VR invests in operational reliability and growth of freight traffic
VR Group has decided to buy 60 new diesel locomotives from Stadler. The value of the transaction is approximately EUR 200 million. The new locomotives will be mainly used in freight traffic. In addition to improving the efficiency of shunting work, they will boost operations on non-electrified railway sections. The new locomotives are also much more environmentally friendly and reliable than the ones currently in use. The new locomotive model acquired by VR will be tailored for the demanding climatic conditions of Finland.
The first new diesel locomotives will start operating in 2022 and the rest will be delivered to Finland by 2025. These locomotives will gradually replace the diesel locomotives manufactured in the 60s, 70s and 80s. The transaction also includes an option for 100 additional locomotives, as well as the possibility to buy locomotive maintenance from Stadler. The locomotives will be deployed for shunting work in shunting yards, cargo loading and unloading and for rail traffic on non-electrified railway sections.
“The new locomotives will benefit Finnish industry, as they will be mainly used in freight traffic. They will also improve the environmental friendliness of rail transport, as the new model clearly outperforms the old diesel locomotives in terms of emissions and energy efficiency. The investment is also an indication of VR’s strong ambition to improve the quality of customer service in freight traffic,” says VR Group’s President and CEO Rolf Jansson.
“Our strategy is to increase the share of energy-efficient electrically driven traffic in rail freight transport. However, the shunting yards and many freight loading and unloading tracks are non-electrified, so we also need diesel locomotives. We want our diesel locomotives to be new, modern, top-of-the-line locomotives in addition to being more efficient, safe and reliable. For customers, this means improved service reliability,” says Senior Vice President Martti Koskinen from VR Transpoint.
Diesel locomotives are still needed, as the majority of the shunting yard tracks, as well as about 45% of the Finnish railway network are non-electrified.
“The number of locomotives purchased at this point is 60, which is planned to cover our future need for diesel locomotives. We believe that the demand for diesel locomotives will drop from the current nearly 200 due to electrification of lines and the auxiliary diesel capability of our Sr3 locomotive. However, the acquisition includes an option for an additional 100 locomotives. Whether we will use this option depends largely on the rate of electrification of railway lines in the future,” comments Mr. Jansson.
Stadler has experience in demanding climatic conditions
The objective of this purchase agreement is to get a locomotive suitable for Finnish conditions. The locomotive is built to withstand the effects of snow and ice and it must operate at -40°C. Stadler has delivered equipment to the Nordic countries before, so the requirements of winter conditions are nothing new to them. For example, the FLIRT trains operated by HSL in the Helsinki metropolitan area are manufactured by Stadler.
“The supplier was selected after a thorough tendering process. Stadler was the winner in all areas. The price of the locomotives is good and in line with the market price level,” Jansson assures.
The agreement between VR Group and Stadler will be finalised during April. The manufacturing stage will start once the agreement is signed, followed by thorough testing and, finally, deployment.
- Total power: 1.9 MW with two 0.95 MW engines complying with the EU Stage V emission standards
- Maximum permissible speed: 120 kmph
- Weight: 88 tonnes
- Length: 18 metres
- Maximum tractive effort: 346 kN, capable of pulling a 2000-tonne train
- Built-in radio control equipment
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