Operail diesel locomotive

ESTONIA: Operail is to work with Latvian dual-fuel technology company DiGas to convert a GE Transportation C36 locomotive to dual-fuel diesel and LNG operation. Testing is planned for mid-2020, ahead of revenue operation later in the year.

Operail said that while LNG shunting locomotives have been tested, this would be the first main line freight locomotive in the Baltic region to be powered by LNG. It estimates that the locomotive would use 30% less fuel and emit 20% less carbon dioxide and 70% less sulphur dioxide than a diesel.

Operail is investing €250 000 in the pilot project and testing, but expects that any future series conversion of locos would be cheaper.

‘We are constantly looking for solutions that would be friendlier towards the environment’, said Chairman of the management board Raul Toomsalu on October 21. ‘Our cost calculations confirm that transporting 1 tonne of goods for 100 km by rail consumes a quarter of the fuel that transporting it on roads would. The implementation of LNG locomotives will increase the gap further.’