CZ Loko Hydrogen shunter impression

CZECH REPUBLIC: CZ Loko is developing a prototype hydrogen powered version of its Effishunter 1000 four-axle diesel loco design.

Provisionally branded HydrogenShunter 1000, this will use hydrogen cells to charge traction batteries, with an output of up to 800 kW.

Design work is also underway on other alternative traction systems for shunting and light main line duties. These include a battery-powered E-Shunter 300, and a HybridShunter 1000 combining a diesel engine with a battery which would be plugged into an external power source for charging.

Sales Manager Jan Kutálek said the company is developing dual power and hybrid locomotives so that it can ‘analyse in detail the advantages and disadvantages of these unconventional solutions’.

He said the European Green Deal’s ambitions to reduce carbon emissions pose a challenge, as green innovation can only be afforded by the largest companies and new ideas do not automatically result in a viable product.

The company is focusing on operational suitability and technical reliability, and so a compressed natural gas-powered loco turned out to be a dead end, as was the conversion of a Soviet-designed TEM35 into a hybrid with supercapacitors to boost acceleration and a back-up diesel engine for Russian Railways.

In April, CZ Loko received an order to supply the first two DualShunter 2000 electro-diesel Bo-Bo locos to Mercitalia Shunting & Terminal of Italy, with an option for two more.

Based on the successful EffiShunter 1000 family, these will be capable of operating under 3 kV DC with a power rating of 2 200 kW, or using a 895 kW-rated Caterpillar C32 diesel engine. The 16·4 m long 80 tonne locos will have a maximum speed of 100 km/h. Delivery is due in 2023–24.

Italy is the most important foreign market for CZ Loko; it has already delivered 40 rebuilt Class 752/753 and 40 modernised or new Class 741.7/744.1 diesel locos for Italian customers. The company is also developing a 15 kV/25 kV AC loco for the German and Scandinavian markets.