A programme has been launched to develop modern motive power to replace Russia's ageing traction fleet. Boris Lukov reports on a strategic agreement between Russian Railways and Transmash Holding Group that will see hundreds of new locomotives of up to 14 types delivered over the next five years

BEFORE 1991 Russian Railways took delivery of around 1000 new locomotives every year, but barely 100 were purchased during the whole of the 1990s. Now Russia's growing economy means that Russian Railways is hard pressed to meet demand, and it badly needs modern and efficient motive power.

Russia's transition from a planned to a market economy was drastic, with demand for transport falling dramatically (RG 10.05 p633). It was no surprise, therefore, that investment in the 1520 mm gauge network and in rolling stock fell to a historic low. Not only that, but the capacity and capabilities of the railway supply industry were also severely diminished. Russian Railways, now organised as an open joint stock company (OAORZD), has launched a programme to renew its locomotive fleet so that is fit to meet the demands of industry and commerce in today's competitive world.

Many locomotives are 30 to 35 years old - one-third of the freight loco fleet, over 60% of passenger locomotives and just over half of all shunters are overdue for replacement. Recognising this, OAORZD worked closely with the Russian railway supply industry in 2003-04 to assess how best to develop a modern and efficient motive power fleet. The result is a strategic programme to obtain new locomotives and overhaul those that remain in service.

OAORZD's Vice-President & Chief Engineer responsible for motive power and rolling stock Valentin Gapanovich announced recently that a detailed programme had been agreed with Transmash Holding Group (TMH) which will see several advanced locomotive designs developed and built in large quantities over the coming years. The programme is based on several fundamental principles.

  • power ratings to be increased by 15% to 20%;
  • energy consumption of both electric and diesel locomotives to be cut by 10% to 15%;
  • length of service between major overhauls to be increased;
  • technical efficiency and reliability to be improved substantially;
  • main-line locomotives to be designed for a service life of 40 to 45 years;
  • shunting locomotives to be designed for a service life of 50 years.

The programme will be carried out in three stages, the first of which began in 2004 and should be concluded this year. This is a transition period during which production facilities are being restored and arrangements made for developing and implementing modern technology in future designs of locomotive. For example, locomotives to be produced in the short term will have conventional DC motors with commutators, with later builds featuring three-phase asynchronous motors and the associated power conditioning equipment.

In 2005-08 the second stage will embrace the development, construction and testing of a new generation of locomotives, and in the third stage in 2008-10 series production of these new generation locomotives will see large numbers delivered. The programme envisages that by 2010 OAORZD will increase its motive power fleet by 3·7% annually.

Before the break-up of the Soviet Union the annual production capacity of the locomotive building industry had been about 2000 units per year. Diesel locomotives for freight service were almost all built at Lugansk in Ukraine. All electric locomotives for passenger service and diesel shunters came from Czechoslovakia, while DC electric locomotives were assembled at Tbilisi in Georgia. However, by 2005 the production capacity of the Russian industry had fallen to 330 to 430 units a year (Table I).

Industry agreement

The agreement with TMH makes the group the sole supplier of locomotives to OAORZD in 2005-10. TMH is a group of companies covering almost all the Russian locomotive and passenger rolling stock manufacturing industry. It includes the Novocherkassk Electric Locomotive Factory, the Kolomna Locomotive Plant, the Bryansk Machine Building Factory, the Penzadieselmash Factory, the Tver Passenger Carriage Building Plant, Metrovagonmash, the Demikhovo Machine Building factory and some other facilities that assemble motive power and supply passenger rolling stock components.

In 2005 TMH produced 113 sections of main-line electric locomotives and 53 sections of main-line diesel locomotives; the term sections is used because many Russian locomotives comprise two or three sections. TMH also turned out 95 shunting locomotives, 56 railbuses, 645 passenger coaches, 428 EMU cars and 2624 freight wagons.

Last year 57% of all rail equipment produced by TMH was supplied to OAORZD and 33% was delivered to private railway operators in Russia; the other 10% was exported.

