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CZ LOKO 753 604-8 is pictured at Kardoskut by Peter Pacsika on 23 December 2014.

On 21 December 2017, CZ LOKO announced the order for one EffiLiner 1600 locomotive by Hungary's CER Cargo Holding and being close to a deal for a second locomotive with the Hungarian operator. At the same time, it mentioned that one 'Bizon' for Slovakia's PSŽ was already in an advanced stage of production. This loco will be numbered 753 608.

CZ LOKO 753 604-8 in Komárom, Hungary, on 4 December 2014. Picture by Ferenc Németh.

It's been an open secret that CER Cargo Holding was in talks with CZ LOKO about an order for one EffiLiner 3000 dual-system electric and one EffiLiner 1600 'Bizon' diesel locomotive. CZ LOKO has now released the official details about the agreement.

The delivery of both locos is planned for the first quarter of 2018, but both will end up with different subsidiaries. The electric (ordered 10/2017) will be delivered to CER Slovakia, the Bizon (ordered 12/2017, designated 753 609) will be delivered to CER Hungary. Currently, CER Cargo Holding and CZ LOKO are also nearing an agreement for the delivery of a second Bizon, which would enter service for CER Slovakia upon delivery. Besides Slovakia and Hungary, the locomotives will see use in the Czech Republic.

CER Cargo Holding is the fourth operator to order EffiLiner 1600 diesel locomotives. An overview of previous orders:

SD - Kolejová doprava: 5 locomotives (753 601-605)
Unipetrol Doprava: 2 locomotives (753 606-607)
PSZ: 1 locomotive (753 608)

CER Cargo Holding also owns one CZ LOKO EffiShunter 1600 locomotive.

CER Cargo 774 714-0 near Dunakeszi, Hungary, on 20 July 2017. Picture by Laszlo Nagy.

Sister locomotive WSDOT 1400 at the Siemens works in Sacramento on 6 March 2017. Picture by WSDOT.

WSDOT Charger locomotive 1402 was severely damaged after derailing near DuPont, a town close to Tacoma in the State of Washington. Overspeeding is stated to be the reason for the derailment, with the train travelling at 80 mph on a 30-mph section. The brand new loco was heading an Amtrak Cascades service consisting of Talgo-built passenger coaches, which, together with the loco, partly ended up on the highway the train was crossing. With Positive Train Control not yet introduced on the route, it could not prevent the train from overspeeding. Sadly, multiple fatalities have been reported by the local authorities.

Related sections:
SiemensChargerCharger: WSDOT

MARC 82 at the Siemens in Sacramento. Picture by Siemens USA.

Planned to enter service in 2018, the first three Charger SC-44 locomotives have been delivered to Maryland Transit Administration (MTA). The locos travelled more than 2,700 miles across the United States from Sacramento to Baltimore. MTA has eight of the type on order.

Related sections:
SiemensChargerCharger: MTA

On 13 March 2015, Dinazanno Po 741 701-7 and 741 707-4 await further transport into Italy at the Italian border station of Brennero as part of their delivery. Picture by Thomas Wohlfarth.

After deciding to extend the initial two-year hire contract of 741 701-7 and 707-4 by another two years and to purchase them from CZ LOKO afterwards, Dinazzano Po decided to expand its 741.7 fleet to four by ordering another two locomotives to be delivered in early-2018. Now, the first locomotive of the second batch is out: 741 733-0. Pictures of the locomotive can be found here: link. An overview of all 741.7 locomotives currently in Italy:

Dinazzano Po: 741 701-7 and 707-4 (2 more on order: 733-0 & ?)
SerFer: 741 710-8
Terminali Italia: 741 737-1 and 738-9
Francesco Ventura Costruzioni Ferroviarie: 741 741-3 and 741 742-1

Next to the two Class 741.7 locomotives ordered by Dinazzano Po, CZ LOKO will also deliver a fleet of five Class 744.1 EffiShunter 1000 locomotives to SerFer in 2018.

Related sections:
CZ LOKO741.7

DB Cargo UK (at the time still DB Schenker Rail UK) 66008 passes Oxford with an intermodal train on 3 December 2012. The loco is one of 10 locomotives that has now been sold to GB Railfreight. Picture by Peter Lovell.

On 15 December 2017, GB Railfreight announced that it had completed the purchase of ten Class 66 locomotives from DB Cargo UK. In August 2017, DB Cargo UK offered the locomotives for sale. It concerned: 66008, 66016, 66046, 66058, 66081, 66132, 66141, 66184, 66238 and 66250.

The locomotives have now been taken over by GB Railfreight, after a period of maintenance, technical checks, repairs and being tested on regular DB Cargo workings. Transfer of the ten locomotives to GBRf sites at Doncaster and Peterborough is planned to take place on 16, 17 and 18 December. The ten will also be renumbered soon, which will see them become 66780-66789 in sequence.

A high-quality, 100x70 cm poster featuring 158 different liveries and livery variations. Ideal for your home, the office or the work floor.

For more info, visit Railcolorshop.com.

E-Génie 60176 and 60177 at Saint-Jory Triage on 24 May 2012. Picture by Thierry Leleu.

In the period 2006-2010, 177 type GA 1000 AS diesel locomotives (Class BB 60000 in France) were delivered by Vossloh. 175 locomotives were delivered to SNCF, for use with Fret SNCF (155) and SNCF Infra (20). A further two locomotives were delivered to French railway construction company E-Génie.

In 2017, the 177-strong fleet of BB 60000 locomotives was shaken up with the sale of locomotives to ETF and TSO. The two GA 1000 AS locomotives delivered to E-Génie, 60176 and 60177 are now property of TSO. ETF acquired six Fret SNCF locomotives, which will receive the following internal numbers:

460015 - ETF 5.100.108
460020 - ETF 5.100.112
460072 - ETF 5.100.113
460086 - ETF 5.100.109
460093 - ETF 5.100.110
460105 - ETF 5.100.111

Fret SNCF 460015 near Orléans on 3 July 2014. Picture by Thierry Mazoyer.

Unipetrol 753 607-1 on test in Česká Třebová and Skalice nad Svitavou (bottom left/right) on 12 December 2017. Pictures by Petr Kadeřávek.

CZ LOKO has released the second of two Class 753.6 locomotives (nickname: Bizon) for Unipetrol Doprava for testing. Numbered 753 607-1, the loco carries the same livery as 753 606-3. On December 12th, the loco was out on a test run.

On 12 December 2017, ten days after entering service, 721T and 722T pass Dvira with an eastbound freight train towards Aro'er. Picture by Yaron Dozetas.

Built by TŽV Gredelj, 721T and 722T were the last three of thirteen NGT26CW-3 locomotives to be delivered in September 2017 together with 720T. In early-December 2017, 721T and 722T entered service after receiving mainline approval.

MARC Chargers 80, 81 and 82 on transport together with SEPTA ACS-64 901 behind two Union Pacific diesels near Delle on 3 December 2017. Picture by Matt Liverani of the Desert Empire Project.

The first three Chargers ordered by the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) for its MARC (Maryland Area Regional Commuter) services have left the Siemens works in Sacramento. The locos were ordered in 2015 from an option for 225 Charger locomotives, which was included in the multi-state procurement framework launched by the states of Illinois, California, Michigan, Missouri and Washington.

Related sections:
SiemensChargerCharger: MTA

Israel Railways 747, here still in its original livery, picks up 3 NGT26CW-3 locomotives at the Port of Haifa on 11 September 2017. Picture by Yaron Dozetas.

Israel Railways JT42BW locomotive 747 is currently being repainted and will be outshopped in a different livery than the original red-white-blue as shown on the picture above. The exact livery that is being applied remains unknown for now. To be continued.

ER 20-013 in its new 'bodo' promotional livery at Regensburg Hauptbahnhof on 9 December 2017. Picture by Christian Bauer.

Having been hired from Beacon Rail Leasing only recently (together with ER 20-001 and 015), Die Länderbahn's ER 20-013 is now underway in a special promotional livery for bodo, which is short for Bodensee-Oberschwaben Verkehrsverbundgesellschaft GmbH. Both sides of the locomotive feature a different scene. One shows the Bodensee, while the other features the green hills in front of the Alps. According to DLB, also ER 20-015 is to be given a new livery, but we have learned this will be restricted to the application of Alex logos. The same treatment is foreseen for ER 20-001 and MRCE's ER 20-007. The four locos are to free up more original ALEX locos leased from Alpha Trains, enabling a more frequent service between Münich and Prague.

DLB ER 20-015 with ALEX logos and Bahnland Bayern stickers at München Hauptbahnhof on 11 December 2017. Picture by Christian Tscharre.

DLB ER 20-015 with ALEX logos and Bahnland Bayern stickers at München Hauptbahnhof on 11 December 2017. Picture by Christian Tscharre.

Picture by Brightline.

The launch of scheduled operations coming closer, Brightline is readying equipment and personnel by commencing simulated services. The testing programme will comprise running up to ten trains per day between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. Brightline eyes the launch of scheduled services between the two cities at some point in December 2017, with Miami being connected in the near future. The image above shows Brightline's full fleet, consisting of five uniquely liveried trainsets of two Siemens Charger passenger diesels and four Siemens Viaggio Comfort USA coaches.

Vectron DE locomotive 247 905 at the Stern & Hafferl depot in Eferding on 28 November 2017. Picture by Siemens.

On 2 December, we could already report that Stern & Hafferl had acquired Vectron DE locomotive 247 905 from Siemens. The, manufacturer released a first official image of Stern & Hafferl's newly acquired locomotive, decorated with the operator's logos. The contract for the locomotive was signed in the Autumn of 2017 and the locomotive, which left the Siemens works on 28 November, is to be handed over officially at some point in December.

The locomotive has a maximum speed of 160 km/h and a power output of 2400 kW. This makes it faster and more powerful than the four EuroRunners already in Stern & Hafferl's fleet. These have a maximum speed of 140 km/h and a power output of 2000 kW. The company's choice for the Vectron DE was an easy one, because the locomotive still shares many proven concepts with the EuroRunner, but also incorporates innovations such as a cleaner and more quiet diesel engine.

The locomotive has Siemens Trainguard Basic Indusi on board and is equipped for services in Germany and Austria. Eyed operations with the new acquisition include international services between these two countries and, especially, service in the Upper Austria area towards Aschach an der Donau.

2016 913, one of the four Siemens EuroRunner locomotives the Austrian operator already has in its fleet, at Ebensee on 22 September 2017. Picture by Klaus Görs.

Beacon Rail Leasing > LOCON ER 20-015 / 311 passes Oberhausen, Abzweig Mathilde with a container train on 21 July 2017. Note the Beacon Intermodal Leasing container directly behind the locomotive. Picture by Ingmar Weidig.

In late-November 2017, we could witness some changes in the Beacon Rail EuroRunner fleet. Two locomotives that had been active in Slovenia for quite some time, suddenly returned to Germany: ER 20-005 and ER 20-010. As of December, the two are in service for German rail freight operator LOCON.

However, the lease of ER 20-005 and ER 20-010 to LOCON sees two other EuroRunners being returned to Beacon Rail: ER 20-013 (LOCON 313) and ER 20-015 (LOCON 311). IGE, who leased ER 20-001 from Beacon Rail, returned its EuroRunner to the lessor too.

New lessee of ER 20-001 and ER 20-015 is South-German passenger operator Die Länderbahn, well-known for its Alex train services. ER 20-001 immediately entered service in its Beacon Rail blue and golden livery. ER 20-015 was taken in first to, as Die Länderbahn states, 'turn it into an Alex locomotive'. At the moment of writing, the current whereabouts of ER 20-013 were not known yet. (Update: ER 20-013 has joined the Die Länderbahn fleet, just like ER 20-001 and 015.

Beacon Rail Leasing > DLB ER 20-001 at Regensburg Hauptbahnhof on 5 December 2017. Picture by Christian Bauer.

The first three Siemens Charger locomotives for MTA, short for Maryland Transit Administration, left the Siemens works in Sacramento on December 1st. The three are the first of eight ordered for use on MARC passenger services.

Related sections:
SiemensChargerCharger: MTA

Vectron DE locomotive 247 905 at Georgsheil on 4 July 2017. At the time, the loco was still operated e.g.o.o. Eisenbahngesellschaft Ostfriesland-Oldenburg mbH. Picture by Lucas Hirsch.

After receiving orders from InfraLeuna and RDC Autozug Sylt for one and two locos respectively, Siemens has now sold one Vectron DE locomotive to an Austrian operator too. Locomotive 247 905 was acquired by Stern & Hafferl Verkehrsgesellschaft m.b.H. and will join the four EuroRunner locomotives already in the company's fleet (2016 910-913). The loco left München for Austria on 28 November 2017.

LINEAS 513-10 travelling from Antwerp to Geleen, where it will pick up the first train, near Weert in the Netherlands on 30 November 2017. Picture by Andy Engelen.

On 30 November 2017, LINEAS 513-10 travelled from Antwerp to Geleen for a trial run of the operator's eyed Geleen Xpress link between Antwerp (BE) and Geleen (NL). In Geleen, the loco picked up a rake of tank wagons. Geleen is well-known for housing Chemelot, a large chemical site where companies such as DSM and Sabic are located. For a while now, the site also houses its own terminal: Rail Terminal Chemelot.

The route the train took is a remarkable one, as it has been seldom used by trains in recent years. It concerns the Dutch and Belgian part of the Iron Rhine, which used to connect the Port of Antwerp with the German Ruhrgebiet. At the moment, only the section between Belgium and the Netherlands is operational. Since its closure in 1991, there have been many discussions about re-opening the line for freight trains. Discussions about a full re-opening are still going on and even comprise the potential re-alignment of the section from the Netherlands to Germany.

The Belgian-Dutch part of the route has been activated several years ago, but regular usage has never really come to fruition. Apart from the festive re-opening train, which was run by B Logistics at the time, only few trains have operated on it. The last train on the line was run by fellow Belgian operator Railtraxx on 26 May 2016, hauling a steel train to Aachen-West.

With the plan to run a freight shuttle between Antwerp and Geleen, regular use of the railway is in sight again. Furthermore, the Dutch government has planned the allocation of money for electrification of the line across the Belgian border to Weert, in light of extending Belgian passenger services to the Dutch city.

WSDOT Charger 1403 at Seattle King Street Station on 21 May 2017. Picture by WSDOT.

On November 20th, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) announced that its Chargers locomotives would commence operations on services between Vancouver, British Columbia and Eugene, Oregon. WSDOT reports:

"The eight Siemens Charger locomotives are significant upgrades from our existing machines. They meet the strictest Environmental Protection Agency emission standards and are lighter and quieter. They also provide greater rates of acceleration and top speeds even though they’ll only be travelling up to 79 mph on our route. In addition, the locomotives include computerized on-board positive train control safety equipment, which will automatically stop the train when there are dangerous situations on the rails, once the system is activated corridor-wide next year. The locomotives, which boast 16-cylinder, 4,400 horsepower Cummins engines, also will be more reliable than the existing aging fleet and will be used on all routes."

"The public got a peek at the new locomotives during a May unveiling at Seattle’s King Street Station. Since then they’ve been undergoing field modifications and acceptance testing to ensure everything operates safely on our corridor. They’re now ready for their official debut in revenue service and will be phased in to all Amtrak Cascade routes during the next few weeks."

WSDOT Charger 1400 at Seattle King Street Station on 21 May 2017. Picture by WSDOT.

"The American-made locomotives feature the traditional evergreen, cappuccino and cream Amtrak Cascades colors, along with logos from Washington and Oregon -- the two states that jointly own and manage the Amtrak Cascades service. The paint colors, inspired by the Pacific Northwest, coordinate with the exterior paint on the existing Amtrak Cascades trainsets (passenger and baggage cars) used throughout the Amtrak Cascades system."

"All the Amtrak Cascades trains operate in a push-pull configuration that allows them to make a roundtrip without turning the train around. Initially, the trains will run with a new locomotive at one end and an older locomotive on the other end. This is part of the final process to break in the locomotives. Therefore, sometimes you’ll see the new locomotives pulling the train from the front and, at other times, they’ll be pushing the train from the back. The existing Amtrak F-59 locomotives will be phased out of service on this corridor over the next year."

Related sections:
SiemensChargerCharger: WSDOT

Siemens USA has completed the final 2 Charger locomotives of the 33 ordered by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). On 15 November 2017, locos 4632 and 4633 were picked up at Siemens' Sacramento plant together with loco 4602.

By early-October, conditional and final acceptance of 28 out of the 33 Chargers had been signed by Siemens and IDOT. Several weeks earlier, on 27 July 2017, revenue services with the IDOT locomotives officially commenced, albeit with the locos operating in trailing position for the time being.

