škoda 2024

ČD Cargo hires Vectron DM from Northrail

posted on 13th Apr 2024 13:04

At the beginning of April, ČD Cargo announced that it had hired one Vectron Dual Mode, namely 248 082, from Northrail, to be operated by its German branch. The hire is for a period of one year with an option to extend. Northrail is manager of the fleet acquired by the Paribus investment group.

ČD Cargo thus has for the first time ever a dual-power locomotive in its fleet, as opposed to the locomotives already in operation with a Last Mile module, which is suitable only for hauling to sidings, transshipment yards, etc. According to ČD Cargo, the new Vectron should be used, for example, in car or timber transport. In the eventual haulage of trains on the routes between the Czech Republic and Germany, it could facilitate the haulage via Domažlice, since on this route, Furth im Wald is the station dedicated for the handover of trains and can therefore be reached with a locomotive that has only Czech approval.

At the Cheb/Schirnding crossing it is the other way round (Cheb is the exchange station), and the Vectron DM type is not allowed to enter Cheb. It is basically unrealistic to negotiate the entry of a new type into the border station until a bilateral agreement between rail authorities of concerning countries (i. e. DÚ and EBA) is concluded, despite theoretical other possibilities. In Austria, these locomotives cannot yet be operated on main lines, as the Vectron DM type is only approved without ETCS OBUs, which in Austria means the impossibility of operating on lines fited with ETCS - the same reason that prevents the use of TRAXX3 MS locomotives in Austria.

For some time now, ČD Cargo has been declaring its interest in operating dual locomotives, but in the case of Vectrons DM, it would consider acquiring them only for the version equipped for operation on 15 and 25 kV voltages, which Siemens expects to have available (i. e. homologation included) in 2027.

The development of the EURODUAL type, or rather the quadruple-voltage EURO9000, is also being monitored, but the condition for starting the approval process is sufficient interest from operators operating on the Czech network. And it would also be useful for the manufacturer to ask the infrastructure manager to perform calculation for track classification for this type so that the operators know which lines they can count on them for.

On the Czech network, the classification of powered vehicles according to the effects of vertical forces is not determined by a simple proportion of weight and number of axles, or length, but by a calculation program that takes into account dynamic effects on the basis of several parameters (although Správa železnic is already considering switching to the aforementioned standard system).

In June 2021, Paribus Rail Investment Management concluded a framework contract with Siemens Mobility for 30 Vectron DM locomotives, including full-service maintenance for up to 20 years. In the end, the company consequently firmly ordered all 30, with deliveries starting in 2022 and now nearing completion. As Northrail pointed out without further detail when asked by us, ten more locomotives of this type have been ordered in the meantime. Formally, all these locomotives are owned by RRL - RIVE Rail Leasing Limited 5, a company registered in Ireland and being a part of the Paribus Group.

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