The agreement with OAORZD provides for TMH to deliver 1377 electric loco sections, 1032 diesel loco sections, 3270 passenger coaches and 3270 EMU cars in 2006-10.

Electric locomotives

After a 20-year break the Novocherkassk factory developed and built an eight-axle electric locomotive known as the 2ES5C Yermak (RG 9.05 p537). Intended for freight service on lines electrified at 25 kV 50Hz, the Yermak will replace the VL80, which has been in operation since the 1970s.

The Yermak's continuous power rating of 6 120 kW, and an hourly rating of 6 560 kW, permits speeds up to 110 km/h. Microprocessor controls are fitted, together with a modern safety system. Improvements to the traction motor control system and regenerative braking are expected to give high performance and energy savings of 15% to 18% compared with earlier locos.

The prototype Yermak has passed acceptance tests and the certification procedure was completed on December 29 2005. A pre-production batch of 30 units will be delivered by the end of this year and put into service with the East Siberian and Transbaikal railways, paving the way for series production to start in 2007.

Based on the design of the 2ES5C, two derivatives will be built next year. One will be a single unit, the ES5S, and the other will be a triple-section locomotive known as the 3ES5C. The additional section will give sufficient power for the loco to haul 6500 tonne oil trains from Mariinsk to Zabaikalsk via Karymskoye as part of the 'Oil for China' programme.

The Novocherkassk factory has also developed an eight-axle twin-section DC locomotive designated 2ES4C. With conventional traction motors and a top speed of 120 km/h, it is destined to replace the VL11 locomotives which have been the mainstay of freight traction on DC routes for the last 35 to 40 years. Mechanical parts, the driver's cab, and the regenerative and dynamic braking system as well as some electrical components are common to the 2ES5C. The locomotive can be supplied in a three-section configuration.

According to S Podusta, General Director of the Novocherkassk Electric Locomotive Factory, under the agreement with OAORZD three 2ES5C locos have already been built and the first steps for launching series production of the Yermak begin this year. The agreement provides for 200 units to be delivered by 2010.

The Kolomna Locomotive Plant decided in 2003 to develop a six-axle DC electric locomotive for passenger service. Development took two years, and a prototype designated EP2C has now been completed. With an hourly power rating of 4800 kW, it is able to run at 160 km/h.

The locomotive is designed to haul trains of 19 to 22 coaches under any climatic conditions on steeply-graded routes. The bogies are derived from those used on the TEP70BC diesel locomotive and are intended to run for 2·4 million km without major overhaul; service life has been set at 33 years. The locomotive has the same microprocessor controls as the Yermak, and for the moment conventional DC traction motors are used. Later versions will have asynchronous traction motors. Electronic equipment for this locomotive has been developed in co-operation with Siemens of Germany.

Production versions of the EP2C will replace the Czech-built CH2 and the CH2T locomotives first delivered in the 1970s. No less than 2029 of these were built in both DC and AC variants, and 600 of them have covered more than 6 million kilometres - they now need to be replaced.

On February 3 2006 the prototype was presented to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov and to OAORZD President Vladimir Yakunin. It will complete trials during 2006 and will be certified so that series production can start in 2007. It will form the basis for future development of OAORZD's locomotives for passenger service.

According to Valentin Gapanovich OAORZD will buy 400 units of this type, 50 a year from Kolomna and 30 a year from the Yaroslav factory. In addition, there is an agreement for industry to supply about 500 sections of twin-unit locomotives of this type.

Dual-system loco

The EP10, a dual-system locomotive built at Novocherkassk in co-operation with Bombardier Transportation, is designed to run on lines electrified at 25 kV 50Hz and those wired at 3 kV DC. Rated at 7200 kW and able to operate at 160 km/h, it has regenerative braking.

