UK: GE Transportation officially announced an order to supply 10 Class 70 PowerHaul locomotives to freight operator Colas Rail on November 21. The locomotives are to be assembled at GE Transportation's Erie plant for entry into service in 2014.

Stephen Haynes, Managing Director of Colas Rail Services, said the order ‘demonstrates our commitment to significantly develop and grow our freight haulage business’. Colas would benefit from ‘a significant increase in tractive effort’, enabling it to haul heavier trains up steep gradients with reduced fuel consumption. The increase in capacity would ‘allow us to serve an expanding portfolio of customers and contracts, delivering the highest levels of service’.

GE Transportation said the UK version of the PowerHaul family ‘generates 13% more horsepower, 32% more starting tractive effort and 61% more continuous tractive effort’ than the Electro-Motive Diesel Class 66 fleets which form the mainstay of UK freight operations.

Testing undertaken by Ricardo UK found the Class 70 PowerHaul could reduce annual fuel consumption on typical freight duty cycles by up to 18% compared to UK Class 66 fleets, and ‘further significant fuel savings could be made’ using the automatic engine stop/start system and auxiliary power unit, or using energy from dynamic braking to drive auxiliary loads.