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Starkenberger Güterlogistik's new addition at the Nordhafen in Kiel-Wik on October 24. Picture by Jens Vollertsen.

On October 24, Voith Maxima 40 CC locomotive 264 005 was handed over to Starkenberger Güterlogistik after receiving a repaint into green and red in Kiel. Having been acquired now by Starkenberger Güterlogistik, the locomotive is well-known for having been in service with LOCON numbered 401 and carrying a white and orange livery.

Starkenberger Güterlogistik's new addition in Kiel-Suchsdorf on October 24. Picture by Jens Vollertsen.

Related sections:
Maxima 30/40CC

DRS 88007 has been seen in an advanced stage of construction.

DB Fernverkehr 245 022 at Rickelsbüller Koog with a Sylt Shuttle service on May 28, 2016. Picture by Jens Vollertsen.

In 2011, DB placed a framework order for up to 200 TRAXX Multi Engine diesel locomotives. The first 20 locomotives ordered under this agreement entered service for DB Regio in South Germany (stationed at Bw Mühldorf and Bw Kempten) and in the Frankfurt am Main area. Another seven were ordered for use on DB Fernverkehr's Sylt Shuttle between Niebüll and Westerland (Sylt).

Now the 27 existing locomotives will get some company, by eight additional machines to be precise. Five will be used by DB Fernverkehr as ICE rescue locomotives throughout Germany replacing older Class 218 locomotives and three will be delivered to DB Regio to further expand its fleet in South Germany. Similar to the previous 27 machines, all locomotives will be built at Bombardier's Kassel plant.


66017 and 66001 are seen delivering a Rail Head Treatment Train (RHTT) as 6Z18 Toton to Acton on October 1, 2015. Picture by Richard Gennis.

On October 17, DB Cargo (UK) Ltd. announced plans to drastically restructure its operations. As an answer to rapid and unforeseen changes in the rail freight market (e.g. a dramatic decline in core markets such as coal and steel) the operator eyes a reduction of its working force with 893 jobs, a reduction of the number of operational sites and a rationalization of its wagon and locomotive fleets. It must be noted that all plans are still on the drawing board and that final decisions are yet to be made subject to collective and individual consultations.

Hans-Georg Werner, CEO of DB Cargo UK, said: “Responsible and successful businesses must evolve and reshape as their markets change and sometimes this means making tough decisions. Whilst this is a difficult time for all of us at DB Cargo UK, reshaping the company will enable us to build a business for the future and protect the majority of jobs. We are fully committed to supporting colleagues who may be at risk of redundancy."

"We firmly believe in the future of rail freight in the UK. Our motorways and roads are becoming more congested and rail offers fast and clean supply chain solutions. Our new business strategy will ensure we are a perfect logistics partner of choice for customers across all sectors, including construction, automotive and intermodal, long into the future.”

MLD: Currently, DB Cargo UK is preparing the transfer of five of its Class 66 locomotives to France for use with ECR. Read more at: 'DB Cargo sends five more Class 66s to France'

Graphic of DB Cargo UK 66081. This locomotive graphic and many more can also be found on our Class 66 Poster.

GB Railfreight 66766 stabled in Wellingborough Yard waiting for its next duty on February 18, 2016. Picture by Richard Gennis.

On October 18, the Eurotunnel Group (GET) announced that it has received a binding and irrevocable offer from EQT Infrastructure II, for the potential acquisition of its subsidiary, GB Railfreight (GBRf), the third largest rail freight operator in the UK.

The offer will shortly be presented to the Group’s staff representative bodies for consultation. The transaction would give a new direction to GBRf, which was created in 1999, based on the quality and commitment to development of the EQT group. EQT is a Swedish private equity investor and also owns a 95% share in Hector Rail. With the acquisition of GB Railfreight, the company further gives shape to its plans to create an independent rail freight operator operating on a European scale.

Acquired by the Eurotunnel Group in 2010 for £25 million, GBRf has more than doubled its activities, leading to forecast revenues of approximately £125 million whilst at the same time significantly improving its profitability.

Following the consultation and acceptance of the offer, the additional liquidity would open up new opportunities for GET to develop its core infrastructure and transport business, particularly through the delivery of the ElecLink electrical interconnector project, for which the construction works are now getting under way.

The Group’s French rail freight activities, managed by Europorte in France, are not included in the offer received. Europorte France will remain focused on its own development to deliver constantly improved customer service, with the goal of becoming the foremost private rail freight operator in France.