On December 20 2005 the locomotive completed a trial run with a 12-coach train on the main line from Moscow to Minsk and Brest. The results were generally positive, although soon after the train left Moscow the train halted as one of the locomotive's converters had failed and had to be switched out of use. However, the loco successfully covered the rest of the trip with only four of the six traction motors working, with sufficient power available to haul the train at 140 km/h. At Vyazma the locomotive switched from DC to AC operation.

The train reached Smolensk in less than 4 h, with arrival in Minsk after just 7 h compared with 9 h for regular services. Despite the problem, the trial run was considered successful. The locomotive ran an extended leg of 419 km while covering 2000 km in one day. Calculations suggest that use of EP10 locos could save 12 diagrams per month on the Moscow - Brest route.

At present the second EP10 is being trialled on the Belorechenskaya test line on the North Caucasian Railway, while a third is being put through its paces on the Novocherkassk factory's own test track. By 2010 OAORZD plans to purchase a total of 700 twin-section locomotives based on the EP10 - the price per loco is 130m roubles, including the cost of imported components.

OAORZD's Locomotive Development Programme envisages purchase of the first 12 EP10 locos in 2006-08. Two will be put into operation on the St Petersburg - Helsinki route, and the rest will join the prototype on the Moscow - Brest route in co-operation with Belarusian Railway, cutting journey times by as much as 7 h.

Locos for Siberia

The EP1 locomotive is a six-axle single-unit locomotive with a continuous rated output of 4400 kW (and an hourly rating of 4 700 kW), equipped with regenerative braking. Derived from the VL65 which has been in production since 1999, the EP1 has been designed to run at up to 140 km/h on 25 kV lines at temperatures ranging from -50íC to +45íC.

Three EP1 locomotives have been successfully operating in Siberia on a trial basis, and during 2006 OAORZD will purchase 100 more. A batch of 15 will be delivered to the West Siberian Railway to replace the eight-axle VL80 freight locos that can haul 7000 tonne freight trains but which have been deployed on passenger duties as no other locomotives were available. These units will enter service between Irtysh and Barnaul, releasing the VL80s to handle rising volumes of freight.

Based on the design of the EP1 and EP10, OAORZD and the supply industry have begun developing the EP2 and EP3 designs for passenger service. Prototypes are to be built in 2007, followed by trial operations in 2008. A contract was signed in April for delivery of 60 EP1 units by 2010.

Diesel locomotives

When President Putin visited the Kolomna factory in 2004, he set the Russian locomotive industry the task of building a new generation of motive power.

This has led to the development of several designs of main-line diesel such as the 2TE70 diesel-electric built at Kolomna and the 2TE25C series built at Bryansk. Both are more powerful than the 2TE116 diesel locomotives built at Lugansk in Ukraine and their Russian-built 2TE10 derivatives - both of which are to be replaced.

Powered by the Kolomna D49 diesel engine rated at 3000 kW, the 2TE70 is 25% more powerful than the 2TE116. The prototype is about to complete acceptance and certification testing, and by the end of 2006 five 2TE70 units will be delivered to the Northern Railway based in Yaroslavl.

July 2005 saw completion of a prototype twin-section 2TE25C Perisvet locomotive at Bryansk Machine Building Factory. The locomotive features a modular design and, thanks to individual control of the eight traction motors, it offers a 15% improvement in adhesion compared to existing locos. Fuel consumption will be cut as losses caused by wheel slippage are reduced, while wear of the wheel rims will also be lower. Multiple-unit controls are fitted.

According to Anatoli Zadorazhny, General Director of the Bryansk Machine Building Factory, the 2TE25C Perisvet has been undergoing acceptance tests at the Shcherbinka Test Centre since January. By the end of the year testing will be complete, allowing series production to start in 2007.

Bryansk is also building a prototype asynchronous-motored locomotive, the 2TE25A, which is known as the Ilya Muromets. This is designed for operation on the Baikal-Amur Magistral and will be unveiled at Shcherbinka next month. Testing is due to be finished in 2007 with series production following in 2008.