Video by Youtube user MobileRailSpotterRxR of 4602, 4632 and 4633 passing through Sacramento after leaving the Siemens works on 15 November 2017.

Related sections:
SiemensChargerCharger: IDOT

On 13 November, PKP IC Gama locomotive SU160-009 was involved in an accident at a level crossing near Aleksandrów.

TPE 68021 in its new livery at Crewe Gresty Bridge Depot on 4 September 2017. Picture by First TransPennine Express.

TransPennine Express liveried Class 68 locomotive 68021 has started its journey abroad. On November 22nd, the loco was brought from DRS' Gresty Bridge Depot in Crewe to Portbury Docks, as can be seen here: link. From there, the locomotive will be transported to the European mainland by ship.

Update: Initially, it was indicated 68021 was to head to Velim in the Czech Republic for testing with CAF-built Mark 5A coaches. However, it has now been indicated that 68021 is to head to the CAF works in Spain.

SD-Kolejová doprava 741 732-2 at Tušimice on 13 May 2017. Picture by John Teasdale.

With the completion of locomotives 741 743-9 and 741 744-7, CZ LOKO has finished the fifth and sixth of the type respectively for Czech operator SD-Kolejová doprava (SD-KD). The two are part of SD-KD's most recent fleet renewal project, driven by a further increase in transported volumes. The project involved the acquisition of a fifth EffiLiner 1600 diesel locomotive (753 605-5) and the Class 741.7 locomotives in question. The total SD-KD 741.7 fleet now consists of:

741 706-6
741 732-2
741 735-5
741 736-3
741 743-9
741 744-7

741 743-0 and 744-7 have an updated livery, similar to SD-KD 753 605. SD-KD 753 605 with an unidentified class member at on 11 November 2017. Picture by Richard Luzny.

Related sections:
CZ LOKO741.7

Heading north, Vectron DE locomotive 247 908 passes Augsburg-Oberhausen on 11 November 2017. Picture by Joachim Scharringhausen.

The indicated transfer of 247 908, the first of two Vectron DE locomotives acquired by RDC Autozug Sylt, to Northern Germany in the weekend of 11-12 November was set into motion as planned. Provisionally decorated by small Autozug Sylt logos, the loco will retain its white livery for the time being. The loco will be used for training purposes for several weeks and used in commercial service at year's end at the latest.

247 908 on its way to Northern Germany at Gablingen on 11 November 2017. Picture by Alexander Lindner.

PKP IC type 6Dl locomotive SU42-1009 at Gdynia Główna on 15 August 2016. Picture by Julian Mandeville.

In August 2017, PKP Intercity issued a tender for the modernization of nine SM42 diesel shunters. It has been indicated now that Newag has been the sole bidder for the contract. It has offered a complete re-building programme, in which only frame and bogies are to be retained. Instead of a single diesel engine, the re-built locomotive will house two smaller ones. A new cab will be positioned in the middle of the vehicle. An option exists to modernize another four locomotives.

The indicated specifications of two diesel engines and a cab positioned in the center of the locomotive, remind us of a proven design, namely the 6Dl. From 2014 until 2015, Newag modernized ten SM 42 locomotives according to the 6Dl design: SU42-1001 - 1010. The 6Dl also houses two Caterpillar C18 diesel engines (Stage IIIb compliant) and has a cab positioned in the center of the locomotive. Of course, it remains to be seen whether this is the case.

Newag has ample experience with the modernization of diesel locomotives (6D and other types) for PKP IC, but also for PKP Cargo and PKP LHS. Combined this concerns 195 locomotives for the whole PKP Group, consisting of:

- 121x 6Dg - PKP Cargo
- 10x 6Dl - PKP IC
- 30x 15D - PKP Cargo
- 7x 16D - PKP LHS
- 10x 18D - PKP IC
- 17x 311Da - PKP LHS

Still on order are also 10 additional Class 311Da locomotive for broad gauge operator PKP LHS. In combination with this new order, the current number of 195 locomotives will grow to 214 and 218 if the option for a further 4 locomotives is exercised by PKP Intercity.

Related sections:

Vectron DE locomotive 247 908 is one of two locomotives sold to RDC Autozug Sylt. Hired to SBB Cargo International at time, 247 908 'Debbie' awaits its next train at Singen on 22 August 2017. Picture by Thomas Naas.

According to a press announcement issued by RDC Autozug Sylt, Siemens has sold two Vectron DE locomotives to RDC Autozug Sylt for its car shuttle trains between Niebüll and Westerland (Sylt). The first locomotive, numbered 247 908, is to arrive in the weekend of 11-12 November. The loco will be used for training purposes for several weeks and used in commercial service at year's end at the latest. A second Vectron DE locomotive with the number 247 909 will be delivered in June 2018.

Artist impression of a Vectron DE locomotive in the blue Autozug Sylt colour scheme. Image by RDC Autozug Sylt.

C30-M locomotive 1564 and C36-7i 1528 heading a freight train. Picture by CZ LOKO.

Estonian rail freight operator EVR Cargo has ordered the modernization of 19 GE-built C30-7Ai locomotives from CZ LOKO. The modernized version is known as the C30-M and a first locomotive has already been tested on the Estonian network for several months now: loco 1564. The C30-M is powered by a Stage IIIa compliant Caterpillar 3512C engine with a power output of 1,550 kW. Its maximum speed lies at 100 km/h and its maximum tractive effort at 436 kN.

The technical design is not the only thing that has changed. The general appearance of the locomotive has been altered drastically and only the frame and bogies still remind of the original American C30 design. The cab also offers increased visibility compared to that of the C30-7Ai's.

The 19 C30-7Ai diesels currently in EVR Cargo's fleet have an interesting history. The locos were built in the 1980s by GE in Erie as C30-7A. As such, the locos were originally delivered to Conrail. Subsequently, the locomotives ended up with CSX and Norfolk Southern. In 2003, they were re-built into C30-7Ai and delivered to EVR.

Related sections:

EffiLiner 1600 locomotive 753 606-3 at Litvínov-Záluží with an Unipetrol Class 753.7 locomotive in the background. Picture by CZ LOKO.

Unipetrol Doprava, the Czech Republic's largest petrochemical group, has expanded its locomotive fleet with the handover of EffiLiner 1600 locomotive 753 606-3. Nicknamed Bizon, the EffiLiner 1600 houses a Stage IIIa compliant Caterpillar 3512 C-HD engine delivering 1,550 kW. 753 606-3 is not the only Bizon that will be added to Unipetrol's fleet. A second Bizon is to be delivered before the end of the year and options exist fur the purchase of a further two of the type.

Video of the handover of Unipetrol's first EffiLiner 1600 locomotive. Video by Unipetrol.

Caltrans Chargers have started to lead the Amtrak Capital Corridor services between San Jose and Sacramento. For the time being, the locomotives are still backed up by other locomotives. The type could be seen on Capital Corridor trains for a while now, but always behind other locos.

Video of CDTX 2106 leading a Capital Corridor service by Youtube user Sky Rider.

DB Cargo UK 67021 heads the Belmond British Pullman through Borough Green as train 1Y46 London Victoria - Folkestone West on 29 October 2017. Picture by Howard Lewsey.

Having been re-painted into brown and cream Pullman colours at the DB Cargo workshop in Toton, 67021 and 67024 have now made their debut on the Belmond British Pullman, working train 1Y46 London Victoria - Folkestone West on 29 October 2017.

DB Cargo UK 67024 on the back of the Belmond British Pullman as it passes through Borough Green as train 1Y46 London Victoria - Folkestone West on 29 October 2017. Picture by Howard Lewsey.

Fenniarail 104 and 101 at Kouvola station on 25 October 2017. Picture by Fenniarail.

Fenniarail 104 and 105 have recently completed their journey to Finland. The fourth and fifth additions to the Finnish rail freight operator's fleet of EffiShunter 1600 locomotives are to be handed over by CZ LOKO soon.

CER Cargo 774 714-0 near Dunakeszi on 20 July 2017. Picture by Laszlo Nagy.

On 23 October 2017, Railtrains.sk posted two design impressions on its website, issued by CER Cargo: one of CZ LOKO's EffiLiner 3000 locomotive in the CER blue and yellow colour scheme and one of a CZ LOKO's EffiLiner 1600 (Class 753.6 'Bizon') in the same livery. It has been indicated that company is interested in acquiring such a diesel locomotive from CZ LOKO. CER Cargo has already purchased EffiShunter 1600 locomotive 774 714-0 from the Czech manufacturer.

5033 'Matilde' arriving at Gaia Devesas. Since the beginning of the week Medway's Class E 5000 have started to be used on freight services in Northern Portugal. Picture by Gonçalo Ribera.

Macquarie European Rail TRAXX DE locomotive 285 103 was hired to Internationale Gesellschaft für Eisenbahnverkehr GmbH & Co. KG, or IGE in short, in the second quarter of 2017. It has now been decorated with IGE logos on its fronts.

Dinazzano Po's EUROLIGHT locomotive (284 002 has lost its Vossloh markings and has been re-styled with orange vinyls and markings.

Originally based in Ulm, DB Regio 245 036-9 is now operated on the Marschbahn between Hamburg and Westerland (Sylt). Picture by Nahne Johannsen.

The Netz West concession was taken over from Nord-Ostsee-Bahn (NOB) by DB Regio in December 2016. However, not everything has been going as planned for the German operator. At the start of operations, DB Regio was faced with reduced availability of its married-pair push-pull coach sets due to issues with the couplings, forcing the wagons to be taken out of service for repairs. To be able to continue operations, a variety of coaches was sourced, including 48 from DB Regio, DB Fernverkehr and BahnTouristikExpress.

After a year of repairs to the 90 married-pair coaches, of which the first started to re-enter service in April 2017, the end of a long period of reduced wagon availability is now in sight. The repairs have been finished and gradually the push-pull sets are entering service with 68 out of 90 wagons (12 sets) now in normal operation. But not all is back to normal for DB Regio, as it is now faced with a lack of locomotives. Until the summer of 2018, the operator's fleet of fifteen Class 245.2 TRAXX DE Multi Engine locomotives will again be going through a repair programme one by one. After entering service in 2015, the locos started to show overheating issues, sometimes resulting in fire damage. One by one, the locomotive were called back to the factory to resolve the issues. Now, the locomotives are plagued by issues once again, reportedly by a mix of oil leakage, clogged soot filters caused by software issues and coolant leakages, causing engine shutdowns.

Meanwhile, the first five of fifteen locomotives have been treated and a sixth locomotive is to become available again in the coming week. Nonetheless, DB Regio is faced with four BR 245.2s not being available due to problems or planned maintenance. As the Marschbahn schedule requires twelve trains to be available (the remaining three sets are used as an operational reserve), this forces the operator to hire in additional locomotives. Currently, three additional locomotives are operated on the Marschbahn, including Sylt-based 245 026-0 (DB Fernverkehr), Ulm-based 245 036-9 (DB Regio) and Vossloh-owned DE 2700-09. For now, the replacement coaches will also remain in service, offering increased capacity and flexibility, as well as an increased operational reserve.

DB Fernverkehr 245 026-0 with a set of married-pair wagons at Niebüll on 25 July 2017. Picture by Rolf Alberts.

Multi Engine TRAXX locomotive 245 213 pushes a set of replacement coaches from Hamburg-Altona to Westerland (Sylt) on 15 October 2017. Picture by Nahne Johannsen.

DB Cargo UK 67021 and 024 have been re-styled into the chocolate and cream Pullman livery at the DB Cargo workshop in Toton. Pictures of the two locomotives in their new guise can be found here and here.

753 606-3 for Unipetrol Doprava on test at Česká Třebová on 12 October 2017. Picture by Tomáš Dohnal.

After the roll-out of 753 601-603 in 2012 and 753 604 in 2013, which are all in service for SD-KD now, it became quiet for a few years. This changed with the delivery of 753 605 to SD-KD in August 2017 and now the story continues with locomotive 753 606. On 12 October, it was seen on test in the colors of Unipetrol Doprava. It has been indicated that the operator will receive two of the type and that it has options for another two locomotives. The second locomotive will be delivered before the end of 2017.

Medway Logistics E 5035 passes Entroncamento on 6 October 2017. Picture by Gonçalo Ribera.

In June 2017, the four Alpha Trains EURO 4000 for Medway Logistics were officially delivered, all in the black and yellow Medway livery and with Medway service numbers and names:

E 5033 'Matilde'
E 5034 'Adriana'
E 5035 'Ana Filipa'
E 5036 'Marina'

In the meantime, E 5035 has been given a different name. Instead of Ana Filipa it is now called Sara.

DB-red 66058 is one of the locos that was offered for sale by DB Cargo UK in August 2017 and is here seen at Brocklesby on 25 August 2015. Picture by David Kelham.

In August 2017, DB Cargo UK offered a batch of ten Class 66 locomotives for sale as part of a fleet rationalization. The ten involved were 66008, 66016, 66046, 66058, 66081, 66132, 66141, 66184, 66238 and 66250. It has now been indicated that GB Railfreight is in the process of acquiring the ten locomotives from DB Cargo and that the deal is to be finalized in the very near future.

GB Railfreight 66725 passes Northfleet as the 0Y63 Eastleigh Works - Hoo Junction. Picture by Adam McMillan.

GBRf 66725 has been repainted into the latest GB Railfreight livery by Arlington Fleet Services at Eastleigh Works. Previously, it carried the defunct First GBRf livery.

Ventura Costruzioni 741 742-1 and 741 741-3 at ?eská T?ebová on 27 May 2017. Picture by Dalibor Palko.

At the Expo Ferroviaria 2017 trade fair in Milan, CZ LOKO could announce that its Class 741.7 locomotive had received full approval by ANSF (Agenzia Nazionale per la Sicurezza delle Ferrovie). The approval concerns the certification of the type according to the ANSF 1/2015 decree for the approval of shunting locomotives.

Several Italian operators have decided to add the type to its fleet in recent years, steadily raising the number of Class 741.7 locomotives in Italy to seven. Recently, Dinazzano Po decided to expand its 741.7 fleet to four by ordering another two locomotives, to be delivered in early-2018. Earlier, it had already decided to extend the initial two-year hire contract of the first two machines by another two years, after which it will purchase the locomotives from CZ LOKO. An overview of all 741.7 locomotives currently in Italy:

Dinazzano Po: 741 701-7 and 707-4 (2 more on order)
SerFer: 741 710-8
Terminali Italia: 741 737-1 and 738-9
Francesco Ventura Costruzioni Ferroviarie: 741 741-3 and 741 742-1

Dinazanno Po 741 701-7 and 741 707-4 await further transport into Italy at the Italian border station of Brennero as part of their delivery on 13 March 2015. Picture by Thomas Wohlfarth.

Related sections:
CZ LOKO741.7

Freightliner PL's fleet of Class 66 locomotives is growing steadily. As of October 2017, the operator has ex-Ascendos Rail Leasing PB 08 on lease from Beacon Rail Leasing.

744 101-7 in Milan on 3 October 2017. Picture by CZ LOKO.

At the Expo Ferroviaria in Milan, CZ LOKO showcases EffiShunter 1000 locomotive 744 101-7 in the colors of SerFer. In April 2017, CZ LOKO was awarded an order by SerFer for the delivery of five EffiShunter 1000 locomotives with an option for five more. The fully TSI-compliant diesels will be equipped with Caterpillar C32 engines, delivering 895 kW. The locos will have a maximum speed of 100 km/h and will be equipped with the Italian train protection system BL3, enabling their use on shunting and mainline operations. Deliveries are scheduled to commence in February 2018.

On 24 September 2017, 723 705-0 could be viewed in Česká Třebová. Picture by Thomas Wohlfarth.

CZ LOKO has delivered another EffiShunter 500 (Czech 723.7 series) to the Třinecké Železárny steelworks, in the shape of loco 723 705-0. TŽ now operates three of the type: 723 701-9, 723 703-5 and 723 705-0.

On 24 September 2017, 723 705-0 could be viewed in Česká Třebová. Picture by Thomas Wohlfarth.

Brightline's final trainset 'BrightRed' prior to departing Siemens' Sacramento facility. Picture by Brightline.

On 27 September 2017, Brightline reported that BrightRed, its fifth trainset, had been completed by Siemens and that it had commenced its journey from Sacramento to South Florida. The transcontinental journey is a milestone as it marks delivery of the final trainset for Brightline’s Phase 1 service between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Upon arrival at Workshop b, Brightline’s 12-acre railroad operations facility in West Palm Beach, BrightRed will soon begin the testing and commissioning process. Brightline’s trains are built as integrated trainsets, comprised of two diesel-electric Charger locomotives and four stainless-steel coaches.

