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TGM8А shunting locomotive: a legend revival?

10 March 2022
Reading time ~ 8 min
TGM8A shunter on the assembly line of Lyudinovo Diesel Locomotive Plant. Author: Sergey Kalinov
TGM8A shunter on the assembly line of Lyudinovo Diesel Locomotive Plant (LTZ). Author: Sergey Kalinov
Kalinov Sergey, Blogger, “Plants and Diesel Locomotives” Zen.Yandex channel
Reading time ~ 8 min

In the last five years, Sinara Transport Machines (STM) has supplied in total 81 locomotives of ТGМ8А and TGM8KM modifications to several foreign customers. That has made the vehicle one of the most popular industrial locomotives produced in Russia lately. So, let us get a closer look at this shunter model.


In 2017, STM carried out a contract with the Railways Union of Cuba which envisaged TGM8KM locomotives shipment. In order to fulfill the contract’s obligations and deliver the vehicles, STM’s Research Center experts used TGM6D loco modification as a basis when developing a new model.

Overall, it took 6 months to create TGM8KM loco. Designers used this time to digitalize the nodes and components adapted from ТGМ6D model and to develop unique solutions (including a new climate control system) for the locomotive to fully fit Cuban climate conditions.

TGM8KM is being prepared to be shipped to Cuba TGM8KM is being prepared to be shipped to Cuba. Author: Sergey Kalinov

As a result, STM’s Research Center specialists have created not just a new diesel locomotive but a basic platform using which various other loco modifications can be developed.


In 2021, RUSAL ordered the locomotive in question for taking out bauxite from Guinea’s Kindia deposit, where Russian holding has a business. The engineers of STM carried out a series of calculations and found out that TGM8 diesel locomotives would in fact be able to fulfill the main traction task, when operating with three sections using a multiple-unit system. That is how the starting point for the development of ТGМ8А modification was established.

For multiple-unit system operation, the diesel locomotive was equipped with the microprocessor control and diagnostics system, which allows the control of 3 locomotive sections from a lead cab. Moreover, such a construction envisages the receipt of full information on the nodes and components operation of all multiple units on the driver’s monitor.

TGM8A shunter in the paint shop of Lyudinovo Diesel Locomotive Plant TGM8A shunter in the paint shop of Lyudinovo Diesel Locomotive Plant. Author: Sergey Kalinov

The new control system was developed based on the modular principle. When installed at a diesel locomotive, the main set of units normally stays the same. Although the number of units and their linkage to the loco can vary depending on the tasks that are being fulfilled at the moment.

In fact, it does not take much effort to adapt a locomotive to certain new characteristics: only the program of diesel locomotive control algorithms and the monitor program have to be adjusted. This approach to the control system makes it possible to use it on various modifications.

The assembly of TGM8A shunter The assembly of TGM8A shunter. Author: Sergey Kalinov

The system developed by the STM’s Center for Innovative Developments has already been installed on diesel TEM10 and gas TEMG1 locomotives and it is the company’s plan to implement it on the ТEМ9 shunter in the upcoming few months, while the process of its integration in TEМ14 locomotive is also in progress.

Concerning structural unit’s assembly (which are: diesel, compressor, cab, air-conditioning, mechanic part), one must say that it stays the same for both TGM8A and TGM8KM locomotives.  It is also worth mentioning that the specialists of STM’s Research Center have designed the ТGМ8А modification in just 2 months.

Inside the locomotive

TGM8A shunting diesel locomotive is a shunter with hydraulic transmission and Bo-Bo wheel formula (two two-axle bogies with group operation from hydraulic drive).

The locomotive is equipped with a 7-6D49-02 V-shaped four-stroke eight-cylinder diesel engine developed by Kolomensky plant (part of TMH). The engine’s power is up to 900 kW. The universal hydraulic transmission (UGP1200ТVА), which is developed and produced at Kalugaputmash (a part of STM), is also included in the shunter’s design.

The locomotive is assembled in accordance with a two-hood circuity principle. This means that engine, cooling system, hydraulic transmission, compressor, and generator are all located in the rear (big) hood, while an accumulator battery is placed in the front (small) one.

Like TGM8KM, ТGМ8А model has a spacious cab with a microclimate system and two informative control panels. In order to enhance driver’s visibility, it has been decided to not only reduce the height of the front hood but also to increase the cab’s glass area.

The control panel of TGM8A shunter The control panel of TGM8A shunter. Author: Sergey Kalinov

The control panels are topped up with screens where the detailed information about the locomotive units’ operating modes is provided. Running under a multiple-unit system, the driver can see the main technical parameters of all jointly operated locomotives on those screens.

Multiple Parameters Control System collects and preserves the telemetric information about the operation of a diesel locomotive and its units. This data is available for a driver at the control panel screen and may be exported from the board for further analysis using a special-purpose program that allows calculation on the maintenance or repair cycle.

Both modern technical solutions and high operational characteristics contribute to the more comfortable and efficient work conditions for the TGM8A loco’s drivers.


In 1972, the engineers of Lyudinovo Diesel Locomotive Plant (LTZ) designed the basis of ТGМ8 loco modification. It was done for the French metallurgical company Solmer and paved the way to start exporting Soviet machines to the West. During the next 50 years the locomotives of ТGМ4, ТGМ6, ТGМ8 modifications have been successfully operating in a number of countries including:  Cuba, Iran, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Vietnam, Egypt, and Mongolia.

Today this fleet is outdated and has to be modified. Considering that the above mentioned countries have such a long history of operating these particular models, it seems unlikely that they should decide to switch the shunter and start buying some principally new railway equipment.

TGM8A shunter before its shipping to Guinea TGM8A shunter before its shipping to Guinea. Author: Sergey Kalinov

Locomotives that are based on the TGM8 modification have proved to be highly efficient in severe climate conditions (incl. high humidity and dusty areas). For instance, in Guinea, during the monsoon rains, the water can rise up almost by 2 meters, hiding the railway track completely, which actually makes locomotive float on the site. Traction electric motors cannot withstand such conditions but hydraulic transmissions are able to effectively cope with such situations.

Fleet obsolescence occurs in batches which makes it not 1-2 vehicles at a time but 10-20-30 instead. Therefore, the demand for new TGMs in these countries will gradually increase. Modern ТGМ8 modifications are there to help STM’s longstanding foreign partners to renew their locomotive fleet and provide them with the best railway solutions.