Another Bryansk development is a four-axle shunting loco with asynchronous traction motors. Powered by an 8ChN26/26V four-stroke engine with turbocharger, the TEM21A is rated at 1100 kW, and five locomotives are to be delivered to OAORZD for operational trials under different conditions. All being well, the 2TE25A and the TEM21A will become standard locomotives for OAORZD for the next 25 years.

Natural gas traction

Diesel fuel absorbs 25% of OAORZD's total operational costs for motive power. One way of reducing this cost is to use natural gas, and experiments with this novel type of fuel began as long ago as 1984 under the auspices of the Ministry of Railways. These suggest that using natural gas could save OAORZD more than 1 million tonnes of diesel fuel per year.

So far 400m roubles have been invested in development and testing, and trial operation with locos fuelled by natural gas has begun on the Sverdlovsk Railway, with tests on other regional railways set to follow. OAORZD has contributed 323·3m roubles towards the development cost, with 130m spent in 2005.

Three types of shunting loco are being used in the trials: the CzME3G, the TEM2G and the TEM18G.The TEM18G carries 790m3 of gas compressed at 20·2MPa.

A 2TE116G main-line locomotive is being rebuilt this year to run on gas, and annual savings in diesel fuel are estimated at 1·3m roubles with each of these locomotives.

Experiments are proceeding in parallel in a joint venture with the Russian space industry to investigate the use of gas turbines. This programme has been allocated 131·5m roubles for development work covering shunting and main-line locomotives. Testing of a prototype began in April and the first trials using a TEM3 shunter are scheduled for November.

Around 34250 route-km of the 84707 km network is considered suitable for use by gas-fuelled or gas turbine powered locomotives.

International co-operation

According to V Filin, Head Locomotive Designer at TMH, the railway industry is working with several companies from outside Russia. These include Bombardier, Siemens, MAN B&W Diesel, Knorr-Bremse and other companies.

'With Bombardier we are developing new bogies and new traction motors, and the EP10 is an example of co-operative production. We are also working on an asynchronous traction motor for electric locomotives of Types EP2, 2EC4, EP3 and 2ES5C, and we have established a joint venture with Siemens, Transconverter Ltd. And we are developing high-voltage transformers for passenger carriages', said Filin.

Table I. Locomotive manufacturing capacity in Russia and CIS countries

Manufacturing plant Pre-1990 annual
loco production capacity
2005 loco production capacity Number of locomotives built
1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2001 2002
Novocherkassk AC and DC freight locos 400 120 to 150 164 360 210 16 19 18 20
Tbilisi DC freight locos 150 0 133 145 0 0 0 0 0
Lugansk (Ukraine) Diesel-electric freight locos 750 50 to 70 349 418 438 14 0 0 0
Kolomna Diesel-electric passenger locos 90 40 to 50 65 75 46 12 18 21 23
Bryansk Diesel shunters 400 80 to 100 129 42 23 0 0 0 0
Lyudinovo Diesel shunters 150 30 to 40 2 6 29 0 0 0 0
Skoda (Czech Rep) Passenger locos (electric) 41 34 79 11 1 0 0
Diesel shunters 0 143 205 165 0 0 0 0
Total 1940 320 to 410 1026 1285 990 53 38 39 43