EffiShunter 1000 744 101-7 at Česká Třebová on 13 January 2017. Picture by Jirka Štembírek.

CZ LOKO has released a sneak peek of EffiShunter 1000 locomotive 744 101-7 in SerFer livery on its Facebook page. In light of the Expo Ferroviaria 2017 rail fair, the Czech manufacturer will present the loco at the nearby Trenord depot Milano Fiorenza.

In April 2017, CZ LOKO was awarded an order by SerFer for the delivery of five EffiShunter 1000 locomotives with an option for five more. The fully TSI-compliant diesels will be equipped with Caterpillar C32 engines, delivering 895 kW. The locos will have a maximum speed of 100 km/h and will be equipped with the Italian train protection system BL3, enabling their use on shunting and mainline operations. Deliveries are scheduled to commence in February 2018.

HSL Logistik 653-07 at Tractiewerkplaats Antwerpen-Noord, only minutes after being rolled out of the workshop, on 26 September 2017. Picture by Maxime Bonnier.

Class 66 locomotive 653-07 has changed liveries and now features a golden HSL Logistik livery. After TRAXX locomotive 185 597-2, it is the second golden locomotive in HSL's fleet. Leased from Beacon Rail Leasing, 653-07 has been in operation by HSL Belgium since September 2016, but still in the basic black livery inherited from previous owner MRCE.

Applying the new livery was done at the SNCB Technics Tractiewerkplaats (TW) Antwerpen-Noord by Blomsma Print & Sign. Work, however, involved more than applying stickers alone. Several parts of the locomotive were given a fresh layer of paint for an optimal visual result. The loco was rolled out of the workshops on September 26th, awaiting a re-entry into service on the 27th.

On 21 September 2017, applying the golden wrapping has almost been completed as the first details are being applied. Picture by Maxime Bonnier.

Service number and UIC grid are one of the first markings that were applied. Pictures by Maxime Bonnier.

On September 26th, the loco was rolled out of TW Antwerpen-Noord for the first time in its new livery, making it possible to view the final result under a blue sky. Picture by Maxime Bonnier.

On September 27th, 653-07 was picked up by HSL Belgium at TW Antwerpen-Noord for its re-entry into service. Picture by Bart Vangampelaere.

Today, Siemens and Alstom have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to combine Siemens' mobility business including its rail traction drives business, with Alstom. The transaction brings together two innovative players of the railway market with unique customer value and operational potential. The two businesses are largely complementary in terms of activities and geographies. Siemens will receive newly issued shares in the combined company representing 50 percent of Alstom's share capital on a fully diluted basis.

"This Franco-German merger of equals sends a strong signal in many ways. We put the European idea to work and together with our friends at Alstom, we are creating a new European champion in the rail industry for the long term. This will give our customers around the world a more innovative and more competitive portfolio", said Joe Kaeser, President and CEO of Siemens AG. "The global market-place has changed significantly over the last few years. A dominant player in Asia has changed global market dynamics and digitalization will impact the future of mobility. Together, we can offer more choices and will be driving this transformation for our customers, employees and shareholders in a responsible and sustainable way", Kaeser added.

"Today is a key moment in Alstom's history, confirming its position as the platform for the rail sector consolidation. Mobility is at the heart of today's world challenges. Future modes of transportation are bound to be clean and competitive. Thanks to its global reach across all continents, its scale, its technological know-how and its unique positioning on digital transportation, the combination of Alstom and Siemens Mobility will bring to its customers and ultimately to all citizens smarter and more efficient systems to meet mobility challenges of cities and countries. By combining Siemens Mobility's experienced teams, complementary geographies and innovative expertise with ours, the new entity will create value for customers, employees and shareholders," said Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Alstom SA. "I am particularly proud to lead the creation of such a group which will undoubtedly shape the future of mobility."

Global headquarters as well as the management team for rolling stock will be located in Paris area and the combined entity will remain listed in France. Headquarters for the Mobility Solutions business will be located in Berlin, Germany. In total, the new entity will have 62,300 employees in over 60 countries.

The businesses of the two companies are largely complementary. The combined entity will offer a significantly increased range of diversified product and solution offerings to meet multi-facetted, customer-specific needs, from cost-efficient mass-market platforms to high-end technologies. The global footprint enables the merged company to access growth markets in Middle East and Africa, India, and Middle and South America where Alstom is present, and China, United States and Russia where Siemens is present. Customers will significantly benefit from a well-balanced larger geographic footprint, a comprehensive portfolio offering and significant investment into digital services. The combination of know-how and innovation power of both companies will drive crucial innovations, cost efficiency and faster response, which will allow the combined entity to better address customer needs.

Related sections:

The future HHPI 29009 in Dresden on 24 September 2017. Picture by Filip Dittrich.

As the picture above shows, PowerHaul locomotive 29009 has made its way back from the VUZ Velim test center in the Czech Republic to Germany. In early-July, the loco was seen leaving Germany in a convoy with Bombardier-built stock. Testing still continues, as HHPI has nine PowerHaul locomotives on order in total, numbered 29008-29016.

The future HHPI 29009 passing Rathen on its way to the Velim test center on 9 July 2017. Picture by Sebastian Winter.

Tier 4 demonstrator locomotive 2029. Picture by GE Transportation.

Stated by the manufacturer to be its most successful locomotive model to date, GE Transportation has now reached a milestone: it has sold its 10,000th Evolution series locomotive.

"From Iowa to India, and Angola to the Australian Outback, our Evolution Series locomotives combine incredible power, performance and efficiency to operate in the most difficult conditions,” said Jamie Miller, President and CEO of GE Transportation. “The 10,000th order milestone is a testament to how well these locomotives perform in the field and meet the needs of the industry.”

The latest Evolution locomotives are powered by Evolution Series Tier 4 engines, minimizing emissions by recirculating exhaust gases back into the engine through a next-generation cooling system. Additionally, the Evolution Series features advanced digital capabilities that provide operators with real-time insights to improve performance. Each Tier 4 locomotive is loaded with over 200 sensors that process over one billion instructions per second.

The data is analyzed in real-time at GE Transportation’s Global Performance Optimization Centers (GPOC), which use advanced diagnostics and algorithms to provide customers with tailored maintenance prescriptions. The system automatically analyzes data on over 15 terabytes of operational history, and the outputs are constantly reviewed and improved upon by a team of technical specialists and domain experts.

Related sections:
GE Transportation

PGE GiEK 6Dg-161 at Turoszow on 7 April 2017. Picture by Harald S.

Between late-2014 and late-2015, PGE GiEK took delivery of its three SM42 modernizations, re-built by Newag according to the 6Dg design: 6Dg-154, 157 and 161. Now, the company eyes the modernization of a further four SM42 locomotives (SM42-2244, 2263, 2658 and 2659) and has launched a tender accordingly. Possible contestants with 6D-based modernization programmes in their portfolio include Newag, Pesa and TABOR Dębica.

PGE GiEK has decided to launch the tender, because it is faced with ever-increasing maintenance costs due to the high age of the SM42 locomotives. Additionally, it aims to decrease emissions and downtime, as well as improving driver comfort and safety. The modernized locomotives are required to have at least Stage IIIa engines with a minimum output of 650kW and thoroughly updated cabs.

Brand new Beacon Rail Leasing / DRS 68005 at the Multimodal 2014 trade fair in Birmingham on 29 April 2014. Picture by Mark Barber.

Direct Rail Services has published a tender for the procurement of 10 mixed-traffic diesel-electric locomotives with maximum contract value of 53 million GBP, excluding VAT. The tender is a call for competition for the design, building, testing, homologation and commissioning of the ten locos. The inclusion of the potential provision of maintenance and servicing, technical support, spares supply and financing is anticipated. The locos should be introduced into service in the third quarter of 2019 and are needed by the British rail operator to meet long term parent body and customer transport objectives.

The structure of the tender calls for competition and has room for negotiation. Therefore, it does not necessarily imply that additional Class 68 locomotives are to be ordered. Furthermore, in contrast to the 34 Stage IIIa compliant Class 68 locomotives that Stadler has delivered in recent years, these new locomotives will most likely meet the more stringent Stage IIIb requirements. Despite the open tender, the readily available, homologated and Stage IIIb prepared UKLIGHT is a likely candidate. Especially, as it offers synergy effects (e.g. in the area of driver training, maintenance and spares) with DRS' fleet of 34 Class 68 and 10 Class 88 locomotives.

Direct Rail Services supports the activities of parent NDA (Nuclear Decommissioning Authority) by operating nuclear flask trains. Besides this, the British operator offers rail freight services and is active in passenger franchise support. The wide range of activities emphasizes the important role for mixed-traffic locomotives in the company's fleet. Especially DRS' passenger franchise support activities have been growing in recent years, seeing many of its Class 68 locomotives being used on scheduled passenger services.

Currently, Chiltern Railways operates six specially modified locos (68010-015) and has access to two spare locos (68008-009) if required. Abellio ScotRail operates two of the type (68006-007) and has access to one spare loco if needed. With technical and livery modifications underway and the first locos having been hired from DRS, First TransPennine Express is to operate 14 locos (68019-68032) together with new CAF-built Mk.5a push-pull sets and will have access to several spare locos. From July 2016 until early-September 2017, Abellio Greater Anglia had two locos (various numbers) on hire as temporary measure to replace DMU-operated services.

In the UK, DB Cargo UK's 66001 does no longer sport DB Schenker logos. The logos have been removed to allow the application of regular DB logos.

GB Railfreight 66724 has been repainted from its defunct First GBRf livery into the latest GB Railfreight livery at Eastleigh Works. Class member 66725 is the next loco to be undergo a similar treatment.

Temporarily numbered 2063 157, Israel Railways 720T is unloaded from the Hohe Bank at the Port of Haifa. Picture by Yaron Dozetas.

On September 11th, three NGT26CW-3 locomotives were unloaded at the port of Haifa in Israel. The designated 720T-722T are the last three of a batch of seven additional NGT26CW-3 locomotives for Israel Railways. The operator now has thirteen of the type in its fleet.

Touch down! Temporarily numbered 2063 157, Israel Railways 720T joins 2063 158 (721T) and 2063 159 (722T) from the Hohe Bank at the Port of Haifa. Picture by Yaron Dozetas.

Israel Railways Prima 747 heads the three new locomotives, while leaving the port of Haifa. Picture by Yaron Dozetas.

DRS 68021 'Tireless' in TPE livery at Crewe Gresty Bridge. Picture by First Transpennine Express Ltd.

Last week, we could already report that DRS 68021 had been restyled into Transpennine Express livery. Many have already seen the first 'leaked' images of this locomotive on social media, but now the first official image has been released of the loco in its new guise.

TPE is to operate a fleet of 14 Class 68 locomotives, leased from Direct Rail Services. This concerns locos 68019-68032. Interestingly, there will be some minor differences between 68019-68025, featuring small Vossloh logos in their front panels, and 68026-68032 that don't have these logos, because Vossloh Espańa was taken over by Stadler Rail in the meantime.

Youtube video by user MobileRailSpotterRxR of the brand new 4628 and 4629 on transport.

Siemens USA is steadily out-shopping more Charger locomotives for the Midwest (i.e. IDOT). As the video above shows, locos 4628 and 4629 have left the works in Sacramento, leaving only 4630-4633 to be completed. The two locos are part of a second option (12 locos) exercised by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) in 2015, following a first option (3 locos) taken up shortly after the firm order for 18 locomotives in 2014. Meanwhile, solo operations with the first IDOT Chargers in revenue service have commenced. Previously, Charger-hauled trains still operated with older locomotives at the head of the train.

Youtube video by user Trains Magazine of 4620 in revenue service.

An overview of all known Chargers orders part of the IDOT-led joint procurement programme:
- Illinois Department of Transportation: 33 locomotives
- California Department of Transportation: 22 locomotives
- Washington Department of Transportation: 8 locomotives
- Maryland Transit Administration: 8 locomotives

Additionally, All Aboard Florida has 10 locomotives on order for its Brightline services. These locomotives were procured separately.

Related sections:
SiemensChargerCharger: IDOT

DRS 68022 is one of 14 Class 68 locomotives earmarked for TPE operations. Picture by Owen Evans.

DRS 68021 'Tireless' has been restyled into Transpennine Express (TPE) livery at Crewe Gresty Bridge, where Stadler performs modifications to the locos earmarked for TPE operations, enabling them to run with the new Mk.5A coaches being built by CAF. In an interview held in May 2017, TPE states that it will hire 14 locomotives from DRS. The locos involved are 68019-68032. Two locomotives will be shipped to the European mainland, where they will take part in an extensive dynamic testing programme together with the new coaches at the VUZ Velim test ring in the Czech Republic. With the first set of coaches planned to be completed in the third quarter of 2017, the start of testing operations is coming closer.

741 739-7 just after the handover to Lovochemie. Picture by CZ LOKO.

Another Class 741.7 locomotive has made its appearance. The designated 741 739-7 is destined for Lovochemie a.s., a a Czech fertilizer producer, and was produced by the CZ LOKO works in Jihlava. In January 2018, a second locomotive is to join Lovochemie's fleet in the form of 741 740-5.

With the completion of 741 739-7, CZ LOKO has now produced at least 40 Class 741.7 locomotives. ArcelorMittal Ostrava is the largest operator of the type, leasing 20 locomotives from CZ LOKO. A considerable number of locos is operated outside the Czech Republic, namely in Italy (7 locos) and Turkey (2 locos).

Related sections:
CZ LOKO741.7

Stadler's EURO DUAL prototype locomotive 6001 in Hegyeshalom on 1 September 2017. Picture by Herbert Pschill.

Having resided at the Railway Testing Center Făurei in Romania for dynamic testing since May, EURO DUAL prototype locomotive 6001 is now on its way back. On September 1st, it was seen at the Hungarian border station of Hegyeshalom.

Stadler's EURO DUAL prototype locomotive 6001 in Hegyeshalom on 2 September 2017. Picture by Norbert Tilai.

Stadler's EURO DUAL prototype locomotive passing Tata on its way to Hegyeshalom on 31 August 2017. Picture by Kai-Florian Köhn.

Delivered to the UK in late-July, DRS Class 68 locomotives 68032-034 have now entered service. 68032, the last loco of the third batch, has merely received logos and thus sports a basic livery like all other locos of this batch (68026-68032). Locos 68033 and 034 carry the full DRS Class 68 livery.

CZ LOKO has completed the fifth EffiShunter 1600 locomotive for Fenniarail. In the week of August 21st, the designated 105 started its journey towards Finland.

Fenniarail 105 is the second and last locomotive of an order for two of the type, placed by the Finnish open access rail freight operator in December 2016. The first three EffiShunter 1600 locomotives were delivered to Fenniarail in the third quarter of 2015 and marked the start of the company's business as the first locomotives in its fleet.

GBRf 66726 is one of several Class 66 locomotives that has seen its livery change recently. Here the loco is seen in the latest GB Railfreight livery at Tonbridge Yard on 1 September 2017. Picture by Adam McMillan.

There is quite something to report about Class 66 locomotives changing liveries. An overview:

RheinCargo's DE 61 is currently being repainted in the silver RheinCargo colour scheme, thereby losing its HGK livery.

DB Cargo UK
Another four DB Cargo Class 66 locomotives have lost their EWS livery in favour of a DB red one: 66034, 66124, 66130 and 66192.

GB Railfreight
GBRf 66726 has been re-painted into the latest GB Railfreight livery by Arlington Fleet Services at Eastleigh Works (see picture).

On August 25th, the second Class 744.7 locomotive for Duslo a.s. was on the roll. A picture of the designated 744 710-5 can be found here: link. Sister locomotive 744 709-7 was out-shopped by ZOS Zvolen in late-July.

Related sections:
744.7 (ZOS Zvolen)

HSL Belgium 653-07 near Glons, Belgium, on 8 September 2016. Picture by Maarten Schoubben.

On the last day of August, HSL Logistik added Class 66 locomotive 653-03 to its fleet. Leased from Beacon Rail Leasing, the loco was previously operated by Rotterdam Rail Feeding, after which it received attention from EMD at the Abellio workshop in Hagen. The loco is to be operated by the company's Belgian subsidiary HSL Belgium.

Class member 653-04 has also gone on hire to HSL Logistik recently and is operated by HSL Belgium too. Initially replacing 653-07 for several weeks, which will receive maintenance, the loco is intended to remain in the company's fleet afterwards, albeit operated by the German parent. HSL Belgium will subsequently operate 653-03 and 07 again.

