The first locomotives are expected to enter service as early as next year. In the long term, the aim is to replace around 900 older diesel locomotives.
"We are investing in our locomotive fleet because we are growing. State-of-the-art technology will help us achieve our climate protection goals in transport. Our modernisation programme will enable us to reduce diesel consumption by around 14 million litres per year," said Dr Sigrid Nikutta, Member of the DB Board of Management for Freight Transport and CEO of DB Cargo.
"The new locomotives will not only make freight companies even more environmentally friendly, but will also make their operations much more efficient and thus more attractive," said Michael Theurer, Parliamentary State Secretary and Federal Commissioner for Rail Transport. "Thanks to technical advances, even the heaviest loads can now be transported to the last mile or moved without having to change personnel or equipment. We are using modern technology and renewable energy to create clean supply chains," he added.
At the turn of the year, Vossloh Locomotives GmbH won a pan-European tender with its innovative hybrid shunting locomotive. The new locomotives are designed as plug-in hybrids, but at the same time have sufficient engine power with state-of-the-art exhaust gas cleaning to move freight trains weighing several thousand tonnes when shunting. The propulsion systems are designed to be modular and can be easily replaced as technology evolves. The German government is providing funding of €15 million for the introduction of this innovative technology as part of the Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport's package to promote alternative propulsion in rail transport. DB Cargo will start using these 50 locomotives in 2024.
DB Cargo, Europe's largest freight operator, already uses climate-friendly electric locomotives for 95% of its traction power on the rail network. Soon, dual-mode or hybrid locomotives will provide yard shunting and last-mile transport to the customer. Freight has an 80% smaller carbon footprint when transported by rail than when transported by road.