Jacques Gounon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Groupe Eurotunnel SE, about the sale: “I am convinced that EQT is the right owner to take GB Railfreight to the next level, given their strong focus on growth and sustainable long term value creation. GBRf has been a great success, proving that significant value can be generated in this sector. On the strength of its results, the Group will continue to favour long term investments and shareholder return”.

Graphic of GBRf 66737 'Lesia'. This locomotive graphic and many more can also be found on our Class 66 Poster.

OHE Cargo 330094 passing Lengerich on July 4, 2013. Picture by Henk Zwoferink.

German rail freight operator hvle has acquired the last Blue Tiger locomotive that OHE Cargo still had in its fleet. It concerns locomotive 330094, the prototype Blue Tiger which could easily be recognized by having a different exterior design than its sister locomotives manufactured in series production (and the 'bullbar' for enhanced crash protection added later on).

Built in 1996 by Adtranz in Kassel, the locomotive has been evaluated by many different German operators, including Deutsche Bahn, HGK, BASF and RAG Bahn und Hafen (RBH). Between 2002 and 2004 ten additional locomotives were built in series production by Bombardier. With the sale of 330094, hvle owns nine locomotives out of eleven machines that were built for use in Germany. The remaining two are in operation for ITL Eisenbahn.

Modern history: the recently out-shopped Adtranz Blue Tiger prototype at Aachen West on September 21, 1997. Picture by Dietrich Bothe.

Related sections:
BombardierBlue Tiger: hvle

On October 15, the future ECR 66204 resides at Toton TMD. Picture by David Moreton.

DB Cargo (UK) Ltd. is sending an additional five Class 66 locomotives to France. The locos involved are 66193, 66201, 66204, 66213 and 66232. The five locos have all been prepared at DB Cargo's workshop in Toton, where they were not only adapted technically but also cosmetically (ECR logos, warning stripes, inscriptions etc.). On October 15, 66193 66201 and 66213 were waiting further transfer to France at Dollands Moor Yard. Two days later on the 17th, 66204 and 66232 were out on test prior to the start of their French adventure.

Also on October 15, 66193, 66201 and 66213 are already waiting at Dollands Moor for their trip to France. On October 16, the three were moved through the Channel Tunnel. Picture by Howard Lewsey.

Graphic of DB Cargo 66201 with ECR markings. Base drawing by Thierry Leleu.

In December 2016, DB Regio will take over the so-called 'Netz West' concession from NOB, which includes the TRAXX Multi Engine hauled (and pushed) trains between Hamburg-Altona and Westerland (Sylt) vv. Locomotive 245 204-3 has already been renumbered in preparation for December to 92 80 1245 204-3 D-DB. No doubt that more locos will follow in the coming weeks.

OSR France has hired two additional Prima diesel locomotives of the BB 75000 series from Akiem. It concerns locomotives 75017 and 75025. Both locomotives have been styled into the new OSR livery, which includes partly pink cabs going over into a pink beam along the roof, similar to the livery used on the electric Prima's used by the company. Loco 75019 has received the new livery too, but was already in service for OSR for a longer time.

(Antoine Morval)

Related sections:
AlstomBB 75000: Akiem & SNCF

Another DRS Class 66 has been restyled into the basic DRS livery and left Eastleigh works today (October 18). An image of DRS 66302 in its new livery can be found here: link.

Siemens and Iranian industrial group Mapna have signed an agreement which will see 50 'Safir' diesel locomotives being assembled at Mapna's Karaj plant. 'Safir' is the name given by Mapna to the ER 24 PC, which we know better as the single-cab 'IranRunner', part of the Siemens EuroRunner family.

In 2008, Siemens signed a deal with Mapna for 150 IranRunners, of which the first 30 were built in München-Allach and the remaining 120 in Iran. Thanks to the new agreement, the number of Safir diesels in service for RAI will increase to 200.

e.g.o.o. 223 141 has received a paint job into...almost the same Enercon livery it had before. The loco simply exchanged its stickers for paint.

...into Beacon Rail blue and has retained its 'ER 20' number, albeit on a different place (on the red beam). A picture of the locomotive can be found here: link.

In 2017, Stadler Rail Valencia wants to release its first dual mode locomotive for the continental European market. It will be the first locomotive design to be completed since the former Vossloh España factory was taken over by the Swiss company.

During InnoTrans 2016, a model was on display showing the locomotive design: a six-axle electric/diesel-electric locomotive with a top speed of 160km/h. Maximum duration power: 7MW (electric) and 3MW (diesel). The starting traction effort can be as high as 500kN. The machine will feature AC traction motors and IGBT convertors. It is possible to order the locomotive as AC, DC or multisystem locomotive. Narrow gauge, normal gauge, wide gauge, all options are open.