IDTX 4611 at the Amtrak Maintenance Facility in Chicago on 28 August 2017. Picture by Siemens.

Siemens reports: New locomotives are now serving Amtrak customers in Illinois and Wisconsin, with the U.S.-built, Midwest-powered, Amtrak-maintained units slated to operate on state-sponsored services in the region. These Siemens Charger locomotives will please customers with enhanced smoothness, speed capability and safety features – along with reduced exhaust emissions. They carry the new Amtrak MidwestSM logo to promote the five-state network of connecting trains with a robust reservations system, eTicketing and mobile apps; AmtrakConnectSM cellular-based Wi-Fi; and the Amtrak Guest Rewards® program.

After deliveries are completed, these 33 locomotives will be deployed from Chicago on trains that served more than 2.6 million Amtrak customers in the last year: Lincoln Service, Illini/Saluki and Illinois Zephyr/Carl Sandburg to and from Downstate Illinois; Hiawatha Service in Illinois and Wisconsin; Wolverine Service/Blue Water/Pere Marquette to and from Michigan; and Missouri River Runner between Kansas City and St. Louis. The first Amtrak Midwest locomotive was unveiled at a news conference today at Chicago Union Station.

“Our individual Amtrak Midwest routes are made even stronger by being part of a network of connecting trains, stations, and reservation systems, which are a product of our state partners working together under the Amtrak umbrella,” said Michael Franke, Amtrak Senior Director – State Contracts. “These locomotives will power the Amtrak Midwest brand, bringing even better service to our customers.”

“We are proud to have led the effort to bring these attractive, modern locomotives to Illinois and our other state partners,” said Randy Blankenhorn, Illinois Transportation Secretary. “Passenger rail customers will benefit the most by enjoying a ride that’s more reliable and more comfortable as they travel between our state’s great communities, institutions and attractions.”

“We look forward to the improved efficiency and reliability that the Siemens Charger locomotives bring to intercity passenger rail services across the Midwest,” said David Simon, Director of the Bureau of Transit, Local Roads, Railroads, and Harbors at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

“This procurement with partnering Midwest states has shown we can work together for a common goal,” said Tim Hoeffner, Director, Michigan Department of Transportation Office of Rail. “In the coming weeks, Michigan will begin the replacement of older engines with brand new, high-tech locomotives operating on all of our passenger rail corridors, which will complement our 110-mph service.”

“Missouri is proud to be a partner welcoming safer, cleaner, faster and better locomotives to the Amtrak Midwest fleet,” said Michelle Teel, Multimodal Operations Director for the Missouri Department of Transportation. “Missouri River Runner passengers will benefit from improved performance when the locomotives go into operation soon between St. Louis and Kansas City.”

Manufactured by Siemens at its 1,000-person rail manufacturing hub in Sacramento, Calif., the new fleet offers numerous advantages, such as lower maintenance costs, reduced fuel consumption and quieter operation.

IDTX 4611 at the Amtrak Maintenance Facility in Chicago on 28 August 2017. Picture by Siemens.

“We’re building these locomotives in California, for the U.S., bringing the latest technologies to life for riders,” said Armin Kick, Siemens Mobility Vice President for Locomotives. “These are among the nation’s cleanest locomotives and we’re proud to have not only worked closely with Amtrak and the state DOTs to bring these to the Midwest, but also our robust chain of suppliers from across the country.”

Powered by a Midwest-made 4,400 horsepower Cummins QSK95 diesel engine, the locomotives will be able to operate at speeds up to 125 mph, with faster acceleration and braking for better on-time reliability. They meet the latest safety regulations and feature better traction for improved performance.

They also are the first higher-speed passenger locomotives to meet the highest federal environmental standards, meaning a 90 percent reduction in emissions and a reduction in fuel consumption of up to 16% compared to the previous locomotives.

Purchased through $216.5 million in federal funds, the locomotives are just one part of a larger effort to improve passenger rail service in Illinois and the Midwest.

Related sections:
SiemensChargerCharger: IDOT

PKP LHS ST40s-16 with a freight train near Karp on 5 October 2014. Picture by Przemyslaw Zielinski.

Newag has been awarded an order for the rebuilding of an additional ten ST44 diesels to 311Da diesel locos by Polish broad gauge rail freight operator PKP LHS. The rebuilding process is to commence fairly soon with the first loco expected to re-enter service in late-March 2018 and the tenth loco by the end of 2018.

Delivered by Newag from 2008 until 2010, PKP LHS currently operates a fleet of 17 311Da diesel locomotives and will see its fleet of the type increased to 27 ten years after the first rebuilding. The order is driven by the increasing age of the ST44 locomotives and the corresponding higher operational costs, as well as an aim towards improved fleet standardization, easier multiple working and improved maintenance schemes and systems.

Besides PKP LHS, leasing company Macquarie European Rail operates a considerable fleet too. The lessor's fleet of 20 standard gauge locomotives is hired by CTL Logistics, DB Cargo Polska and Freightliner PL. Additionally, several DB Cargo Polska locomotives are or have been subhired to other Polish operates, including Track Tec Rail, ZPiS Spedkoks and ZIK.

PKP LHS ST40s-08 at Zamość-Bortatycze on 28 July 2016. Picture by Martin Weidig.

Related sections:
Newag311D / 311Da

Vectron DE locomotive 247 908 'Debbie' at Singen-Hohentwiel on 22 August 2017. Picture by Thomas Naas.

On August 12th, the railway line between Karlsruhe and Baden-Baden became blocked due to a ground slip at the construction site of a new tunnel being constructed in Rastatt. Because the damage is so substantial, the initial deadline for track repairs of late-August had initially been extended well into September by DB Netze. Now, the infrastructure manager even mentions October.

The consequences of the line being blocked are enormous for the rail sector and the international rail freight sector in particular. Being part of the Rhine-Alpine Corridor, the line handles nearly 200 freight trains every day, mainly operating to and from Italy. Complete supply chains have been disrupted and terminals as far as the Port of Rotterdam even refused to accept containers that would travel by rail on this hinterland connection for a while.

Meanwhile shipping are looking at other solutions such as road transport and inland shipping, whilst the rail freight sector has been suffering financial damage, estimated at several million euros per day, and possibly considerable reputation damage. Rail freight operators are actively trying to mitigate the negative effects together with DB Netze, diverting their trains to other routes. However, in many cases, they are met with longer transit times, train length restrictions and additional (traction) costs. One of the operator's hit by the disruption is SBB Cargo International, a large player on this Rhine-Alpine Corridor. It has hired Vectron DE locomotive 247 908 from Siemens to be able to operate its trains over non-electrified lines.

Related sections:
SiemensVectron DE

Akiem > LINEAS France 75025 still in OSR France pink, but with LINEAS logos, at Tergnier on 28 August 2017. Picture by Antoine Morval.

Unlike Prima locos 75036 and 75110, which carry the full LINEAS company colour scheme, 75025 has not been given such an extensive restyling. The loco still sports the pink details reminding of the now defunct OSR France brand, but has seen the OSR France logos replaced by LINEAS logos. Electric Prima 27156 was given the same treatment and now also features LINEAS logos. It is expected more locos will follow soon.

Related sections:
AlstomBB 75000: Akiem & SNCF

CZ LOKO has finished a fifth EffiLiner 1600 locomotive. Similar to the previous four locomotives, it has been sold to Czech rail freight operator SD - Kolejová doprava. The loco is equipped with a CAT 3512 C-HD engine, delivering 1550 kW. The loco is in a slightly different livery, having bigger white beams on its sides.

Duslo 744 709-7 on test near Detva on 17 July 2017. Picture by Rado Archnalej.

Already some time ago, Slovakia's Duslo a.s. ordered the modernization of two old T 448 diesel locomotives. In June 2016, the designated T 448.0856 and T 448.0523 arrived at the ZOS Zvolen works to be rebuilt into Class 744.7 locomotives: 744 709 and 744 710 (we're still trying to find out which loco has become which exactly). These pictures from July 17th show that at least 744 709-7 has emerged from the ZOS Zvolen works now.

The service numbers of the locomotives follow those of the Slovnaft 744.7s (744 704-708). In Slovakia, no 744 701-703 exist as the Slovnaft locomotives used to be in sequence with the three 744.7 locomotives delivered by CZ LOKO (and predecessors) to Czech customers. However, European Vehicle Numbers allow for overlapping internal vehicle numbers because the locomotives are registered in different countries and thus have different registration numbers. As a result, 744 704-8 and 744 705-5 exist both in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. An overview:

Czech Republic - CZ LOKO and predecessors - 92 54 2:
744 701-4 Unipetrol Doprava
744 702-2 SD - Kolejová Doprava
744 703-0 SD - Kolejová Doprava
744 704-8 CZ LOKO > Erdemir (TR)
744 705-5 CZ LOKO > Erdemir (TR)

Slovakia - ZOS Zvolen - 92 56 1:
744 704-8 Slovnaft (744 728-7)
744 705-5 Slovnaft (744 953-1)
744 706-3 Slovnaft (744 886-3)
744 707-1 Slovnaft (744 827-7)
744 708-9 Slovnaft (744 731-1)
744 709-7 Duslo
744 710-5 Duslo

Not only the numbers of the locomotives may cause confusion, there are some substantial differences between the designs of both manufacturers now. Originally a Czech project, ZOS Zvolen produced the locomotive for Slovnaft based on the Czech design. But, as could be seen with the CZ LOKO 744.7 locomotives for Erdemir, the design has been updated, featuring elements of CZ LOKO's 741.7 locomotives. However, the Duslo locomotives produced by ZOS Zvolen are still closely related to the original 744.7 design, having, for example, older engines (Stage II instead of Stage IIIa).

Duslo 744 709-7 on test near Detva on 17 July 2017. Picture by Rado Archnalej.

Related sections:
ZOS Zvolen

Temporarily hired to Colas Rail at the time and still in its previous livery, GB Railfreight 66723 'Chinook' passes Paddock Wood on 26 August 2016. Picture by Adam McMillan.

GB Railfreight 66723 'Chinook' has had its livery updated to the latest GB Railfreight color scheme, which does not feature the red and blue roundels anymore since the company was sold by the Europorte Group. The loco is easily recognized by the large yellow Chinook helicopter on its sides and the marking ZA723. A picture of the loco in its new livery can be found here: link.

GBRf 66723 in its updated livery at Petersborough Depot on 13 August 2017. Picture by Richard Gennis.

GBRf 66723 in its updated livery at Petersborough Depot on 13 August 2017. Picture by Richard Gennis.

Israel Railways 717T still carries its temporary Croatian designation 98 78 2063 154-5 as it is being unloaded at the port of Haifa on 6 August 2017. Picture by Yaron Dozetas.

Together with partner NREC, TŽV Gredelj has commenced the delivery of new NGT26CW-3 diesel locomotives to Israel Railways. On August 6, the first four of seven additional locomotives were unloaded at the port of Haifa and subsequently forwarded between locos 704 and 1407 for further commissioning. Delivery of the remaining three locomotives is scheduled to take place in early-September.

With the arrival of the four locomotives, Israel Railways' fleet of the type grows to ten. In 2015, the first six locomotives were delivered to Israel, designated 710T-715T. At the time, it was already indicated that if the locos proved successful, the options for a further six locos would be exercised. It now seems that an additional locomotive has been ordered on top of the six optional locomotives originally envisaged.

On August 6, Israel Railways EURO 4000 locomotive 1407 is almost ready to depart from the port of Haifa with the four newly arrived locomotives, as Prima 704 is prepared to be attached to the back of the train for additional braking power. Picture by Yaron Dozetas.

DB Cargo UK 66132 heading a steam charter past Newton St. Cyres on 10 March 2013. Picture by Peter Lovell.

Further rationalization of DB Cargo UK's fleet is currently taking place with 10 Class 66 locomotives being offered for sale. It concerns locomotives 66008, 66016, 66046, 66058, 66081, 66132, 66141, 66184, 66238 and 66250. More information regarding the sale can be found on the DB Cargo UK website.

RheinCargo DE 62 at the RheinCargo workshop in Brühl-Vochem on 27 July 2017. Picture by Jörg van Essen.

RheinCargo DE 62 has lost its HGK livery and has seen it exchanged for the RheinCargo company colors.

DRS 66301 at Carlisle Kingmoor TMD on 22 July 2017. Picture by John Whittingham.

On July 22, DRS organized an open day at Carlisle Kingmoor TMD. During the open day, loco 66301 was named after the depot, receiving plates with the name 'Kingmoor TMD'. 66301 is the first DRS Class 66 to be named since the type entered traffic with the British operator.

DRS 66301 at Carlisle Kingmoor TMD on 22 July 2017. Picture by John Whittingham.

ECR 66209 at Les Aubrais-Orléans on 29 April 2016. Picture by Thierry Mazoyer.

It has been indicated that France's Compagnie ferroviaire régionale (CFR) will be making use of ECR Class 66 locomotive 66209. The use of Class 66 locomotives is part of a larger rental scheme, which sees several ECR Class 66 locomotives hired by RégioRail, which manages not only CFR, but also Ouest Rail, RégioRail Provence, RégioRail Lorraine, RégioRail Rhône-Alpes, RégioRail Sud de France.

Despite an earlier arrival of the Eemslift Ellen at the Port of Workington, unloading of the last three Class 68 locomotives ordered by Direct Rail Services from Stadler (through Beacon Rail) did not take place until Monday 24 July. After unloading, 68032-034 were transferred to DRS' Carlisle Kingmoor depot by DRS 'oldie' 57007.

The final locomotive of the third batch (68032) and the two locos of the fourth batch (68033-034) ordered by Direct Rail Services through Beacon Rail Leasing have been released from the Stadler Rail Valencia works in Albuixech. In the meantime, the locos have made it onto the Eemslift Ellen after being moved to the port of Sagunto.

At the time of writing, the Eemslift Ellen was sailing the Irish Sea, being only hours away from its destination: the Port of Workington. The ship's journey can be tracked here: link.

Slowly but steadily, DB Cargo UK is repainting its fleet of Class 66 locomotives into company colors. Both DB Cargo UK's 66018 and 66230 have lost their EWS livery, which is currently being replaced by a DB red one.

GB Railfreight 66778 at Peterborough on 16 July 2017. Picture by Howard Lewsey.

During a charity tour run by GB Railfreight on 15 July 2017, 66778 was named 'Darius Cheskin' at Cleethorpes station. GB Railfreight about the story behind 66778's new name:

A few months ago we auctioned off the opportunity to choose a name for one of our locomotives, with the proceeds being donated to our nominated charities. The auction winner was Mike Cheskin, a life long rail enthusiast from Charfield, Gloucestershire. Mike sadly lost one of his sons Darius in 2004 to a rare form of bone cancer called Ewing's Sarcoma. Mikes other son has since named his 7 year old grandson after him and Darius Junior is also an avid rail fan.

So when our staff charter train arrived in Cleethorpes on Saturday with Mike and his grandson on board, Darius was asked to uncover the nameplates on 66778, and was somewhat surprised at what he found underneath! Mike and Darius Cheskin are pictured here shortly after the unveiling and we're very grateful to Mike for a very generous donation to our charity fund:

Nearing completion, Fenniarail 104 is seen at the CZ LOKO works in Jihlava. Picture by CZ LOKO.

On 19 July 2017, CZ LOKO announced that it had released Fenniarail's fourth EffiShunter 1600 locomotive from its works and that it had started its journey to Finland.

Captrain 6603 hauls Benelux 'Hondekop' 220.902 trough Nispen on 14 July 2017. Picture by Henk Zwoferink.

On July 14th, Captrain Class 66 loco 6603 was used to transport EMU 220.902, the last remaining 'Benelux' Hondekop, to the Netherlands. Having retrieved the unit in Leuven, Belgium, it was transported to Roosendaal in the Netherlands, where it will be restored by the Stichting Hondekop. 220.902 is planned to be restored to running order, allowing it to be run on both Belgian and Dutch rails once again.

Captrain 6603 and Benelux 'Hondekop' 220.902 in Roosendaal on 14 July 2017. Picture by Henk Zwoferink.

Captrain 6603 in Roosendaal on 14 July 2017. Picture by Henk Zwoferink.

Rail Feeding 561-05 at Rotterdam Waalhaven-Zuid on 15 July 2017. Picture by Henk Zwoferink.

Netherlands based rail freight operator Rotterdam Rail Feeding has applied the full orange and black Rail Feeding livery to three Class 66 locomotives. Leased from Beacon Rail Leasing, loco 561-05 is the latest loco to sport this color scheme. Earlier, it was applied to 561-03 and 561-04.

