Rail Operations (UK) Stadler Class 93 trimode locomotive impression

UK: Stadler and Rail Operations (UK) Ltd have signed a framework agreement for the supply of 30 Class 93 trimode locomotives, with an initial batch of 10 scheduled for delivery in early 2023.

The Bo-Bo locomotives will be based on the Class 68 UKLight diesel and Class 88 UKDual electro-diesel locos supplied to Direct Rail Services, but will have a higher maximum speed of 180 km/h rather than 160 km/h.

The locomotives will have a rating of 4 MW when running under 25 kV 50 Hz electrification. They will also have a 900 kW Caterpillar C32 diesel engine meeting EU 97/68 Stage V emission regulations for use on non-electrified lines, and two lithium titanate oxide traction battery packs to provide 400 kW of extra power to supplement the engine or for emissions-free last mile shunting.

Announcing the agreement on January 14, Stadler said the ‘advanced’ mixed-traffic locomotives would significantly reduce CO2 emissions for freight and potentially also passenger services.

Rail Operations (UK) Ltd CEO Karl Watts said ‘the rail industry has acted very positively in understanding its role in reducing carbon emissions and improving inner city air quality. The Class 93 fleet with its array of green credentials will allow us to lead the way in supporting the rail industry deliver its decarbonisation targets. Furthermore, with its impressive state-of-the-art specification, the Class 93s also allow us to develop new markets and modernise many aspects of UK train operations.’

The confirmation of the long-planned locomotive order came after European fund manager STAR Capital Partnership made a ‘significant’ investment to acquire a majority stake in in Rail Operations (UK) Ltd, which owns operating company Rail Operations Group, freight subsidiary Orion and rolling stock storage and disposal business Traxion.

Rail Operations Group said its ‘ambitious’ expansion plans included the acquisition of new and existing traction and rolling stock, the use of converted multiple-units for premium freight traffic, and the expansion of its rolling stock engineering services business.