A framework agreement has been signed between Rail Operations UK Ltd and train manufacturer Stadler to bring tri-mode Class 93 locomotives to the UK.
Supporting the rail decarbonisation project in the UK, thirty Bo-Bo locomotives will be built by Stadler.
We spoke to Camilla Mirza, from Rail Operations UK Ltd, who said that the new Class 93s are “capable of being used on the entire UK rail network” so they will be seen operating up and down England, Wales and Scotland.
RailAdvent has also spoken to Andreas Petrosino, from Stadler, who said that they will be building the new Class 93s at their manufacturing plant in Valencia, Spain.
Do the 93s look familiar? They are based on the same platform that the Class 68s and 88s are based on, which Stadler built for Beacon Rail and Direct Rail Services between 2013-2017 and 2015-2016 respectively, and these are in operation on freight services for DRS as well as passenger services with Chiltern Railways and TransPennine Express.
The first Class 93s are due to be delivered to Rail Operations UK Ltd during 2023, and Camilla Mirza told us they should enter service “immediately following testing and approval”
A “significant” reduction in CO2 emissions is to be expected by the new tri-mode locomotives. Camilla Mirza also told us that the locomotives will be classed as a mixed-traffic locomotive so could be seen operating any type of train that is needed, be it freight trains, rolling stock movements, or passenger trains.
Iñigo Parra, CEO Stadler Valencia said in the press release that “The innovative and cost-effective solution will provide environmentally-friendly rail transport services, supporting national decarbonisation strategies and promoting modal shift to rail”.
Stadler’s new tri-mode, the first kind that they have built, will be rated up to 110mph, rather than the 100mph max speed that the Class 68s and 88s have.
Chief Executive Officer at Rail Operations (UK) Ltd, Karl Watts, says that the Class 93s will allow ROUK Ltd to ‘lead the way’ in meeting the UK’s decarbonisation targets.
Karl also said that the new locomotives allowed the ROUK, which has just been taken over by STAR Capital Partnership, to ‘modernise many aspects’ of UK operations and also helps Rail Operations UK Ltd to ‘develop’ new markets.
While the 68s and 88s have Caterpillar C175-6 and Caterpillar C27 engines respectively, the Class 93s will be built with Caterpillar C32 engines along with traction battery packs made of Lithium Titanate Oxide, which will allow the locomotives to run on non-electrified lines. If operating on electrified lines, the locomotive will be able to take advantage of overhead lines, just like the Class 88s.
The 1,200hp diesel engines will be boosted by the 536hp battery packs when running in hybrid mode and this additionally allows for carbon-free shunting.
Rail Operations Group currently have a fleet of Class 37s (37510, 37601, 37608, 37611, 37800, 37884 and 37901 – the latter hasn’t worked for Rail Operations Group yet) and Class 47s (47812 – 813, 47815, 47843, 47847 – 848) which currently operate alongside a fleet of Class 57 locomotives (57301, 57305, 57310, 57312) which are currently on long term loan from Direct Rail Services.
Camilla Mirza told RailAdvent that “No decision has been made on the continued operation of the classic locomotive fleet” once the Class 93s (93001 – 93030) enter service.
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