Rail Feeding 561-05 at Rotterdam Waalhaven-Zuid on 15 July 2017, as part of a (ex-NS) Class 1600 line-up to celebrate the presentation of a new book about these electrics. Picture by Henk Zwoferink.

Rail Feeding 561-05 head to head with a Rail Feeding Class 1600 electric at Rotterdam Waalhaven-Zuid on 15 July 2017. Picture by Henk Zwoferink.

Rail Feeding 561-05 passing Helmond with a LPG train from Vlissingen to Cologne on July 17. Picture by Jeroen de Vries.

GB Railfreight has named another of its Class 66 locomotives. On July 11, a naming ceremony took place at Her Majesty's Naval Base (HMNB) Devonport where the loco's new name HMS Argyll and 'new number' F231 were unveiled by the ship's commander Toby Shaughnessy and GBRf Managing Director John Smith.

F231 HMS Argyll, a British Type 23 frigate, took part in a 4-day exercise in the English Channel a few months back and, according to GB Railfreight, a few GBRf employees were given the special privilege of joining the ship during these 4 days. "After their excellent hospitality, a close friendship was formed, and as a result of that, it was decided we would name a locomotive after their ship."

Freshly stickered in full LINEAS livery: Akiem 75110 at Hazebrouck on 10 July 2017. Picture by Nicolas Beyaert.

Earlier, we reported about LINEAS France having restyled its 75036 into full company colours. Now, also loco 75110 has been given the new livery.

Freshly stickered in full LINEAS livery: Akiem 75110 at Morbecque on 10 July 2017. Picture by Nicolas Beyaert.

Related sections:
AlstomBB 75000: Akiem & SNCF

Vectron DE locomotive 247 905 in service for e.g.o.o. at Georgsheil on 4 July 2017. Picture by Lucas Hirsch.

Germany's e.g.o.o. Eisenbahngesellschaft Ostfriesland-Oldenburg mbH is currently operating Siemens Vectron DE loco 247 905. Until recently, the locomotive was on trial with Mindener Kreisbahnen (MKB).

247 905 at Minden on 2 July 2017, which was its last day with MKB. Picture by René Klink.

Related sections:
SiemensVectron DE

Again some news about DB Cargo UK locomotives with updated color schemes. Class 67 locos 67013 and 67015 have received promotional slogans similar to 67010 and 67028. 67013 received the slogan 'First choice for rail freight in the UK', whilst 67015 now carries the slogan 'Leading the next generation of rail freight' (link).

On 3 July 2017, DRS 88006 works the 4S43 Daventry - Mossend 'Tesco Express' through Lichfield Trent Valley Station. Picture by Jack Meakin-Sawyer.

DRS 88006 has entered service. On 2 July 2017, the loco operated the 4M48 from Mossend to Daventry. On the 3rd, 88006 'Juno' worked the 4S43 Daventry to Mossend return service.

LINEAS France 75036 in its new livery at Hazebrouck on 3 July 2017. Picture by Nicolas Beyaert.

LINEAS France 75036 in its new livery at Hazebrouck on 3 July 2017. Picture by Nicolas Beyaert.

Related sections:
AlstomBB 75000: Akiem & SNCF

In December 2016, Fennia Rail announced an order for a further two EffiShunter 1600 diesel locomotives from CZ LOKO. The designated (Dr 18) 104 and 105 are currently nearing completion in the Czech Republic, where CZ LOKO internally numbers them 774 715 and 716, in line with the previously delivered Class 774.7 locomotives. An overview:

774 711 - Fennia Rail 101
774 712 - Fennia Rail 102
774 713 - Fennia Rail 103
774 714 - CER Cargo (ex-CZ LOKO)
774 715 - Fennia Rail 104
774 716 - Fennia Rail 105

A picture of the future Fennia Rail 104 can be found here: link.

DB Cargo UK 67028 at Doncaster on 24 June 2017. Picture by Andrew Haxton.

DB Cargo UK 67010 was painted red earlier, but has now been given large DB logos and the promotional text "First choice for rail freight in the UK". DB Cargo 67028 has been repainted in red more recently and now carries a similar livery with the text "Leading the next generation of rail freight.

Rotterdam Rail Feeding 561-03 near Sas van Gent on 23 May 2017. Picture by Martijn Schokker.

Dutch rail freight operator Rotterdam Rail Feeding has re-liveried anoter Class 66 locomotive in the orange/black Genessee and Wyoming company colour scheme. The loco in question, Beacon Rail 561-04, is the second of its type to receive the livery. Loco 561-03 received the new livery back in July 2016.

Beacon Rail > RRF 561-04 in its new livery at Hegelsom on 3 July 2017. Picture by Jeroen de Vries.

Another two GB Railfreight Class 66 locomotives have been named. 66776 and 777 now carry the names Joanne and Annette respectively.

On 21-22 June, the latest four additions to the Beacon Rail Leasing > Direct Rail Services Class 68 fleet were released into traffic. The designated 68029-031 made their debut on the 21st, 68028 on the 22nd.

The date of last revision (here the 'Abnahme') and subsequent extensions listed on ECR 77017. Picture by Thierry Mazoyer.

The German Bundesverkehrsministerium wants to change the German system for revisions of rolling stock, including locomotives, as it is non-compliant with EU legislation. At this moment, it is obligatory to subject every locomotive to a general main overhaul ("Hauptuntersuchung") every six years. However, if the locomotive's condition allows it, this term can be extended ("Verlängerung" oder Verl.) by one year at a time, to a maximum of eight years.

European law states that the entity responsible for the overhaul can decide on its own when a main overhaul is needed, taking the number of service hours and mileage into account.

MLD: 'condition based maintenance' is slowly becoming the new standard. New technologies and ongoing digitalization have considerably improved the way manufacturer, owner and operator monitor the condition of their trains. This is now possible in real-time if required. Also, it is now possible to predict failure of key components, so they can be replaced before they break down. And, parts that are not due for overhaul nor replacement can stay longer.

On 24 June, GBRf 66756 was named at the Swanage Railway. In Swanage, the loco's 'Royal Corps of Signals' nameplates were unveiled to the public.

For all those who lost track of all the different TRAXX locomotive types, we made a new overview, visual, colorful; This is the new TRAXX family three. Click the image to visit the dedicated web page. We have also included an overview that will help to quickly find the features that let you identify the right TRAXX type.

Related sections:

Railvolution reports that Stadler's EURO DUAL prototype locomotive arrived at the Romanian test ring in Făurei on 25 May. Currently, the locomotive is undergoing a wide variety of tests, which are scheduled to be completed in mid-August. The locomotive carries the incorrect EVN-number 98 27 0006 001-7 F-STAVA, which should be 92 87 0006 001-7 F-STAVA.

Meanwhile in Portugal, all four Alpha Trains EURO 4000 locomotives for Medway Logistics have arrived. The locos all carry the black and yellow Medway livery, Medway service numbers and names:

E 5033 'Matilde'
E 5034 'Adriana'
E 5035 'Ana Filipa'
E 5036 'Marina'

This video from Youtube by Fernando Liberato shows all four locomotives running together in Medway livery:

DRS 88004 passes Lichfield Trent Valley with the 4S43 Daventry - Mossend 'Tesco Express' on 13 June 2017. Picture by Jack Meakin-Sawyer.

After loco 88003 had its debut with the 4S43 Daventry - Mossend 'Tesco Express' on 12 June 2017, 88004 performed the return working (4M48) from Schotland overnight. In the morning of 13 June, 88004 took the 4S43 to Schotland again.

DRS 88004 passes Lichfield Trent Valley with the 4S43 Daventry - Mossend 'Tesco Express' on 13 June 2017. Video by Jack Meakin-Sawyer.

On 17 July 2016, Metrolink 905 was presented at the Union Station in Los Angeles as the first Tier 4 locomotive for Metrolink. Picture by Philip Wormald.

On June 5, Metrolink began testing its EMD F125 passenger diesels on its network. Performed during day daytime hours, Metrolink aims to mitigate the negative effects of the testing programme as much as possible. The tests will be carried out through June at various locations, including Pomona, San Dimas, La Verne, Azusa and Irwindale, as well as the Antelope Valley and Orange County lines.

Testing schemes like this are mandatory to introduce new locos on the network. As soon as testing is successfully concluded, Metrolink will be allowed to operate the locos in revenue service. In total, Metrolink has 40 of the 200 km/h passenger diesels on order from Progress Rail, with the bodies being built by Stadler Rail Valencia in Spain.

Meanwhile in the USA, Siemens has out-shopped a further two IDOT Chargers. Numbered 4612 and 4613, the locos were sent to the Colorado testing facility on June 1.

Youtube video by MobileRailSpotterRxR of Chargers 4612 and 4613 on the first part of their journey to the Colorado test centre.

Related sections:
SiemensChargerCharger: IDOT

DRS 88003 hauls the 4S43 'Tesco Express' from Daventry to Mossend while passing Lichfield Trent Valley Station. Picture by Jack Meakin-Sawyer.

After having performed some charter workings in May, DRS 88003 'Genesis' has now performed its first revenue earning service, hauling the 4S43 Daventry - Mossend 'Tesco Express'.

DRS 88003 hauls the 4S43 'Tesco Express' from Daventry to Mossend while passing Lichfield Trent Valley Station. Video by Jack Meakin-Sawyer.

More livery news from the UK, where several Class 66 locomotives and one Class 67 locomotive have been given new liveries. The following locos have exchanged their EWS livery for a DB red one:


Loco 335 034 has been given the full Medway Logistics livery, similar to sister locomotive 335 033. It now carries the internal designation E 5034 and the name Adriana. Picture by Alpha Trains.

On 31 May 2017, Stadler officially delivered six new EURO 4000 locomotives to Alpha Trains. Four locos (335 033-036) will go on long-term hire to Portugal's Medway Logistics, the other two (335 037-038) will be leased to Ibercargo Rail, a joint venture between Comsa Rail Transport and Takargo. All six are equipped with the specific systems required for operations on the rail networks of both Spain and Portugal, enabling both operators to improve their services on cross-border connections.

For Alpha Trains, the delivery sees its fleet of EURO 4000 locomotives grow from 24 to 30. The first 24 were delivered to the operator between 2008 and 2009, and are all in operation on the Iberian peninsula. Carlos Vasconcelos, MEDWAY’s President of the Board, adds: "Expanding and updating our fleet with these 4 new interoperable locomotives represents a huge step towards our business goals: it will officially mean the entrance in the Spanish market, through a focus on innovation, sustainability and modernization, which will surely be key for us on our way to turn MEDWAY into the leading freight operator in the Iberian Peninsula"

Loco 335 034 has been given the full Medway Logistics livery, similar to sister locomotive 335 033. It now carries the internal designation E 5034 and the name Adriana. Picture by Alpha Trains.

Short livery news from the United Kingdom where DRS 66428 has been repainted into the basic DRS livery. It was the last of its Class still sporting the original DRS livery.

Lineas 513-10 passes Viersen-Helenabrunn while heading back to Hermalle Sous Huy in Belgium on 1 June, 2017. Picture by Arnold de Vries.

On 1 June 2017, the first day of the month and the first day of the meteorological summer, Lineas 513-10 had its first outing in its new livery.

IL 251 in its new livery at Großkorbetha on 30 May 2017. Picture by Andreas Kloß.

InfraLeuna's sole Vectron DE locomotive has been re-styled in the blue InfraLeuna color scheme and now carries internal number 251.

IL 251 in its new livery at Großkorbetha on 30 May 2017. Picture by Andreas Kloß.

IL 251 in its new livery at Großkorbetha on 31 May 2017. Picture by Jens Mittwoch.

Related sections:
SiemensVectron DE

The two CZ LOKO 741.7 locomotives for Francesco Ventura Costruzioni Ferroviarie together on 27 May 2017. Picture by Dalibor Palko.

The CZ LOKO works in Jihlava have completed another two Class 741.7 diesel locomotives. The locos in question, 741 741-3 and 741 742-1, are to be delivered to Francesco Ventura Costruzioni Ferroviarie S.r.l. based in Paola, Italy. Delivery of the locomotives is scheduled to take place this month.

Update: Article now features images.

Freshly outshopped 741 741-3 in the sun 9 and 8 May 2017 respectively. Pictures by Dalibor Palko and John Teasdale.

Related sections:
CZ LOKO741.7

Freshly stickered Beacon Rail > Lineas 513-10 in front of the Tractiewerkplaats Antwerpen-Noord on May 24, 2017. Picture by Kurt Luyckx.

And that's number five. After two Class 186 electrics and two HLD 77 diesel locomotives, it was time for Class 66 locomotive 513-10 to be restyled into full Lineas livery.

Graphic of Lineas 513-10 in full company colour scheme.

On 22 May 2017, the Eemslift Hendrika arrived in the Port of Workington with new Class 68 locomotives for Beacon Rail Leasing > DRS on board. In the morning of 23 May, locos 68028-031 were unloaded.

WSDOT Charger locomotive 1403 at Seattle King Street Station on 21 May 2017. Picture by Siemens.

On 21 May 2017, the new Siemens Charger SC-44 locomotives to be operated on Amtrak's Cascades service were unveiled to the public at Seattle King Street Station. The 200 km/h locomotives comply with Tier 4 emission standards and are significantly more fuel-efficient than the locomotives currently in operation. Currently undergoing extensive testing, the locomotives are scheduled to enter service this summer.

Related sections:
SiemensChargerCharger: WSDOT

STRABAG Rail 741 702-5 with an engineering train in Sokolov on 21 May 2015. Picture by Aleš Bílek.

Ordered in 2010 by predecessor Viamont DSP, the four Class 741.7 locomotives currently in STRABAG Rail's fleet have been put up for sale. It concerns locos 741.702-705, which were built between 2010 and 2011.

Related sections:
CZ LOKO741.7

Recently delivered DRS 68027 sports a basic but temporary DRS livery in anticipation of receiving the Transpennine Express livery. Here it is seen passing Nottingham-Stapleford on 15 May 2017. Picture by John Whittingham.

In an interview with Rail Technology Magazine, Robin Davis, head of new feet at Transpennine Express (TPE), gave an update about the status of the new fleet for the operator. Amongst other topics, also the Class 68 locomotives were discussed, which are to be provided by Direct Rail Services (DRS) for use with CAF Mark 5A push-pull sets. Both the Class 68s and the coaches are owned by Beacon Rail Leasing.

It is stated that the first Class 68 would become available to TPE in late-May. When available, the loco would be modified to enable them to operate in push-pull mode with the CAF coaches. The modifications will be performed by Stadler at the DRS workshop in Crewe. In June, a second locomotive will follow and when the modifications to both locos are complete, they will be sent to the VUZ Velim test centre in the Czech Republic for dynamic trials with the first Mark 5A push-pull set. The coaches are expected to be complete in the third quarter of 2017.

Structurally, 14 locomotives will be in use by TPE. In an article in Rail (UK) from 8 October 2016, it is mentioned that a total of 19 locomotives will be made available for TPE services, indicating that 5 locos will be used as 'spares'. A first entry into service is expected to take place in the summer of 2018.

A new EURO 4000 livery has appeared on European rails: Medway E 5033 'Matilde' has left the Stadler works at Albuixech behind it on 20 May 2017. Picture by Gabriel Berenguer.

The title says it all. EURO 4000 locomotive 335 033-0 has been given the black and yellow Medway livery. Note that the loco also has an internal service number now (E 5033) and a name: Matilde.

The future Alpha Trains > Ibercargo Rail 335 038-9 on a test run near Benicŕssim on 17 May 2017. Picture by Jose Miralles.

In a deal closed in 2016, Ibercargo Rail and Alpha Trains have agreed upon the delivery of another two EURO 4000 locomotives that are to be leased for a five-year period. The joint venture between Comsa Rail Transport and Takargo will receive two brand new locomotives, designated 335 037-1 and 335 038-9. The two are currently nearing completion.

The two EURO 4000 locomotives further boost Alpha Trains' fleet of the type. Currently, the company is also receiving four locomotives that are to be leased to Portugal's Medway Logistics (the former CP Carga). With the 6 additional locos, the Alpha Trains EURO 4000 fleet is increased from 24 to 30.

Severn Valley Railway Spring Diesel Festival: DRS 88003 at the rear of 16.06 Bridgnorth to Kidderminster, having worked the 13.47 from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth as its passenger debut on 18 May 2017. Picture by Patrick Perry.

DRS' Class 88 locomotives are slowly making their debut on British rails, as they have been approved for general running on the network after a period of trials. Two of the locos, 88002 and 88003, have starred on rail tours and at special occasions. The former had its debut on the Northern Bell on 9 May, while the latter attended the Severn Valley Railway Spring Diesel Gala on 18-20 May.

