THE FIRST diesel-electric loco in Bombardier´s Traxx family was officially launched into service on September 3. For an initial three-month trial, the Class 246 and three double-deck coaches will replace a VT628 DMU on the EVB route between Bremervörde and Hamburg-Neugraben.

Niedersachsen transport authority LNVG has ordered 11 Class 246 locos to operate the South Elbe line between Hamburg Hbf and Cuxhaven, where Metronom is due to take over from DB as operator from December 9. Metronom already operates the Bremen – Hamburg – Uelzen and Uelzen – Hannover – Göttingen routes for LNVG, using Traxx electric locos of classes 146 and 146.2, which is why the authority opted for the diesel equivalent to work the non-electrified line to Cuxhaven. EVB is a partner in Metronom, and the new stock will be based at its depot in Bremervörde, which is being extended. Nine of the 2 200 kW locos will be required for the service, leaving one on standby and one for maintenance.

Designated Traxx P160DE by the manufacturer, the 82 tonne Class 246 shares 75% of its components with Bombardier's AC, DC and multi-system electric locos, including crashworthy bodyshells, bogies and three-phase traction motors. The first loco was handed over to LNVG just 700 days after the order was placed.