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FGC takes delivery of new electro-diesels

posted on 1st Jun 2023 15:34

On 4 May 2023 Juli Fernàndez i Olivares, the Catalan Minister for the Interior, and FGC President, Toni Segarra i Barreto, were present at the putting into service of the first two of the five new Class 257 electro-diesel locomotives (257.01 and 02) ordered from Stadler Rail Valencia. The remaining three (257.03 to 05) are currently still undergoing tests.

The quintet were ordered on 3 January 2020, at a cost of 36.3 million EUR, this price including VAT and spare parts. Delivery was then specified to take place 27 months following contract signing - in other words, in April 2022. However, the pandemic then resulted in the contract being modified in September 2020, so that the first locomotive could be handed over on 30 June 2022, and the remainder during August that year. Further contract modifications then took place, one to enable the locomotives to be fitted with an automatic change-over system between diesel and electric mode, the other to result in the installation of the on-board equipment necessary for the FAP Digital train control system (used by both FGC and FGV on their busy suburban lines). 

257.01 was delivered to Martorell depot on 29 July 2022, and 257.02 on 13 December that year. Both 03 and 04 arrived there during April 2023, while 05 was by then undergoing testing at Albuixech, with delivery pending. The design of these metre gauge locomotives is based on the SALI trio sold to the Empresa Ferroviaria Andina in 2019, also metre gauge machines. They are 20 m long, weigh around 90 tonnes, and are rated at 2,000 kW when in electric mode, operating off 1.5 kV DC, and 950 kW in diesel mode, which will be used between Martorell and Suria, and also within the port complex in Barcelona. They will be capable of hauling rakes of 24 wagons, with a trailing load of 1,440 tonnes.  

The 257s will replace FGC's three Class 254 diesels,  which were built by MACOSA in 1990. Rated at 1,119 kW, these Type GM JT 18 LC 2 D machines are capable of hauling rakes of 20 wagons, with a trailing load of 1,200 tonnes.

One freight duty for which the 257s are intended is the transport of vacuum salt and potash between the loading installations at Súria, north of Martorell, and the salt mining company ICL Iberia's new 77 million EUR Álvarez de la Campa terminal within the port complex in Barcelona. This traffic, for which FGC signed a 30-year contract, is likely to increase in the near future as ICL Iberia expands production at the Cabanasses mine. In anticipation of this, 66 new hopper wagons were ordered for 13.2 million EUR to cope with up to 4 million tonnes of freight annually. In 2018 the salt/potash traffic generated around 400,000 tonnes, but not all could be handled by rail. There were also around 95,000 HGV movements between Cabanasses and Barcelona port. 

The other freight duty for the 257s will be the transport of new cars from the SEAT factory in Martorell to Barcelona port. This service, branded Autometro, has been operating since 2008, and by 2018 was moving on average 105,000 cars per annum, eliminating around 25,000 road-based movements between these two locations. The rakes of two-deck car transporter wagons are 411 m long, and can load up to 170 cars each. 


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