A short impression of 88002 from Youtube:

Related sections:
Stadler Rail ValenciaUK DUAL

Some short livery news from the UK again, where Class 66 locomotive 66020 has been painted red at the DB Cargo UK workshop in Toton.

CZ LOKO 774 714-0 during a test run at Vác, Hungary on February 14, 2017. Picture by Márk Fekete.

CZ LOKO has sold its Class 774.7 diesel locomotive to Hungary's CER Cargo. The designated 774 714-0 is configured for services in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland. It will be delivered to the operator in late-May after some preparations are completed. Meanwhile, the locomotives has been given the blue-yellow CER Cargo livery: link.

LTE 2016 909 with its new and flaming Rock'N'Roll vinyls at Gramatneusiedl on 11 May 2017. Picture by Herbert Pschill.

Some short livery new from Austria. Just like LTE's 2016 922, EuroRunner 2016 909 now has flaming Rock'N'Roll vinyls on its flanks.

DB Cargo 247 902 at Messe München on 10 May 2017. Picture by Thomas Wohlfarth.

At the outdoor exhibition, various freight wagons were presented to the public, but they were not alone. They were accompanied by three locomotives, including:

- Alstom H3 locomotive 301 of InfraLeuna
- Bombardier Class 186 electric 186 268 for Rhenus Rail Logistics
- Siemens Vectron DE loco 247 902, hired to DB Cargo

Related sections:
SiemensVectron DE

Closely resembling the new EURO DUAL locomotives, the EURO 4001 essentially looks like a version without pantographs. Note this is not the official design, but a photo-shopped version of the original EURO 4001 graphic by Stadler Rail.

At the Transport Logistic trade fair in Munich, we learned that a successor to the six-axle EURO 4000 diesel locomotive has been designed: the EURO 4001. Despite its success, the EURO 4000 will no longer be available soon, as its EMD 710 series engine complies with Stage IIIa emission legislation and there is no direct alternative available. The EURO 4001 follows the EURO DUAL design and can be seen as a diesel-only version.

Technically, the EURO 4001 combines various components of the EURO 4000 and EUROLIGHT diesel locomotives, updated to current standards. With a maximum speed of 160 km/h, the locomotive is suitable for both passenger and freight operations. Rather than the EMD 710 series engine used in the EURO 4000, the EURO 4001 will house a C175-16 Caterpillar engine with a power output of up to 3000 kW.

Another DB Cargo UK Class 66 locomotive has been restyled into DB company colour scheme. This time it was loco 66085 that underwent the repaint that an ever increasing amount of class members already experienced.

DB Regio 245 037 at Kassel on 12 April 2017. Picture by Christian Klotz.

DB Cargo UK 66206 has been repainted in DB red at DB Cargo's workshop in Toton and has re-entered service meanwhile.

Lineas 186 293-7 is ready to depart Antwerpen-Noord with its first freight train after receiving its new livery on 3 May 2017. Picture by Maxime Bonnier.

On 3 May 2017, Lineas (the former B Logistics) presented the first locomotive in its fleet to have received the company colour scheme at Antwerpen-Noord. Railpool TRAXX 186 293-7 will not be the sole loco in this livery. Soon, a further five locomotives will travel on European rails in the new colour scheme, including three diesel locomotives. It concerns one D-B-F TRAXX electric, one HLE13 electric, two HLD77 diesels and, interesting for us, one Class 66 locomotive. Diesel loco 7789 is currently being re-liveried and will enter service soon.

Soon to be leased to Portugal's Medway Logistics, the brand new Alpha Trains 335 035 passes through Less Valls (Valencia) after a test run on 11 April 2017. Picture by Jose Miralles.

Also to be leased to Portugal's Medway Logistics, Alpha Trains 335 034 heads back to the Stadler Rail works in Albuixech while passing through Almassora (Castellón) after test runs on 19 April 2017. Picture by Jose Miralles.

At its Carlisle Kingmoor Depot, Direct Rail Services is preparing its brand new 68026 and 68027 for their entry into revenue service. Just like the locos of the second batch, the two have been delivered from Spain in a base blue livery. However, unlike the second batch, they haven't been stickered completely into DRS Compass livery. Instead, smaller logos have been applied on the base blue body similar, which reminds of the basic DRS Class 66 livery, possibly as a temporary measure in anticipation of a future livery change.

Proposed technical design of the 19D locomotive. Graphic by IPS Tabor.

Polish rail vehicle institute IPS Tabor has been working on the development of a modernized version of the Polish type SM48 diesel locomotive. The project is jointly performed with PESA Bydgoszcz and co-financed by the Polish National Research and Development Center. The six-axle loco has been given the type designation 19D and, according to IPS Tabor, the concept would have to meet the following general requirements:

- modern diesel engine(s) meeting Stage IIIB emission legislation
- modern generators
- electric circuit meeting the requirements for interference and noise
- drives supporting the use of alternating current motors
- a modern brake system with pneumatic parking brake
- microprocessor control system and diagnostics of the drive and the entire locomotive
- modern cabins with new acoustic and thermal insulation, and modern air conditioner (or cooler) and other sanitary facilities for improved ease of use
- upgraded bogies improving running characteristics, improving the tightness of the transmission, improving the durability of the rim (as a result of flange lubrication systems) and improving the durability of the traction motors (change of insulation)
- modern detection systems, alarms and fire extinguishing for all systems

Meanwhile, the project has left the drawing board and is executed at the Pesa works in Bydgoszcz, where a first prototype locomotive has reached an advanced stage of construction.

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ER 20-007, the last remaining diesel locomotive in MRCE's fleet, heads ALX 84134 / 84154 München Hbf - Lindau Hbf / Oberstdorf near Riedles on 20 January 2017. Picture by Maarten van der Velden.

Mitsui Rail Capital Europe (MRCE) has sold its fleet of 32 Vossloh diesel locomotives to Ireland's RIVE Rail Leasing Ltd (RRL). The deal was jointly arranged by Paribus Capital GmbH and Paris-based RIVE Private Investment. KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH structured and provided the senior debt.

RRL is a joint venture between a group of investors, advised by RIVE Private Investment, northrail and French wagon lessor Millet Waggons. northrail has taken over asset-management of 26 locomotives, adding 3x G 1000 BB, 19x G 1206 and 4x G 2000-3 BB to its portfolio. Millet has added 6x G 1206 to its portfolio, which concerns the six locos configured for services in France and Germany.

The transaction does not mark the end of the diesel era at MRCE, which completed the sale of 10 Siemens EuroRunner and 17 Class 66 locomotives to Beacon Rail Leasing in 2015. The company still has a single EuroRunner in its fleet: ER 20-007.

Learn more about the Vossloh diesels on Loks-aus-Kiel.de (German-only).

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SiemensER 20: MRCE

On 27 April 2017, B Logistics officially presented its new, more international, brand identity and name: Lineas. The new name marks a new beginning, leaving its financially struggling past behind it. In the last eight years, B Logistics was successfully reformed by CEO Geert Pauwels and his team, but this has not been an easy task given the staggering operational loss of €115 million in 2009. At the time, the company was a virtually bankrupt department of NMBS/SNCB. Only few stakeholders believed the company still had a future.

But, the hard work and passion put in by all Lineas employees has paid off. After a thorough transformation, the company has become one of the largest and financially most healthy private rail freight operators in Europa. The new name further boosts Lineas to face the future with confidence and ambition. It aims to realize sustainable growth in Europe, whilst having a positive impact on mobility, environment and the competitiveness of the industry. To achieve this, Lineas focuses on offering a product to its clients that convinces them to shift their transport flows from road to rail.

The Green Xpress Network has been set up to be the main driver of this growth, combining competitive pricing with high quality, high frequencies, low transshipment times and ease of use. It offers direct links between economic hubs in Europe and bundles different cargoes (from steel and chemicals to palletized cargo and containers) in an innovative way to efficiently transport them over (medium-)long distances. In the past years, B Logistics set up a network servicing 10 destinations. Another 20 to 30 connections are in the pipeline for the period until 2020. Some of the connections under consideration are fully outside Belgium, in line with Lineas' ambitions to become a European player in rail freight and logistics.

Innovations play an important role in improving the company's efficiency, but also to create a product more competitive with road transport. Since 2012, all drivers have tablets to reduce paperwork and process times. In case defects are discovered on rolling stock, a picture is made and directly sent to the responsible workshop in anticipation of repairs. Sensors have been introduced for constant monitoring of rolling stock. E-learning has been incorporated in line studies, resulting in improved training and allowing drivers to study during downtime. Geert Pauwels underlined that innovations within Lineas may not be attributed to the management alone. In many cases it was operational personnel that came up with new ideas, for example an energy-efficient driving scheme and a system detecting jammed brakes by measuring track vibrations. Pauwels added that all innovations at Lineas are completely developed in-house and that personnel is actively supported in bringing up new initiatives.

Lineas is headquartered in Brussels, but is also represented in France, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany. In France, the company is active through OSR France, which will be re-branded as Lineas France. Currently, the group operates a fleet of more than 200 locomotives, including TRAXX MS2e and HLE 13 electrics, and HLD 77 and Class 66 diesel locomotives, as well as over 7000 wagons. In the coming period, the new identity will start to appear on several vehicles. Not all locomotives will be fully re-styled, but a select number will get the full Lineas livery for now. On May 3, the first re-branded locomotive will be presented. We will keep you posted.

66053 is seen working the 6C31 Mountsorrel to Radlett passing Harrowed Junction on 18 April 2015. Picture by Richard Gennis.

DB Cargo UK has reached agreements with the four trade unions that represent most of its workforce. This means that it will launch its new business model on 2 July 2017, as planned.

ASLEF, RMT, TSSA and Unite have been in discussions since October 2016 with the country’s largest rail freight operator, when the company announced proposals to cut 893 jobs (almost a third of its workforce) in a restructure triggered by the rapid decline in the core market of coal. The working arrangements of employees will also be updated and modernised.

Hans-Georg Werner, CEO of DB Cargo UK, said: “I would like to thank ASLEF, RMT, TSSA and Unite for their continued dialogue with us. Under the pressures of the market we were able to find agreements acceptable to all parties and avoid industrial action. We regret that some colleagues will be leaving us but treating our people fairly to secure a business that will be successful in the future has been at the heart of our discussions.

“We will now move forward with our plans to lead the next generation of rail freight which includes key investments such as new wagons, terminal enhancements and combining our core function of delivering goods by rail with bespoke in-house IT solutions, to give our customers the best service and make it easy for them to do business with us.”

As the coal sector for rail freight reduces, other markets including aggregates and steel remain buoyant.

Hans-Georg Werner added: “There is a strong future for rail freight in the UK because it offers benefits that its competitors – mainly road – cannot. It’s efficient, it’s quick and it removes congestion from our roads because a train can carry much more volume than a truck. We are making sure rail freight provides solutions for customers now and in the future.”

Furthermore, Railway Gazette International reports: "DB Cargo is investing in Astra Rail MMA wagons and developing its Anubis customer order IT system. Digital remote conditioning monitoring is being fitted to 97 Class 66 and 28 Class 67 locomotives to identify and prevent mechanical problems up to two weeks before a failure might have occurred."

Siemens 247 905 in München-Allach (x2) and Unterföhring on 19 and 20 April respectively. Pictures by Frank Weimer and Michael Raucheisen.

A 'Lastprobefahrt' last week with Siemens 247 905 gave us the opportunity to have a little peak into the future of the Siemens Vectron production. Siemens decided to use a batch of new Vectron electric units to serve as 'ballast weight' during the test runs. All machines are new and did not yet leave the factory gates.

We spotted:
- three new 'stock' locomotives with works number 22163, 22215 and 22251
- new MRCE multisystem locos no. 193 655 and 193 656, so the production of the two batches of these locomotives is well on its way (the designated 193 640-650 and 651-660).
- Alpha Trains 193 556 and 557 are finished. This means that the optional locomotives have been built right away after the first order was completed. First batch is Alpha Trains 193 550-555, four more will come.
- The three Vectron for Polish PKP Cargo that were still missing are ready-to-go too. Unlike the twelve first machines, now in service, the designated 193 513 / 514 / 515 (or 5370 025-027) are additionally equipped for the Netherlands.

Update: 247 905 has been handed over to InfraLeuna as a temporary replacement of 247 907, because Siemens will perform some finishing touches on the latter.

A view on the first new Alpha Trains locomotives of the +4 option and the three final PKP Cargo locomotives. Pictures by Frank Weimer.

Related sections:
SiemensVectron DE

DB 245 026-0 outside Bombardier's Kassel plant on 10 February 2017. Picture by Christian Klotz.

Between September 2015 and June 2016, Bombardier delivered seven Class 245 TRAXX Multi Engine locomotives to DB Fernverkehr for use on its Sylt Shuttle services to and from Westerland (Sylt). All seven locos were equipped with a standard 2,720 liter fuel tank, similar to other locos of the class as delivered to DB Regio. Meanwhile, it has been decided to upgrade the seven locos with larger tanks, increasing the fuel capacity to 4,230 liter. One by one, the locos are being modified by Bombardier in Kassel.

A short update from Spain, where the brand new VFLI E4051 has left the Stadler works in Albuixech. Last week, it had already made its way to Barcelona from where it will go to France.

Meanwhile, the first homologation runs with three new EURO 4000 locomotives for Alpha Trains have commenced between Albuixech and Oropesa/Benicassim. Locos 335 033-035 are part of a batch of four locos ordered by Portugal's Medway Logistics through Alpha Trains.

Beacon Rail T66K 714 has arrived in Denmark. The loco will be hired by Captrain Denmark ApS, according to this picture in our Facebook group. Previously, the locomotive was operated by the now defunct operator Cargolink A/S from Norway.

DB Cargo UK 66136 passes Otford Junction on 15 April 2017. Picture by Howard Lewsey.

Various DB Cargo UK Class 66 locomotives have had their liveries updated recently:

- 66156 has been repainted in red by Marcroft in Stoke-on-Trent
- 66016 has been repainted in red at DB Cargo's workshop in Toton
- 66060 has received cab window repairs and has seen the area around the windows repainted in red
- 66136 has received extra vinyls on its cabs for the first return trip of the Yiwu (China)-London container train

BBC News covered the loading of the final container and the departure of DB Cargo UK 66136 with the first London-Yiwu container train on 10 April 2017.

Colas Rail 70814, 817, 816 and 815 still on transit trailers at Liverpool Seaforth Docks on 23 April 2017. Picture by Geraint Jones.

In the early morning of 18 April, the Atlantic Cartier arrived at Liverpool Seaforth Docks. On board, the vessel carried the final four PowerHaul locomotives of an order for seven of the type: 70814-817. 70812 was the first locomotive to arrive in the UK, followed by 70811 and 70813. The seven locos raise the Colas Rail PowerHaul fleet to seventeen and the total number of locos in the UK to 36.

CDTX 2105 at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento on 18 April 2017. Picture by Siemens USA.

On April 18, Siemens announced that it would start a testing scheme with Caltrans to evaluate the performance of the SC-44 Charger in revenue service. To do so, the locomotives is to be tested on California's Capital Corridor passenger service. Testing is due to begin in late-April.

The announcement was made at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, located only miles from the Siemens production facility. There, Caltrans Director, Malcolm Dougherty staid: “Not only will they make for a more sustainable transportation system, but are also expected to improve reliability and help efforts to double current statewide ridership of 5.4 million passengers by 2040.” Siemens Rolling Stock President Michael Cahill added: “Unveiling the first of these locomotives built in California, for California, is a testament to the hard working employees in Sacramento who designed, engineered and manufactured these state-of-the-art rail vehicles. We’re proud to bring the latest technologies to life for Capitol Corridor riders and help usher in the next generation of clean, smart and efficient rail travel in California.”

CDTX 2106 in an advanced state of production in mid-March 2017. Picture by Simon Wijnakker.

The brand new DB Regio 245 036 in Kassel on 20 April 2017. Picture by Christian Klotz.

Bombardier is currently building a new batch of Multi Engine diesel locomotives for Deutsche Bahn. On 30 March 2017, the designated 245 035 made a first test run, followed by the 245 036 on 20 April. Both locomotives will be dispatched to Ulm, as they carry the allocation markings "DB ZugBus Regionalverkehr Alb-Bodensee GmbH (RAB) Werk Ulm". We expect Ulm will get three new machines.

Currently, Deutsche Bahn has nine TRAXX DE ME locomotives on order, which will raise the fleet to 36:

- 3x for DB Regio to expand the fleet in South Germany
- 5x for DB Fernverkehr as ICE rescue locomotives
- 1x for DB Fernverkehr for the IC service Erfurt - Gera

The future DB Regio 245 035 in Kassel on 30 March 2017. Picture by Christian Klotz.

