September 23, 2010

Alstom hybrid locomotives on course in Germany



DB Schenker Rail, the Mitteldeutsche Eisenbahngesellschaft (MEG) and Alstom signed an agreement on long-term testing of Alstom's hybrid shunting locomotives.

MEG, subsidiary company of DB Schenker Rail, will lease five hybrid locomotives from Alstom, with the option to purchase them at a later date. The hybrid locomotive, presented at Innotrans 2010, has been subjected to endurance tests since 2008 and these tests will be extended to another four locomotives by the end of 2011.

"We are pleased that our innovative concept of the hybrid locomotive enters the next phase. Alstom presented the prototype for the first time at Innotrans 2006. Today, we are starting the next round together with DB and MEG", said Klaus Hiller, head of the service and locomotives business at Alstom Transport Germany.

Hybrid technology, which can be used in all heavy shunting services, reduces fuel consumption by approximately 50 percent and is aimed at a Europe-wide market of several thousands of locomotives that are obsolete. With a top output of 600 kW, the locomotive has only a small diesel generator of 250 kW and draws the additional power from batteries that are recharged by the generator.

In pure battery operation, the locomotive is especially low in noise and vibrations, which is particularly advantageous for operation in tunnels or buildings. Thanks to its compact engine, it is also very silent when the generator is in operation.

In practice, the generator runs less than 50 percent of the service time while the large engine of conventional locomotives runs permanently and idles most of the time, according to Alstom.

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