Table II. Technical specifications of new locomtives from OAO RZD

2ES5C Yermak AC freight loco (Novocherkassk)
Power supply 25 kV 50Hz
Wheel arrangement Bo-Bo+Bo-Bo
Hourly output at traction motor shaft kW 6400
Hourly tractive effort kN 464
Continuous tractive effort kN 423
Maximum speed km/h 110
Gross weight tonnes 192
Axleload tonnes 24
Length over autocouplers mm 35004
2ES4C DC freight loco (Novocherkassk)
Power supply 3 kV DC
Wheel arrangement Bo-Bo+Bo-Bo
Length over autocouplers mm 35004
Hourly output at traction motor shaft kW 6560
Hourly tractive effort kN 434
Continuous tractive effort kN 391
Maximum speed km/h 120
Gross weight tonnes 192
Axleload tonnes 24
EP2C DC passenger loco (Kolomna)
Power supply 3 kV DC
Wheel arrangement Co-Co
Length over autocoupler mm 21 700
Hourly rating kW 4800
Hourly tractive effort kN 192·8
Design speed km/h 160
Gross weight tonnes 135
Axleload tonnes 22·5
Type EP1 AC passenger loco (Novocherkassk)
Power supply 25 kV 50Hz
Wheel arrangement Bo-Bo-Bo
Length over autocouplers mm
Hourly output at traction motor shaft kW 4700
Continuous output at traction motor shaft kW 4400
Hourly tractive effort kN 230
Design speed km/h 140
Gross weight tonnes 132
Axleload tonnes 22
EP10 dual-system passenger loco (Novocherkassk)
Power supply 25 kV 50Hz/3 kV DC
Wheel arrangement Bo-Bo-Bo
Length over autocouplers mm n/a
Hourly output at traction motor shaft kW 7200
Hourly tractive effort kN 315
Starting tractive effort kN 375
Design speed km/h 160
Gross weight tonnes 135
Axleload tonnes 22·5
2TE70 diesel-electric freight loco (Kolomna)
Wheel arrangement Co-Co+Co-Co
Length over autocouplers mm 21 700
Nominal rating kW 2 x 3000
Continuous tractive effort kN 304
Design speed km/h 110
Gross weight tonnes 2 x 141
Axleload tonnes n/a
Fuel consumption g/kW/h 195
2TE25C Perisvet diesel-electric freight loco (Bryansk)
Wheel arrangement Co-Co+Co-Co
Length over autocouplers mm 2 x 20000
Nominal rating kW 2 x 2500
Continuous tractive effort kN 2 x 300
Design speed km/h 120
Gross weight tonnes 2 x 135
Axleload tonnes 22·5
TEM21A diesel shunter (Bryansk)
Wheel arrangement Bo-Bo
Length over autocouplers mm 16 900
Nominal rating kW 1103
Starting tractive effort kN 320
Continuous tractive effort kN 300
Design speed km/h 100
Gross weight tonnes 92
Axleload tonnes 15·3
Minimum curve radius at 10 km/h m 40
TEM18G natural gas loco (Bryansk)
Wheel arrangement Co-Co
Length over autocouplers mm 16 900
Starting tractive effort kN 318
Continuous tractive effort kN 200
Design speed km/h 27·8
Gross weight tonnes 126
Axleload tonnes 21
Fuel capacity kg 3180

  • Picture caption: Newly-outshopped from the Novocherkassk plant is the first of a batch of three-section 3ES5C electric locos intended to haul oil traffic to the Chinese border crossing at Zabaikalsk
  • Picture caption: The 2ES4C eight-axle locomotive is derived from the Yermak design, and will replace VL11 units hauling freight trains at up to 120 km/h on DC routes
  • Picture caption: Developed at the Kolomna plant in 2003-05, the 4800 kW EP2C design is intended to haul passenger trains of up to 22 vehicles on DC routes
  • Picture caption: Driver's cab of the EP2C, showing the ergonomic layout being adopted for the latest generation of Russian motive power
  • Picture caption: EP10 dual-system electric locomotives will eliminate the need for loco changes on international services from St Petersburg to Helsinki and Moscow to Brest
  • Picture caption: With a continuous rating of 4400 kW, the three prototype six-axle EP1 locos are being used to haul passenger trains on the West Siberian Railway; a series build of 100 units is due to be delivered this year
  • Picture caption: Series production of the 2TE25C Perisvet twin-unit diesel locos is expected to start at Bryansk in 2007; an asynchronous-motored derivative, the 2TE25A is due to be unveiled next month
  • Picture caption: On May 25 Transmash Holding announced that it had delivered the first two Kolomna-built TEBP70BS diesel passenger locos to Lithuanian Railways under an order for four signed in 2005. LG already has four of the six-axle TEP70 units and 12 similar TEP60 locos

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