UK: Class 68 diesel locomotive 68002 was formally presented to Direct Rail Services Chief Executive Neil McNicholas on December 10. Harry Hondius reports from the Vossloh España plant in Albuixech.

The second of the UKLight design to be completed is due to be delivered to the UK in early 2014 following tests at the plant; the first is currently undergoing trials at the Velim test track in the Czech Republic.

The DRS delegation including representatives from Beacon Rail Leasing was hosted by Vossloh España s CEO Iñigo Parra and the project team, touring the production facilities as well as inspecting the locomotive.

Weighing around 85 tonnes, the Bo-Bo diesel-electric locomotive is powered by a Caterpillar C175-16 engine rated at 2 800 kW at 1 800 rev/min. This is coupled to an ABB asynchronous generator, which in turn feeds four nose-suspended asynchronous motors fed by ABB Bordline CC1500 traction inverters; wheel diameter is 1 100 mm. The loco is equipped with dynamic braking rated at 2 100 kW, backed up by electro-pneumatic brakes from Knorr Bremse.

Ordered on January 5 2012, the 15 locomotives are designed for a maximum speed of 160 km/h. The open access freight operator intends to use them for both freight and passenger services, replacing Sulzer-engined Class 47 Co-Cos built by Brush in the mid-1960s.