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Hired to Colas Rail on an as-needed basis, GBRf 66723 passes Paddock Wood working a diverted 6Y42 Hoo Junction - Eastleigh Yard with Balfour Beatty Crane (DRK81602) in tow.

(Adam McMillan)

Another week, another new Thameslink Desiro City on transfer. On August 23, Europorte 4002 brought the brand new 700018 to Calais. It was delivered to the UK a day later.

(Nicolas Beyaert)

Only a few days left, so take your chance: we offer a 33% discount on all three large Railcolor posters. Every combination is possible. Just because it is summer, summer color! This action will run until 31.08.2016.

InnoTrans in Berlin is big, so a map is not a luxury. This year InnoTrans has published an interactive floor plan, on which you can already see the companies presenting themselves at the trade fair. More interesting to our visitors is, we think, the interactive map of the outdoor exhibition area. Which vehicles will be presented and where will they be? You can now find every train at InnoTrans 2016 here. (Note that there can be last-minute changes, surprises, etc...)

Our first conclusions: A lot of yellow: many construction vehicles, many rail inspection trains. No Bombardier indeed. More freight cars than before? And Skoda needs a lot of space for its 102 series locomotive... will there be a complete NIM express train? There will be something from CZ LOKO and Vossloh will present its G 6 and DE 18 again. Shunters of Schalke and Express Service will be there. Futhermore, we can see Alstom and its fuel-cell train, the ÖBB 1063 series hybrid, Gmeinder DE60C hybrid, Stadler's UK DUAL hybrid, Alstom's Metrans H3 hybrid, Finland Vectron Hybrid...

The dynamic ETCS trials with VFLI EURO 4000 locomotive E4049 on the Belgian Athus-Meuse line have started. The image shows the locomotive passing Paliseul during one of the test runs on August

(Jean-François Polet)

After contracts for the modernization of ČME3 and 2M62U locomotives in recent years, CZ LOKO has now signed an agreement for the development of fuel cell locomotives with the Latvian railway company. The deal, which was signed on August 11, covers the rebuilding of a ČME3 shunting locomotive with fuel cells produced by Ballard Power Systems.

CZ LOKO will be responsible for both the design work and the provision of components, but the rebuilding process itself will take place at an LDz workshop. The result will be a locomotive without local exhaust emissions and reduced noise and vibration.

Related sections:

VFLI's brand new E4049 has arrived in Belgium for a series of trials on the Athus-Meuse line. The trials are being held to test the locomotive's ETCS equipment, which will also be on board of E4050 and E4051. The picture above shows the French Class eldest and youngest together in Roux, Belgium on August 12.

(Terrence Labar)

Croatia is booming. More and more railfreight operators are discovering the opportunities that the country can offer. Think of the Rail Cargo Group, PPD Transport and MMV from Hungary for example. As of early August, also the Croatian subsidiary of Austria based RAIL & SEA operates freight trains in the country.

To perform its Croatian operations, RAIL & SEA has hired Beacon Rail blue EuroRunner locomotive 223-003. The loco is currently employed on the calcite services Gospić - Zagreb - Dobova - Gospić. Together with RAIL & SEA, mgw and the Croatian authorities, Beacon Rail has worked hard to add Croatia to the country package of the ER20 locomotive. The video above shows the locomotive on the first train operated by RAIL & SEA in Croatia.

Rail&Sea is the first and only independent railway company operating on the Lika line, known because of steep ascents and small radius curves. Rail&Sea calcite trains are normally split in Oštarije into two lighter trains, enabling the single ER20 to haul them through Rudopolje to Gospić. The same operation is usual for the return trip.

(Toma Bacic)

On August 16, Europorte 4002 passed Morbecque with another Desiro City destined for service on the Thameslink route in the UK. The unit in question was 700 101, a twelve-car set.

