posted on 6th Dec 2023 08:37
On 28 September 2023, the MÁV Group signed a contract with Akiem for the lease of 15 Type ES64U2 locomotives in order to cover the growing passenger traffic. The Eurosprinters with a top speed of 160 km/h and a power of 6,400 kW are equipped with the ETCS OBU and are almost identical to the Tauruses already in service on Hungarian railways, ten of which are in service with MÁV-START (Class 470) and five with GYSEV (Class 470.5).
The first of the leased locomotives was 182 565. It was originally designated as ES64U2-065 and belonging to MRCE. This Taurus, along with other machines, came into the ownership of Akiem as part of the "sell-off" that followed the expiry of the lease contract between MRCE and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), after which MRCE decided not to renew the contract and the bank had to look for new users, which was already some foreshadowing of this year's full sale of MRCE to Beacon Rail Leasing.
The "new" locomotives have been in service since the second half of October, both on domestic IC lines and on EC trains to Wien. Some can also be used as replacements for the obsolete Class V43 locomotives (now Classes 431, 432 and 433) with a maximum speed of 120 km/h. By the end of November, ten Tauruses from Akiem were already in service: 182 562 - 565, 567, 569 - 571, 573 and 574.
These locomotives are approved for operation not only in Hungary, but also in Germany, Austria, Romania, Croatia and Serbia. From an external point of view, rather less comprehensibly, MÁV Rail Tours, a subsidiary of the MÁV Group, which organises nostalgic and extraordinary trips, has concluded the lease contract for the Hungarian side. MÁV-START is using the locomotives in question on the basis of an existing co-operation agreement with MÁV Rail Tours, which is reflected in the fact that this nostalgia-oriented company also has its logo on the Tauruses (small on the main frame, below the MÁV-START logo on the sidewalls).
Behind the described lease of locomotives can be traced the fact that the MÁV-START's plans for the arrival of brand-new locomotives in the form of 115 Vectrons, which were ordered in April 2022 and whose deliveries were to start in 2024, has ended. This contract has fallen victim to the political standoff between the Hungarian and German governments this May over Siemens deliveries to the Paks nuclear power plant, with the second, if not the main, aspect here being the lack of funding for the purchase of new locomotives (and planned Viaggio non-traction multiple units).