The brand new AAF 101 at the Siemens works in Sacramento on 8 December 2016. Picture by Brightline / All Aboard Florida.

Two new Brightline trainsets, consisting of Siemens Chargers locomotives and Viaggio Comfort USA coaches, are soon to arrive in Florida. The two trainsets - BrightGreen and BrightOrange - are to be transported from Sacramento together. A first, as the previous two trainsets - BrightBlue and BrightPink - were delivered separately, in January and March 2017 respectively.

Of the two new trainsets, BrightGreen has been completed by Siemens. Currently, the finishing touches are being done on BrightOrange. The arrival of the two sets implicitly marks the arrival of four further Charger locomotives, raising the fleet to eight. The fifth trainset will bring the number of locomotives in the fleet to ten.

Left: BrightGreen inside the manufacturing facility in Sacramento, California. Right: A first glimpse of BrightOrange at the same location. Pictures by Brightline / All Aboard Florida.

Colas Rail 70811 and 70813 pass Crewe during their delivery run. Picture by Benji Jenkinson.

Having performed their delivery run on April 6, the brand new 70811 and 70813 performed their first revenue earning service on April 8. Together, they powered the 6C26, an engineering train operating between Oxford and Bristol.

Bloomberg.com reports: "Siemens AG and Bombardier Inc. are in talks to combine their train operations, people familiar with the matter said, potentially creating a business that could better withstand rising competition from China.

The proposed joint venture, which could be worth at least 10 billion euros ($10.6 billion), would merge the firms’ train-making and signaling activities, according to anonymous sources. It has been indicated that a deal could come by the middle of the year.

No final decisions have been made and any combination would require clearance from antitrust authorities and face potential opposition from unions, they said. Representatives for Siemens and Bombardier declined to comment."

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In 2015, Pamplona Capital Management acquired Beacon Rail Leasing for 450 million dollar. Now it is selling the leasing company to an infrastructure fund managed by US Bank JP Morgan, a deal worth about 1 billion euros.

Currently, Beacon Rail has a variety of locomotives, freight wagons and passenger trains in its portfolio. This includes 27 Class 66 and EuroRunner locomotives bought from MRCE in 2015 and the vehicle portfolio sourced from Ascendos Rail Leasing when it was acquired by Beacon Rail Leasing in 2016. An overview of the current loco fleet:

- EMD Class 66 diesels
- Siemens EuroRunner diesels
- Vossloh/Stadler Rail EURO 4000 diesels
- Vossloh/Stadler Class 68 diesels
- Vossloh/Stadler Class 88 electro-diesels
- ASEA Rc3 electrics - Bombardier Traxx electrics

CZ LOKO 744 101-7 and 741 710-8 after a second test drive from Česká Třebová to Skalice nad Svitavou on 13 January 2017. Picture by Jirka Štembírek.

CZ LOKO has been awarded a first order for its Class 744.1 EffiShunter 1000 diesel locomotive. On 5 April 2017, the company signed a contract for the delivery of five locomotives to SerFer, with options for five more, after successfully taking part in a tender issued by the Italian operator. The fully TSI-compliant diesels will be equipped with Caterpillar C32 engines, delivering 895 kW. The locos will have a maximum speed of 100 km/h and will be equipped with the Italian train protection system BL3, enabling their use on shunting and mainline operations. Deliveries are scheduled to commence in February 2018.

At InnoTrans 2016, CZ LOKO presented the renewed and TSI-compliant EffiShunter 1000 to the public.

As the last of DRS' Class 66/3s, 66304 has been restyled into the basic DRS livery.

Meanwhile, DB Cargo's 66044 has left Stoke after a repaint into DB red.

Freightliner PL/DE 653-05 in its new livery at Ibbenbüren-Uffeln on 5 April 2017. Picture by Dominik Becker.

Operated by Freightliner DE since mid-2016, Beacon Rail 653-05 has now been restyled in the Freightliner 'PowerHaul' livery. Recently, also 653-09 was given this livery (also see the picture below).

Freightliner PL/DE 653-09 passes the Süderelbbrücken in Hamburg on 25 March 2017. Picture by Erik Körschenhausen.

Newag-owned 6Dg-139 at Jaworzno-Szczakowa on 28 August 2013. Picture by Ingmar Weidig.

In an effort to renew its locomotive fleet, Orlen Group is to modernize and purchase a total of 22 locomotives, operated by group member Orlen KolTrans and Euronaft Trzebinia. The fleet renewal programme is split up in different stages and will take place until 2020. The total investment may be as high as PLN 300 million.

As part of the investment, Orlen KolTrans and Euronaft Trzebinia have ordered the modernization of two SM48/TEM2 locomotives according to the 15D design from Newag. In the process, the locos will be re-equiped with Caterpillar 3512C engines with a power output of 1550kW and meeting Stage IIIa emission legislation. A third locomotive will be modernized according to the 6Dg design and will feature a 708kW engine. The locos will be used at the PKN Orlen refineries in Plock and Trzebinia. Total worth of these contracts is PLN 13 million.

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On 30 March 2017, the MV Atlantic was unloaded at the Port of Workington. The first loco to touch down on British soil was 68026, followed by 88007, 68027, 88010, 88009 and 88006 in that order. DRS 66421 subsequently transported the locos to the DRS depot at Carlisle Kingmoor. Here, the two Class 68s will receive their decals and all will be prepared to enter service.

DRS was not the only operator to receive new locomotives. A day earlier, Colas Rail 70811 and 70813 were unloaded from the Atlantic Star onto the docks at Liverpool Seaforth. On the 30th, the two PowerHaul locos were lifted of their transit trailers onto the tracks. The recently delivered 70812 has entered service in the mean time, whilst 70814-817 have started their journey to the UK.

DRS 88002 passes through Wigan, North Western Station on March 28, 2017. Picture by Mark Barber.

The first tests under British overhead power lines have taken place with Beacon Rail > DRS 88002 'Prometheus'. The second batch of Class 88 locomotives and Class 68 locos 68026-027 still await shipment to the UK at the Port of Sagunto. 88001-005 and 008 are already in the UK.

On 3 April 2017, DRS 88002 and 68025 pass Brock with the 6Z88 Carlisle North Yard - Crewe Gresty Green. Picture by Geraint Jones.

Update: On April 3, the first loaded test run took place, when the loco pulled the 6Z88 Carlisle North Yard - Crewe Gresty Green. DRS 68025 was taken along for insurance.

Beacon Rail 653-09 in Freightliner livery at Hamburg Süd on 25 March 2017. Picture by Dominik Becker.

Beacon Rail's 653-09, operated by Freightliner DE since 2015, has been restyled into Freightliner livery.

On 15.03.2017, 245 002 of DB Regio Kempten was on a test run pulling IC 2012 / 2013 from Immenstadt to Stuttgart. The video shows the 2013 service near Bad Grönenbach. Video by Mĺnuel Sĺttlerssřn

DB Regio currently has three new TRAXX DE Multi-Engine locomotives on order for operation in the south of Germany.

247 907 at Großkorbetha on 1 March 2017, the first day in service for launch customer InfraLeuna. Pictures by Marcel Grauke.

On the first day of March, InfraLeuna took delivery of the Vectron DE locomotive it had on order from Siemens. Meanwhile, the loco has entered service. For now, the loco is still in its plain white Siemens livery.

IL 247 907 at Großkorbetha on 9 March 2017. Picture by Andreas Kloß.

Related sections:
SiemensVectron DE

ÖBB 2016 070-1 passes through Braunau am Inn on 22 August 2008. Picture by Gál András.

ÖBB has cancelled its tender for the delivery of 19 used EuroRunner locomotives to further expand its fleet of Class 2016 diesels. As no bids were received, the tender was closed without result.

Update: A new tender has been launched, largely similar to the previous one, and compries: 19 diesel locomotives in separate trenches, used, of the same type. The specific requirement for EuroRunner locomotives has been dropped.

Approximately one month ago, on 23 February 2017, 88003 'Genesis' is lifted onto the Eemslift Nelli. Soon the six Class 88s already in the UK will be joined by the remaining four. Picture by Malcolm Wilton-Jones.

Some short news from Spain regarding the delivery of Class 68 and 88 locomotives to Beacon Rail and DRS. Locomotives 88006 'Juno', 88007 'Electra, 88009 'Diana' and 88010 'Aurora' have been transported to the Port of Sagunto, from where they will be shipped to the United Kingdom. When the locos arrive on British soil, all ten Class 88s will have been delivered to the UK. None have entered service yet, pending certification and dynamic testing.

Not only Class 88s have made it to Sagunto. Among the four bi-modes, there were also two Class 68 locomotives: 68026 and 68027. Both are still in a basic blue livery.

The future Caltrans 2106 at the Siemens works in Sacramento. Picture by Simon Wijnakker.

Siemens USA is currently occupied with several Charger orders. In total, 81 locomotives have been ordered. Of these 81 locos, Caltrans will receive 22 and the first locos are currently being finished. At Siemens' Sacramento plant, a nearly finished 2106 was witnessed outside.

The future Caltrans 2106 at the Siemens works in Sacramento. Picture by Simon Wijnakker.

Artist impression of a EURO DUAL locomotive in HVLE colour scheme. Picture by Stadler Rail.

Stadler Rail Valencia has bagged a first order for EURODUAL locomotives. German rail freight operator Havelländische Eisenbahn (HVLE) has awarded Stadler a contract for the supply of ten six-axle EURO DUAL locomotives for use in Germany. The locos combine 15kV and 25kV electric with diesel power. In electric mode, a power output of 5.2MW is available, whilst the diesel engine is rated at 2.8MW. Ludolf Kerkeling of HVLE comments: “The demand for six-axle locomotives will grow because of the increasing length and weight of trains.” Martin Wischner of HVLE added: “We need diesel power for the first/last mile but the environmental and economic advantages of electric power are very important for us.”

The deal includes a full service maintenance agreement and is financed by Deutsche Anlagen-Leasing with a tailor-made, asset-based leasing structure. With the order, HVLE becomes the launch customer of the new generation of six-axle bi-mode locomotives developed by Stadler for the European market. The EURO DUAL is available in different configurations and for different gauges and voltage systems. Designed as a highly modular platform, it can be equipped with diesel engines of various power ratings to meet the requirements of individual customers. Furthermore, the EURO DUAL is suitable for both passenger and freight applications at speeds up to 160 km/h.

The first EURO DUAL locomotive is currently being subjected to various tests and has been on trial outside the plant in Albuixech numerous times. Picture by Malcolm Wilton-Jones.

Raildox 264 002-7 in new colours at Kiel-Meimersdorf. Picture by Stefan Motz.

Raildox Maxima 40 CC locomotive 264 002-7 was subjected to a main overhaul (Hauptuntersuchung) at the Voith works in Kiel. There, the loco was given a new appearance as well.

Related sections:
Maxima 30/40CC

Freshly delivered WSDOT Charger locomotive 1400 outside the Siemens works in Sacramento on March 6, 2017. Picture by WSDOT.

On March 6, the first Charger SC-44 locomotive for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) left the Siemens works in Sacramento with one of its sister locomotives. The locomotives will be used on Amtrak Cascades services, starting in the summer of 2017. According to the operator, the two locos will first be subjected to 500 miles of acceptance runs to get their engines run in before being delivered to Seattle in late March or early April.

WSDOT ordered eight Charger passenger diesels from Siemens in 2014 as part of a joint locomotive procurement programme together with the transportation departments of Illinois, California, Michigan and Missouri. The locomotive will enable WSDOT to cope with increased travel demand and to introduce two additional round trips between Seattle and Portland.

Related sections:
SiemensChargerCharger: WSDOT

Graphic of DB Cargo UK 66019 in DB red.

DB Cargo UK's 66019 has been restyled into DB red by Marcroft Engineering in Stoke-on-Trent (see graphic). 66009 preceeded 66019 and was released from Stoke in mid-February.

Beacon Rail / DRS 66303 has been restyled in the basic DRS Class 66 livery by Arlington Fleet Services at Eastleigh Works. 66304 is undergoing the same treatment now in Eastleigh as the last 66/3 still in its original DRS livery.

At the DB Cargo UK workshops in Toton, Colas Rail 67023 and 67027 have been out-shopped in Colas livery. Colas Rail shows some pictures of the final result:

Colas 70812 on its maiden trip out on the network, 0K70 Gladstone Dock, Liverpool to Crewe Basford Hall yard, photographed on the freight avoiding line behind Crewe station. Picture by David Moreton.

As the first of seven additional Class 70 PowerHaul locomotives ordered from GE Transportation by Colas Rail, 70812 was unloaded from the Atlantic Sail at Liverpool Seaforth docks on February 25, 2017. Two days later, on February 27, it was moved from its road trailer onto British rails in anticipation of moving it out of the port.

SD-KD 753 602-2 passes Opatov during its first test run after the completion of repairs on February 27, 2017. Picture by Jirka Štembírek.

SD - Kolejová doprava will soon have locomotive 753 602-2 available for service again. In August 2016, the loco suffered fire damage and it has been out of service ever since. Today, on February 27, 2017, 753 602 made a test run from Česká Třebová to Svitavy after CZ LOKO completed repairs on the loco.

The future Beacon Rail / DRS 88003 heads for the Port of Sagunto on a low loader on February 15, 2017. Picture by Malcolm Wilton-Jones.

Recently, five Class 88 locomotives have embarked on a journey to the UK. Locomotives 88001, 88003, 88004, 88005 and 88008 gathered in the Port of Sagunto to await the start of their journey to UK where the will join loco 88002, which is already there for certification, static and dynamic testing. On February 23, loading of the locomotives onto the Eemslift Nelli took place, which is now on its way to the Port of Workington.

The future Beacon Rail / DRS 88005 is loaded onto the Eemslift Nelli on February 23, 2017. Picture by Malcolm Wilton-Jones.

The future Beacon Rail / DRS 88003 is loaded onto the Eemslift Nelli on February 23, 2017. Picture by Malcolm Wilton-Jones.

The future Beacon Rail / DRS 88004 is loaded onto the Eemslift Nelli on February 23, 2017. Picture by Malcolm Wilton-Jones.

The future Erdemir L 18 during a test run at Beroun in the Czech Republic on February 16, 2017. Picture by Martin Šarman.

CZ LOKO is to deliver two Class 744.7 locomotives to Turkey's Erdemir soon. Internally numbered L 18, loco 744 704-8 will be joined by a second locomotive in the near future, which will carry the number 744 705-5. The two locos combine the body design of a Class 741.7 diesel and the cab design of Class 723.6 diesel.

Update: 744 705-5 was out on test on a private freight line on February 21. The locomotive was captured on camera as it returned to the CZ LOKO works in Jihlava upon completion of the trials.

The future Erdemir L 19 during a test run at the Beroun shunting yard on February 21, 2017. Picture by Martin Šarman.

The future Erdemir L 19 during a test run at the Beroun shunting yard on February 21, 2017. Picture by Martin Šarman.

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IDOT Charger locomotive 4611 parked at King Street Station in Seattle. It will be on a series of test drives on Amtrak's Cascades route to certify them for national use. Picture by WSDOT.

In December 2016, Charger locomotive 4611 arrived in the state of Washington to take part in a series of national certification trials of the new Charger locomotives. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has been selected by the Federal Railroad Administration to conducts these tests. WSDOT is to receive eight Charger locomotives from Siemens, which are currently under construction in Sacramento at the Siemens USA works. Therefore, a Charger for the Illinois Department of Transporation (IDOT) is used for the trials instead.

The locomotive will travel up and down the Amtrak Cascades corridor several times in February. According to WSDOT, "The tests are essentially a large-scale test drive. The locomotive, attached to an Amtrak Cascades trainset, will travel various sections of our existing Vancouver, British Columbia to Eugene, Oregon corridor. No passengers will be on board, but Amtrak and Siemens staff will be on hand to test and monitor how the locomotive operates. Previous tests were conducted in a special closed-track facility in Colorado, but the Washington tests put the locomotive on active tracks for the first time."

Update: IDOT Charger locomotive 4611 on the first test run, returning north to Seattle in trailing position, in Salem (Oregon) on February 18. Picture by Colin Hakeman.

MRCE ER 20-007 with an ALEX passenger train near Hergatz on February 8, 2015. Picture by Giovanni Grasso.

