posted on 2nd Mar 2023 10:47
On 28 February 2023, ERA granted approval for Type E6MST Dragon 2, i. e. Polish Class ET43 locomotive. Approval is issued for operation in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. This came more than two years after the start of the necessary tests, which took place not only in Poland, but also at Velim test base and the public network in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The test program in the Czech Republic and Slovakia was managed by the Czech consulting company Ayudate.
PKP CARGO has ordered a batch of 24 locomotives of this version, in addition to the previously received seven 3 kV DC-only Class ET26 locomotives fitted with the Last Mile module, approved for operation in Poland only. The first twelve Class ET43s have already been granted authorisation for placing on the market, the next eight should follow very soon and the last four by May at the latest.
Their operation in the Czech Republic and Slovakia could happen very soon, as PKP CARGO INTERNATIONAL was already counting on their use there at the beginning of this year. Being 3/25 kV dual-voltage locomotives, they are very suitable for deployment in this region. In addition, unlike Poland, six-axle locomotives on the Czech and Slovak lines have become unfashionable in recent decades and this is the first case of a modern six-axle electric locomotive being approved for operation on their territory in about 30 years.
This trend stems from concerns about the impact of six-axle locomotives on the infrastructure, but this can be eliminated if the undercarriage is of a modern design reducing lateral forces. However this is not the case right for the Dragon, and so the locomotive has somewhat limited conditions for operation on the Czech and Slovak lines, with limited speed on sinuous sections and exclusion of operation on some sinuous lines, but these are only minor exceptions.