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RZD expects 4 new locomotive models in 2023

16 March 2023
Reading time ~ 7 min
Malakhit 3ES8 electric locomotive at Scherbinka station
3ES8 "Malachite" electric locomotive at Scherbinka station. Source: RTech/railgallery
Stolchnev Alexey, Russian Projects Editor, ROLLINGSTOCK Agency
Reading time ~ 7 min
Savenkova Ekaterina, Editorial Contributor to International Projects of ROLLINGSTOCK Agency

Russia: This year is expected to see the launch of production of the 3ES8 mainline electric locomotive by Sinara Transport Machines (STM) as well as the 3TE28 mainline diesel locomotive, TEM23 shunting diesel locomotive, and the EMKA2 catenary and battery-powered shunter by TMH. Oleg Valinsky, Deputy CEO and Head of the RZD Traction Directorate, revealed the operator’s expectations in his December 2022 interview with the Union of Industries of Railway Equipment (UIRE).

3ES8 mainline electric locomotives

In February, Russian Railways (RZD) announced its plans to purchase nine 3ES8 electric locomotives in 2023. The pilot model was presented to RZD heads at the Ural Locomotives plant in March 2022 before certification. Preliminary performance tests confirmed compliance with the stated specifications. Being a successor to the 2ES10 electric locomotive with a traction drive made in Germany by Siemens Mobility, the new 12,000 kW locomotive features a domestic traction drive with similar specifications, and now these are confirmed.

According to its manufacturer, the Ural Locomotives plant, the part of STM, 3ES8 is the first load-bearing electric freight locomotive in Russia. With the lightened design, the axle load can vary from 23 to 25 t. The series was designed to move trains up to 7,100 t at mountain sections of the Trans-Siberian Railway, and up to 9,000 t in the European part of Russia. To solve the task, the engineering team offered a traction system with three-phase asynchronous motors by Traction Components (part of STM) and Gorizont companies. A smart self-learning wheel spin control allows controlling traction effort and moving heavy trains at a given speed. The Ural Locomotives patented the invention last November. The 3ES8 locomotives will become the basis for a new line of electric locomotives for the next 15–20 years.

3TE28 mainline diesel locomotives

RZD claims to expect 30 3TE28 diesel locomotives in 2023. Last August the vehicle was presented to Oleg Belozerov, CEO at RZD, and the Bryansk Engineering Plant, part of TMH, is now preparing to launch the production. The mainline locomotive stands out with 18-9DGM diesel engines. Manufactured in Russia, they have a maximum stated capacity of 3,100 kW. The traction system was developed by TMH and will be produced at the Kolomna plant, also part of the holding.

3TE28 diesel locomotive in RZD’s livery at the Bryansk Engineering Plant 3TE28 diesel locomotive in RZD’s livery at the Bryansk Engineering Plant. Source: TMH

The new diesel locomotives are seen as an alternative to 3TE2K2M locomotives with GEVO12 by Wabtec, USA. Like 3ES8 electric locomotives, the three-section 9,300 kW 3TE28 mainline locomotive is expected to move trains of up to 7,100 t at the eastern part of the RZD’s network. In last year’s tests it managed to haul trains with a weight of 7,256 t.

TEM23 shunting diesel locomotives

The production of a pilot batch of 100 locomotives was approved upon certification at the end of 2022. Its presentation took place at PRO//Motion.Expo 2021. The 2023 production plans have not been published yet, but the announced certification of DTA-200T asynchronous motors used in this vehicle indirectly confirms that the production will be launched soon. According to TMH, a pilot batch of 42 motors is scheduled for production in 2023. The new TEM23 shunter will be a new alternative in TMH’s portfolio to TEM18 series locomotives, the most popular series in Russia. Over the years, the Bryansk plant manufactured 3,000 such units in various versions.

TEM23 diesel locomotive in RZD’s livery, September 2021 TEM23 diesel locomotive in RZD’s livery, September 2021. Source: Alexey Likhachev, trainpix

The TEM23 locomotive features an asynchronous traction drive and a dual diesel genset of 309 and 368 kW KAMAZ engines. The starting tractive effort is claimed to be 300 kN. With two-axle bogies, the vehicle is expected to pass curves with a minimum radius of 40 m at an axle load of 22.5 and 24.5 tf. Improved serviceability is achieved with a modular design. The shunter is expected to have longer overhaul periods, so the estimated maintenance and repair costs reduce by 47% compared to vehicles in operation today. The TEM23 locomotive can be operated in an unmanned mode.

EMKA2 shunting catenary and battery-powered locomotive

EMKA2 is another locomotive that uses the same platform as TEM23. It is a hybrid vehicle powered by catenary and batteries. The locomotive is built at the Novocherkassk Electric Locomotive Plant, part of TMH. Although EMKA2 has not been unveiled yet, images of the first prototype were published on industry websites this January. Following several years of development, the new electric locomotive was announced to be ready in mid-2022 but it didn’t happen. As Oleg Valinsky told in his October interview with RZD TV, the project had been delayed as initially the locomotive was equipped with batteries by foreign manufacturers.

EMKA2 shunting catenary and battery-powered locomotive in RZD’s livery at the Novocherkassk Electric Locomotive Plant, January 2023 EMKA2 shunting catenary and battery-powered locomotive in RZD’s livery at the Novocherkassk Electric Locomotive Plant, January 2023. Source: Igor Lagutin/railgallery

According to TMH, the EMKA2 shunter will replace diesel locomotives at large depots and passenger terminals, i.e. in locations where the use of the latter is not welcome. The batteries are expected to be charged via the catenary while operating with overhead contact lines and to power the locomotive at non-electrified sections. At PRO//Motion.Expo 2021, Igor Sakhin, TMH Perspective Technologies Center, reported that EMKA2’s hourly power with overhead lines is expected to be above 500 kW and with batteries above 300 kW. It was also declared that the shunter will have 100 km of autonomous operation without cars at 65 km/h and 18 km with a 2,000 t train at 20 km/h.