I would suspect that would be allowed.

In UK To France Automotive Train Service Launched, I talked about Toyota’s new service between Toton in England and Valenciennes in France via the Channel Tunnel. A locomotive with sufficient battery range might be ideal for this service, if it could handle the Market Harborough and Toton section, which is likely to be without electrification for some years.

Will The Locomotives Have Third Rail Shoes?

If their power on electricity is such that they can stand in for Class 92 locomotives, then there may be a need to fit all or some of the locomotives with third rail shoes.

As an example, they might be useful in taking freight trains to and from Southampton or the Channel Tunnel.

Conclusion

I feel that, as the locomotive must fit current routes and schedules, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the following specification.

  • UK loading gauge.
  • Co-Co
  • Class 90 locomotive power and operating speed on electricity of 3.7 MW and 110 mph.
  • Class 66 locomotive power and operating speed on diesel of 2.5 MW and 75 mph.
  • Ability to change between electric and diesel power at speed.
  • Ability to haul a heavy freight train out of Felixstowe.
  • Ability to haul passenger trains.

Stadler will have one eye on the fact, that if they get this design right, this order for up to fifty locomotives could be just the start.

It certainly seems a locomotive designed for the UK’s railway system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 3, 2022 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , ,

5 Comments »

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