Last mile and shunting: Bahn replaces old diesel locomotives in freight traffic

Last mile and shunting: Bahn replaces old diesel locomotives in freight traffic

Deutsche Bahn, DB Cargo’s freight subsidiary, has reaffirmed its goal of replacing all diesel locomotives with modern drives in the coming years. In this way DB wants to help achieve climate goals in the cargo transport sector. Accordingly, orders for hybrid engines or dual-powered engines were increased again at the end of the year. New vehicles should also streamline operations. In total, this is about the replacement of about 900 diesel engines.

According to DB Cargo, “Europe’s largest freight railway” already uses 95 percent of its traction power with climate-friendly electric locomotives. With the new locomotive, the “last mile” for the customer and other shunting services at the freight yard will be cleared.

“We are investing in our fleet of locomotives as we continue to grow. With state-of-the-art technology, we are helping to achieve climate goals in transportation. With our modernization program, approximately 14 million liters of diesel every year can be saved.” Sigrid Nicutta, DB board member for freight transport, says and head of DB Cargo.

Last-mile modernization also means that the fleet of locomotives can be reduced, as dual-powered locomotives, for example, do not need to be changed constantly when the route profile changes.

In 2020, DB Cargo has already signed a $1 billion deal with Siemens Mobility for new freight locomotives. Vectron dual mode locomotives can switch between conventional diesel and modern electric drive and can therefore be used on electrified track sections and branch lines without overhead lines – for example to drive at customer premises. The first 150 of these two-wheel drive engines are to be delivered in 2023.

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In fact only 100 locomotives were planned for the first delivery. Now the delivery has been increased to 150 vehicles. To this end, 46 additional locomotives will be equipped with modifications specific to the range of applications employed by DB Cargo, and the DB Railway Assembly Group will acquire four machines.

New orders at the end of the year include 50 innovative hybrid shunting locomotives from Vosloh Locomotives, which are said to have substantial engine power and state-of-the-art exhaust gas cleanliness. These could move freight trains weighing several thousand tons. The drive system has a modular structure and should be able to interchange components in the event of further development. 50 locomotives to be used by 2024.

The purchase of 100 Toshiba HDB 800 hybrid shunting engines is also pending. They are manufactured in Rostock. First deliveries are planned for 2024.


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