NETHERLANDS: Contractor Strukton Rail and infrastructure manager ProRail demonstrated a hybrid battery-electric locomotive in Utrecht last month.

The Alstom-built Class 1700 Bo-Bo dating from the early 1990s was used by passenger operator NS, but was withdrawn as surplus to requirements following the replacement of push-pull trainsets by new electric multiple-units. Locomotive 1756 has now been retrofitted with onboard battery storage to facilitate operation away from the 1·5 kV DC overhead electrification.

The battery pack developed by Strukton Rail and Strukton Power is designed to allow modified electric locomotives to replace diesel traction, primarily for use on infrastructure works trains or moving freight on non-electrified ‘last mile’ routes.


The converted locomotive is able to run at full line speed when taking power from the catenary, but only at a lower speed when using battery power. The battery is charged automatically when the locomotive is operating on electrified tracks.

The company anticipates that the hybrid locomotive conversion will reduce ‘the total cost of switching to emission-free track maintenance’, helping to make rail operations CO2-neutral.

Attending the demonstration, Europe’s Rail’s Head of Programme Giorgio Travaini hailed the project as ‘a great step towards common goals on sustainable mobility and achieving modal shift and greening targets pushed by Minister for Environment Vivianne Heijnen’.

Although the conversion is being taken forward as a local initiative, the findings are expected to feed into ‘energy hub’ research by Europe’s Rail under the Flagship Area 4: ‘a sustainable and green rail system’.