British Rail Operations UK and Stadler signed a framework agreement for 30 Class 93 three-mode locomotives in 2021. Class 93 is a ‘Bo-Bo’ type mixed-traffic locomotive based on Stadler’s Class 68 and 88 locomotives, which have been operating successfully in the UK for several years. All locomotives ordered by Rail Operations (UK) are built at Stadler's Valencia plant. Now the project has reached an important milestone - the first carbody of the Class 93 locomotive is complete.
“We’ve been working with Stadler for four years now to specify and design a locomotive for the future. The end product, the Class 93 tri-mode, is a locomotive of great operating versatility, incredible energy efficiency and packed full of technology which, not only allows us to transform UK train operations but lead the way in UK rail decarbonisation. The locomotive also enables Rail Operations UK to penetrate new operating markets, in particular express freight, previously unavailable using its existing locomotive fleet,” commented Karl Watts from Rail Operations UK.
The Class 93 locomotive is the first three-mode locomotive - it is unique in that it can be operated on electricity, batteries, and diesel. It is the first such locomotive ever designed and built by Stadler and the first to be operated in the UK. In electric mode, the locomotive can run on 25kV AC overhead lines with a power of up to 4,600 kW. Operation on non-electrified lines will be made possible by a Stage V 900 kW-engine and two Lithium Titanate Oxide (LTO) traction battery packs. The battery packs provide 400 kW of extra power to supplement the engine when the locomotives are running in diesel/battery hybrid mode. As the battery modules can also operate independently, the carbon-free operation is also possible.
These new locomotives are designed to help reduce exhaust gas emissions from both rail freight and potentially passenger transport services, contributing to the UK's net zero targets. High-efficiency transformer and AC traction system with IGBT technology with one inverter per axle contribute to reduced power consumption and increased reliability. Future-proofed, its innovative hybrid coupler enables coupling via a draw hook and through automatic coupling.
“This is a project of firsts: the Class 93 is not only the first tri-mode locomotive to run in the UK, but it’s Stadler’s first tri-mode locomotive, illustrating our commitment to green technology and genuine desire to help governments and businesses around the world de-carbonise their cities, towns and villages,” mentioned Iñigo Parra, CEO of Stadler Valencia
The first locomotive now awaits the testing and approval phase and is expected to be delivered to the UK in March 2023. Entry into service is set to take place a few months later.