Stadler, Beacon Rail and GB Railfreight (GBRF) have signed an agreement for the supply of 30 Class 99 bi-mode Co-Co* locomotives including spare parts. Following the success of the EURODUAL 6-axle locomotives in continental Europe, with about 100 units sold, Stadler is introducing this concept to the UK. Like its sister, the Class 99 is a versatile Co-Co locomotive, adapted to the British gauge and specifications, combining 25 kV AC electric and diesel operating modes. It represents a new generation of locomotives that offers rail operators many economic and environmental benefits and underscores Stadler's green credentials. *[two six-wheel bogies, all axles powered]
Stadler has signed the first contract with the leasing company, Beacon Rail and GBRF, for the supply of 30 Class 99 locomotives, which includes spare parts.
Able to reach speeds of up to 120 km/h, the powerful machines can run on 25 kV AC electrified lines with a power of 6,000 kW at wheel. In addition, they feature a high-power low-emissions Stage-V engine allowing them to operate on non-electrified lines. The Class 99 locomotives boast an outstanding tractive effort of up to 500 kN, high hauling capability and performance. They also offer optimal visibility and an excellent working environment for the drivers, including ergonomic desks.
"Stadler has extensive experience in the UK locomotive market. Over recent years, we have introduced the Class 68 diesel-electric locomotive, the Class 88 bi-mode locomotive and Europe's first tri-mode locomotive, the Class 93, in line with our commitment to decarbonising rail transport", said Iñigo Parra, CEO of Stadler Valencia. "We are very proud to go one-step further with the development of the Class 99, a versatile, high-performance locomotive that will provide environmentally-friendly and cost-effective rail transport services, supporting modal shift to rail", he added.
Beacon CEO, Adam Cunliffe said: "Beacon is proud to introduce the Class 99 to the market; this is the result of a collaborative approach with our long-standing customer GB Railfreight and manufacturer Stadler. The Class 99 order underlines Beacon's drive to support the UK's journey towards a greener and more efficient rail network. We look forward to supporting the delivery programme for these locomotives ahead of introduction to service in 2025, providing further momentum to facilitate modal shift from road to rail".
John Smith, CEO GB Railfreight, said: "Today's announcement is an important milestone for GB Railfreight and the UK, and I want to thank the teams at Stadler and Beacon Rail for their collaboration in producing a train fit for a greener future. Rail freight is already a more sustainable alternative to moving goods by road, but the Class 99 will increase our industry's levels of sustainability and propel us further towards meeting the UK government's task to decarbonise the rail industry by 2040 in support of the UK's net zero ambitions.
[Railway Gazette pointed out that the modular design would enable the diesel engine to be removed and replaced with a battery or fuel cell module once the technology is felt to be sufficiently advanced for regular main line freight use.]