A first prototype locomotive for Europe is already under construction. We will follow this closely of course. Under the responsibility of Vossloh, the factory's previous owner, the site already created two other dual mode locomotive types, about which you can explore more here:

- The UK DUAL for Beacon Rail / Direct Rail Services from the UK
- The PRASA DUAL for PRASA from South Africa

(Picture: Henk Zwoferink)

Related sections:
Stadler Rail Valencia

On 06.10.2016, Pesa and PKP IC signed a memorandum of understanding for developing a dual mode locomotive (diesel and electric). The project is supported by the NCBiR (National Research and Development Centre) bringing 395.000 euro into the project. Pesa estimates to spend around 1.8 million euro on the project, that will take around 1.5-2 years to complete.

PKP IC is searching the market for new locomotives and is very much interested in innovative locomotive projects. It is an important, potential customer for Pesa's new dual mode.

One 4-axle prototype locomotive will be built, with 2.8MW power in electric mode and with a combustion engine of 1.8MW. Its maximum speed will be 160 kph.

Rynek-kolejowy.pl brings more information about the plans.

Related sections:

Previously in Caledonian blue livery, DB Cargo 67010 has been repainted into DB red.

In the French media and on railjournal.com:

France’s industry minister Mr Christophe Sirugue told a meeting of union representatives and elected officials in Belfort on October 4 that the French government will fund an order for 15 TGV Euroduplex trains and 20 locomotives to save Alstom’s plant in the town from closure.

Sirugue also confirmed that French National Railways (SNCF) will also order a batch of six TGVs for Paris - Lyon - Turin services. Power cars for all 21 trains will be built at Belfort, securing the medium-term future of the plant, which employs 480 staff.'

Railcolor: it is not an order yet, but a plan. Last September, Alstom announced to close the Belfort site as a manufacturing location and to reform it as service point. 400 of the 480 employees would be re-assigned to another Alstom factory in France. However, president Mr François Hollande intervened and blocked the plan. Not only does he care about the factory and its workforce, Hollande is also facing elections next year and closing yet another factory is bad news for his campaign.

But if this new 'save Belfort' plan will be executed is to be seen. It depends on whether or not this governmental intervention is regarded as (illegal) state aid or not. Next to that, Alstom was not planning to stop locomotive production, nor firing people. It was slimming down its production capacity as its order portfolio was not as full as envisaged. Alstom was planning on moving its locomotive production to Reichshoffen, what will happen there when Belfort stays open? And of course there is the more general question, what is to become of Belfort on the long term? The possible new order will only bring work for around 1,5-2 years. To be continued.

Update: Lok-report.de brings a summary (scroll down) of what has been communicated in the French press yesterday. Additionally, Philippe Jacqué is answering questions from readers. The extra TGVs can be ordered directly from existing frame contracts. Curious is that some of the new TGVs will be used on conventional intercity lines.

For SNCF, twenty support and rescue locomotives will be ordered (French: '20 locomotives diesel pour le remorquage de trains en panne).

Alstom will have to invest 40 million euro in Belfort, to be used for expanding it product portfolio (locomotives and electric busses), creating new jobs in the service department. 30 million euro will go into the 'development of new diesel or hybrid locomotives'.

Related sections:

As of December 2018, metronom Eisenbahngesellschaft will cease operating passenger services between Hamburg and Cuxhaven. Currently, it operates the services with Class 246 TRAXX diesel locomotives and double-deck push-pull trains, owned by LNVG (Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen). DB Regio has placed the best bid in terms of price and, therefore, will take over from metronom in two years from now.

Update: DB Regio will hire eight diesel locomotives and 38 double deck coaches from LNVG. Most likely, these eight locos are LNVG 246 002-009. Bombardier, currently holding the service and maintenance contracts for this rolling stock, will continue these activities when DB Regio takes over. Maintenance is done at Bremervörde.

Pressnitztalbahn is one of the latest operators to evaluate the Vectron DE. Currently, it operates locomotive 247 902.

(Stephan Kemnitz)

Related sections:
SiemensVectron DE

OHE Cargo 270081 has been restyled from OHE livery to SETG livery. The loco is now numbered ER20-01. Both 270081 and 270082 have been sold to the Austrian operator.

(Helmuth van Lier / Andreas Meier)

On October 1, Prima diesel locomotives in different liveries were lined up around the Longueau depot turn table. Special thanks to Pascal Sainson for the pictures.

Related sections:
AlstomBB 75000: Akiem & SNCF