That Mitsui Rail Capital Europe has the intention to restructure its fleet by selling its diesel locomotives and focusing on larger fleets of electrics is no secret. In many cases, the various types of diesel locomotives were also relatively small in number, creating a fragmented diesel fleet. In the second half of 2015, MRCE already sold its Class 66s and all but one ER20 to Beacon Rail Leasing. Also its portfolio of Vossloh-built locomotives has been reduced gradually over the last years.

Eurailpress now reports that talks have been held with an undisclosed potential buyer regarding the sale of the remaining diesels. This would concern an investor focused on diesel locomotives. Beside ER 20-007, MRCE still owns 4x G 1000 BB, 25x G 1206 and 4x G 2000-3 BB in various country configurations. The deal is expected to be closed in the first quarter of 2017, whether ER 20-007 is part of the deal is not clear for now.

MTR 8001 heads another MTR diesel locomotive while passing Ma Liu Shui, Hong Kong, on December 14, 2015. Picture by Train Tang.

We don't receive many images of these locomotives, which are perhaps the least known representatives of their type, but this time we received three at once from Hong Kong. Built in 2003, the locomotives are still going strong in the Far East.

MTR 8002 and an unidentified ER20 near Tai Wo, Hong Kong, on February 25, 2016. Picture by Train Tang.

MTR 8004 and an unidentified MTR diesel locomotive pass through Sheung Shui, Hong Kong, on March 14, 2016. Picture by Train Tang.

CZ LOKO 774 714-0 during a test run at Vác, Hungary on February 14, 2017. Picture by Márk Fekete.

CZ LOKO 774 714-0 is back in Hungary for a second round of approval runs. On February 3, it made its first appearance on Hungarian rails in light of certification of the EffiShunter 1600 in the country. Read more about this loco's first visit to Hungary here.

CZ LOKO 774 714-0 on trial in a white Vác on February 14, 2017. Picture by Márk Fekete.

CZ LOKO 774 714-0 at Rákospalota-Újpest station on February 14, 2017. Picture by Márk Fekete.

Rebuilt by Newag from a TEM2 diesel locomotive, ENEA 15D-031 awaits an entry into service at the Newag works in Nowy S?cz. Together with 15D-032, it received a paint based on renewable resources, supplied by Lankwitzer Lackfabrik of Berlin and developed in collaboration with Covestro. Picture by Covestro.

In the second half of 2016, Newag delivered two 15D diesel locomotives to ENEA S.A., rebuilt from old TEM2 diesels: 15D-031 and 15D-032. The two locos have been coated with a paint based on renewable resources. Lankwitzer Lackfabrik of Berlin supplied the coating, which it developed in close collaboration with Covestro using the biobased coating hardener Desmodur Eco N 7300. Mateusz Fedko, project manager at Newag, states: “If the coating offers added value on top of that, as is the case here with the renewable raw materials, it gives us a very good opportunity to set ourselves apart from the competition".

According to Covestro, the coating formulated with this product performs just as well as a conventional coating systems, but uses primarily renewable resources. “Seventy percent of the carbon in this polyurethane raw material comes from biomass”, says Julia Hellenbach of Covestro. The biobased clearcoat fulfills the specific demands of the rail vehicle industry. For example, it has a very good resistance to cleaning agents, particularly those used to remove graffiti. Tests confirm that graffiti can be removed easily and gently.

Related sections:
Newag15/16D15D: ENEA

ÖBB 2016 006 passes Wien Haidestrasse with a passenger service from Slovakia on August 10, 2015. Picture by András Gál.

A tender has been issued by ÖBB for the acquisition of used EuroRunner locomotives. It concerns 19 used ER20s in total, for which 19 separate trenches have been created. This allows ÖBB to source the locomotives from different operators and leasing companies.

Currently, ÖBB operates a fleet of 100 EuroRunner designated as the Austrian Class 2016, which are used in both passenger and freight operations. Also, ÖBB has 5 ER 20s available through subsidiary Rail Cargo Carrier - PCT. If successful, the acquisition would increase the number of ER 20s within the group to 124, out of 181 locomotives ever built.

DB Cargo liveried 247 903 heads class member 247 902 whilst passing Götzenhof, Germany, on February 9, 2017. Pictures by Martin Voigt.

Seen in Götzenhof yesterday: Siemens 247 902 and 903, together on their way to Leipzig. Soon they will join 247 904 and 906 and start pulling various freight trains for DB Cargo around Halle. The quartet is now complete.

Related sections:
SiemensVectron DE

DRS 68001 heads a freight train at Stenson Junction on May 26, 2016. Picture by Ian Kinear.

Leased from Beacon Rail, Direct Rail Services currently operates a fleet of 25 Class 68 locomotives. The first 15 locomotives were ordered by the British operator in 2012, followed by a further 10 in 2014. Being a mixed-duty diesel locomotive, the locomotives see use in both passenger service (e.g. AbellioScotrail, Chiltern Railways) and freight service.

In mid-2015, DRS opted to order seven additional locos, to be numbered 68026-032 in line with the locomotives delivered earlier, for use with CAF-built push-pull sets on TransPennine Express passenger services. These services are set to commence in spring 2018, initially running on the Liverpool-Newcastle route. Later that year, services to and from Scarborough are to be added. The first locomotives of this batch are currently nearing completion. Meanwhile, it has been indicated that a further two Class 68 locomotives have been registered, carrying the numbers 68033 and 034. This means that another two locomotives have been ordered from Stadler Rail Valencia.

Chiltern Railways liveried 68014 has just crossed Culloden Viaduct with the 4D47 Inverness Freight Sidings to Mossend Up Yard intermodal on September 24, 2014. Picture by Keith Long.

Direct Rail Services also still has 10 Class 88 electro-diesels on order, also known under the type name UK DUAL. Production of these locomotives in Valencia is currently in its final stages and the first locomotive has already been shipped to the UK for testing, familiarization and certification purposes in anticipation of further deliveries in mid-spring. This commissioning programme is to take between six and eight weeks, and will be performed jointly with Stadler Rail Valencia. On January 22, locomotive 88002 was the first to touch down on British soil after arriving on board of Ro-Ro ship Autostar.

Loco 88001 was named 'Revolution' as the first of the class, in a similar fashion to the first Class 68 named 'Evolution'. However, more mythic names have been chosen for at least the four subsequent locomotives. Some are a revival of names applied to British Railways Class 76 and 77 electrics. The following names are currently known:

88001 - Revolution
88002 - Prometheus
88003 - Genesis
88004 - Pandora
88005 - Minerva
88006 - Juno
88007 - ?
88008 - Ariadne
88009 - ?
88010 - ?

DRS 88003 on display at InnoTrans 2016 in Berlin on September 19, 2016. Picture by Henk Zwoferink.

CZ LOKO 774 714-0 during a test run at the Hungarian town of Komárom, Hungary on February 3, 2017. Picture by Márk Fekete.

On February 3, CZ LOKO 774 714-0 was captured on camera on its first day of dynamic approval runs in Hungary. The locomotive is configured for operations on Czech, Slovakian, Hungarian and Polish rails, but to our information it had not run in other countries than the Czech Republic and Slovakia up until now.

CZ LOKO 774 714-0 during a test run at the Hungarian town of Komárom, Hungary on February 3, 2017. Picture by Márk Fekete.

Prior to being sent to Hungaria for approval runs, 774 714-0 was in service for Rail Cargo Carrier Slovakia, which had used Class 2016 locomotives up until that point. RCC -Slovakia used the locomotive predominantly to shuttle container trains within Bratislava, to and from the Rail Cargo Operator Container Terminal Bratislava. Being part of CZ LOKO's rental pool, the loco has also been in service for LTE Logistik a Transport Slovakia, PSŽ and SD - Kolejová doprava. With 774 714-0 now in Hungary, EffiShunter 1000 locomotive 744 001-9 is operated by RCC - Slovakia instead.

Siemens 247 904 and 247 906 in DB livery at Leipzig Engelsdorf Bahnwerk on February 3, 2017. Picture by Andreas Pusch.

On 02.02.2017, Siemens 247 904 and 906 arrived at Leipzig-Engelsdorf together. The two machines, soon to be hired to DB Cargo, came from München-Allach. In the next weeks, they will be available for test runs and staff training. DB Cargo will hire the locomotives for at least a one-year period from Siemens for freight services in the Halle area.

Related sections:
SiemensVectron DE

DB Cargo 66136, freshly repainted in red with special 'Yiwu-London Train' vinyls at the Barking Rail Freight Terminal on January 18, 2017. Picture by Adam McMillan.

Two weeks after departing the Chinese port city of Yiwu, the first cargo to travel from China to the UK through the Channel Tunnel arrived in London. The containers traveled almost 12,000 kilometres before arriving at the Barking Rail Freight Terminal. During the journey, which started on January 1, they passed through a large number of countries, including China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France. As a result of the different track gauges used in some of the countries, transshipment of containers onto other wagons took place twice.

Close-up of DB Cargo 66136, freshly repainted in red with special 'Yiwu-London Train' vinyls at the Barking Rail Freight Terminal on January 18, 2017. Picture by Adam McMillan.

Running as a weekly service, the new train service between China and the UK carries a mix of consumer goods such as clothing and household accessories. With the new service, London is now the 15th destination in Europe for a freight service originating in China with another 20 destination still in the pipeline. Targeted are those shippers that prefer to ship freight between China and Europe at lower rates than in air cargo, whilst cutting the transshipment times of sea transport.

Graphic of DB Cargo UK 66136 in DB red with special 'Yiwu-London Train' vinyls.

The first 7 of 55 GE ES43ACi diesel locomotives were officially delivered to Pakistan Railways on January 23 in Karachi. Built in Erie in the USA, the 1676mm gauge locomotives will be delivered until mid-2017. The locomotives are designated by Pakistan Railways as the GEU-40 Class. The first locomotives are expected to enter service on coal trains between Port Qasim in Karachi and a coal-powered power plant at Sahiwal.

The ES43ACi for Pakistan Railways houses a GEVO12 12-cylinder diesel engine with a power output of 3400 kW, features a 8000-litre fuel tank and has a maximum speed of 120 km/h. The six-axle design supports a weight 137 tonnes.

Related sections:
GE Transportation

Future DRS dual-mode locomotive no. 88002 has arrived in the United Kingdom. On board of a vessel named 'Autostar', it came from Spain and to the harbour of Southhampton, where it was disembarked. Here you can see a first image of the locomotive, named 'Prometheus', on its way to Carlisle Kingmoor (by road transport). - BG/BH

Close-up of Fenniarail 101 (ex-744 711) at an unknown location on January 22, 2016. Picture by Fenniarail / Aleksanteri Sumiloff.

On December 23, 2016, Fenniarail reported that it was given an early Christmas gift. A day earlier, cross border transport between Finland and Russia was opened to competition. Fenniarail will take the opportunity to increase its presence in the market and will expand its fleet with a further two locomotives to increase transport capacity. “Finnish rail market is becoming market driven. The new situation in Russian transport has increased customers’ interest towards us. Fenniarail’s new investment improves company’s competitive position”, says Petri Lempiäinen, the chairman of the board of Fenniarail.

Prior to delivery, the future Fenniarail 102 heads past the town of Hradec nad Svitavou while performing a test run on August 22, 2015. Picture by Jiří Štembírek.

The two additional locomotives will be delivered by CZ LOKO again and will be similar to the three Stage IIIa compliant 774.7F locomotives currently in operation. Kimmo Rahkamo, Managing Director of Fennirail says: "“The experience from current locomotives is positive. The user experience and environmental properties are aligned with expectations. The locomotives are operable in the demanding Finnish climate”. Delivery of the locomotives is scheduled for late 2017.

Siemens Vectron DE 247 906 near Zorneding, Germany, on January 11, 2017. Picture by Thomas Stenzel.

Soon, DB Cargo Deutschland will commence operations with four Vectron DE locomotives on long-term hire from Siemens. It has been indicated that the locomotives involved are 247 902-904 and 906, and that all four will enter service in the well-known DB 'Verkehrsrot' livery.

On January 11, loco 247 906 was already out and about, but not yet in service for DB Cargo. Thomas Stenzel was so friendly to let us publish his pictures, as published in this post.

Siemens Vectron 247 906 passing through Aßling, Germany, on 11.01.2017 with a Lokomotion freight train (Kufstein - Munich). Picture by Thomas Stenzel.

Related sections:
SiemensVectron DE

744.101-7 and 741.710-8 after a second test drive from Česká Třebová to Skalice nad Svitavou on January 1, 2017. Picture by Jirka Štembírek.

Busy times at CZ LOKO: EffiShunter 1000 locomotive 744 101-7 made a second test drive together with the future Serfer 741 710-8 on January 13, after a first test run on January 12.

CZ LOKO 741 737-1 and 741 738-9 at the CZ LOKO works in ?eská T?ebová. Picture by CZ LOKO.

CZ LOKO has booked even more successes in Italy with its Class 741.7 shunting locomotive. Earlier, the Czech rolling stock manufacturer provided two Class 741.7 locomotives to Dinazzano Po and now it is to provide two of the class to Terminali Italia S.r.l.. Terminali Italia will use them for shunting at its terminal in Verona.

A third Class 741.7 is not to be delivered to Terminali Italia as previously reported. This locomotive is to be delivered to Serfer – Servizi Ferroviari S.r.l., which provides shunting services within the Trenitalia group. It is planned to be stationed in Livorno. It has been indicated that this concerns loco 741 710-8.

A fourth and fifth loco were ordered by rail construction company Costruzioni Ferroviarie Ventura S.r.l. in December 2016. These locomotives are scheduled for delivery in May 2017. When delivered, the number of Class 741.7 in operation in Italy will have risen from two to seven.

Related sections:
CZ LOKO741.7

On August 4, 2014, DB Schenker liveried 67027 halts at Leamington Spa while working a Chiltern Railways passenger service. Picture by Peter Lovell.

In October 2016, DB Cargo UK released a notice in which it stated that it would offer two Class 67 locomotives for sale. The locos involved were 67023 (EWS livery) and 67027 (DB Schenker red livery). It has now become apparent that the two diesel locomotives have found a new owner in Colas Rail.

With the acquisition, Colas Rail further expands its locomotive fleet, as it will also take delivery of seven new Class 70 locomotives from GE Transportation this year. 67023 and 67027 are currently receiving maintenance and are expected to be repainted into the well-known orange-yellow-black color scheme. With their high maximum speed of 125mph (200km/h) the locomotives will predominantly be used to provide traction for fast measurement trains.

Built in 2000, the two Class 67s were delivered to English Welsh & Scottish Railway (EWS), which leased them from Angel Trains. After an approximate 15 years, ownership of the locomotives transferred to DB Schenker Rail UK (now DB Cargo UK) that had taken over EWS in the meantime.

Having been delivered only recently, 70806 and 70807 run from Liverpool Seaforth to Bescot on May 1, 2014. Picture by William Hunt.

Colas Rail is set to expand its fleet with a further seven type PH37ACmi PowerHaul locomotives. On December 16, 2016, locos 70811 and 70812 (both in an advanced stage of completion) were out on test at the GE Transportation production facility in Erie. Delivery of all seven locomotives is scheduled to take place this year.

Video of the future Colas Rail 70811 and 70812 on test in Erie on December 16, 2016.

With the seven new locomotives, Colas Rail raises the number of PowerHaul locomotives in its fleet to 17. The first ten locomotives in the fleet were delivered to the UK-based operator in 2014. Other than locomotive 70801, the designated 70802-70810 were built and assembled in Erie by GE Transportation. The former was the first PowerHaul locomotive to be assembled by Turkey's Tülomsaş as demonstrator locomotive DE 37001 / 70099.

Demonstrator locomotive 70099 passes Crewe behind a Freightliner Class 66 locomotive on October 23, 2012. Picture by Wolfram Wittsiepe.

A CZ LOKO Class 741.7 locomotive in front of the manufacturer's Ceská Trebova facility. Picture by CZ LOKO.

In 2011, SD - Kolejová doprava (SD-KD) received a first Class 741.7 diesel locomotive from CZ LOKO. After five years, the designated 741 706-6 is no longer the sole representative of its type in SD-KD's fleet. Between October and December 2016, the loco was joined by a further three 741.7 diesels, namely:

741 732-2, delivered 10/2016
741 735-5, delivered 11/2016
741 736-3, delivered 12/2016

Related sections:
CZ LOKO741.7

Due to moving to a new and much faster server, MainlineDiesels.net may be updated less frequently with images in the first week of the new year. We expect everything to run normally from January 7 onward. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Notice any site elements malfunctioning after the move? Let us know and we take a look at it right away!

2017-01-02 - Happy New Year :)

Yes, a new year! So many trains to write about, to draw, to take pictures of! We wish you all the best for 2017, and have fun, lots of fun!