(Nicolas Beyaert)

Siemens has commenced tests with its SC-44 Charger diesel locomotives at the Transportation Technology question has the number 4601 and is destined for the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to which it will be delivered later this year. At Pueblo, a variety of tests and validation exercises are performed, including test runs up to 200km/h (125mph), acceleration and braking tests and testing of the overall performance capabilities. The tests are performed with four Kawasaki built MARC III double-deck coaches that are temporary on loan from MARC (Maryland Area Regional Commuter).

Related sections:
SiemensChargerCharger: IDOT

Another Direct Rail Services Class 66 has received a paint job. The image shows the fresh looking DRS 66425 at London Clapham Junction with 5Z68 Eastleigh - Willesden Brent. DRS 66428 is the only DRS operated Class 66/4 not carrying the new basic Class 66 livery now. Of the 66/3 subclass, DRS has five locomotives in operation: 66301-305. These locomotives have not been restyled either and still carry the old compass livery.

(Adam McMillan / Malcolm Fleming)

A new eight-car Thameslink train is on its way to the UK. On August 9, Europorte 4002 passes Morbecque bringing Desiro City 700014 from Forbach to Calais-Fréthun.

(Nicolas Beyaert)

Some time ago, GB Railfreight auctioned off the opportunity to name a locomotive for a year. The auction winner, who donated an extraordinary amount of money to GBRf's good causes, decided to name the locomotive after his father, a career train driver who celebrates his 60th birthday this year.

The winner was invited along on the company's Northern Staff Charter on July 30th from Doncaster to Blackpool and brought along his father who had no idea that a locomotive would be named after him: David Gordon Harris.

To replace a damaged DMU, DRS has provided traction in the form of two Class 68 locomotives (and a spare on standby) for Abellio Greater Anglia. Services started on July 11th and are expected to run Monday to Friday until the end of September. Although some additional work on an ad hoc basis has been occurring on a Saturday. Services are from Norwich to Yarmouth and from Norwich to Lowestoft. This extra train operates in addition to the Class 37-powered train also used on some of its Norwich to Great Yarmouth and Norwich to Lowestoft services.

(Julian Mandeville)

The Belmont Northern Belle with 68017 at the front of the train and 68008 on the back, operating as the 1Z54 Bristol TM to Newport (S.Wales) via Bath, Swindon and Gloucester.

(David Moreton)

This image by Nicolas Villenave shows the brand new E4046 for Beacon Rail Leasing > VFLI on French soil in Perpignan on July 26th.

VFLI is currently adding nine new EURO 4000 locomotives to its fleet. Six vehicles have been ordered through Beacon Rail Leasing (E4043-E4048) and three have been purchased outright by the French operator (E4049-E4051). At the moment of writing, E4043-E4046 and E4049 had already been delivered.

GBRf 66773 has performed its first workings. It has been active on overnight engineering trains. Of the latest batch (66773-66779), only 66776 has not made its debut in revenue service yet.

(Howard Lewsey)

Direct Rail Services has released an image showing the livery of the brand new 88002. The colour scheme of the Class 88s will be largely the same as that applied to the operator's Class 68 locomotives, but additionally sports red and blue grid of lines (MLD: reminding us of overhead power lines).

DRS states on its website: "Testing of 88001 in Velim has concluded, reporting on the testing Stadler said: “During UKDual test campaign in Velim, two main goals have been covered. First, we have focused to perform all test related to homologation purposes by using the capabilities of Velim test center (TSI track, catenary characteristics, braking distances.). As second goal, we have tested and adjusted locomotive performances as traction control in different conditions, diesel engine and electrical power management, by hauling a train of 1500Tons and an ER20 locomotive.

As our first dual locomotive, new functionalities of control software have been validated as dynamic mode changing between electrical operation to diesel operation (and viceversa) and fine tuning of automatic speed control.

Finally, Velim test site has been used as first scenario to show to DRS the behavior of the locomotive and let to our customer to feedback us with the first impressions about UKDual locomotive."

DRS also commented about the InnoTrans trade fair in Berlin in September where Stadler and DRS will present a Class 88 locomotive. We now know that the locomotive in question will be 88003.