Under construction at Dalian are the first of 500 Co-Co electric freight locomotives being built under a contract with Bombardier Transportation.

Less than two years after a €1·1bn contract was signed in February 2007 (RG 3.07 p131), the first of 500 high power freight locomotives will be delivered for service on the rapidly expanding Chinese Railways network. All will be handed over to CR by 2011.

The locos are derivatives of the 18 powerful IORE locos built in 2000-04 to haul iron ore trains on the Malmbanan linking mines at Kiruna in Sweden with Luleå and Narvik. In contrast to the Co-Co+Co-Co IORE locos which operate at 15 kV 16 2/3 Hz, the locos being built at Dalian are single Co-Co units with a cab at each end that are designed for operation at 25 kV 50 Hz. With a power rating of 9?600 kW, they have a starting tractive effort of 570 kN and a maximum speed of 120 km/h – they are suited to general freight haulage and are not specifically designed for heavy haul duties.

Whereas the IORE locos are fitted with a traction package using GTO thyristors, the Chinese locos will have the latest Mitrac equipment with water-cooled IGBT converters. The three-phase motors are rated at 1?600 kW, somewhat higher than the IORE locos.

The IORE locos have a number of special features for winter operations such as a heavy steel frame protecting the underfloor transformer and steel bars ahead of the leading bogies to prevent blocks of ice or other obstacles from damaging equipment; these are not needed on the Chinese locos. Air filters with roof-level intakes that prevent snow and iron ore dust from reaching the traction compartments are retained to ensure that coal dust cannot penetrate the interior.

The same design of three-axle Flexifloat bogie with coil-spring primary and secondary suspension and low-level traction rods is used.

Of particular interest are the arrangements between Bombardier and its Chinese partners. Bombardier says that it is selling drawings for the mechanical components which the Chinese may alter if they wish.

The electrical equipment and control package has been designed by the Swiss arm of Bombardier, and the Chinese will receive the first 150 sets of equipment from Europe, where it is being produced at various locations. Thereafter production will be shared by joint venture partner Bombardier CPC Propulsion Systems Co and Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co with components assembled in China. Bombardier will train staff to assemble and maintain the locos. Bombardier is also transferring the locos' propulsion technology to its Chinese joint venture.