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UK to convert diesel locomotive to steam

17 June 2024
Reading time ~ 1 min
The six-axle Class 60 freight diesel locomotive to be converted to steam
The six-axle Class 60 freight diesel locomotive. Source: David Ingham/Flickr
Belov Sergey, Editor-in-Chief, ROLLINGSTOCK Agency
Reading time ~ 1 min
Savenkova Ekaterina, Editorial Contributor to International Projects of ROLLINGSTOCK Agency

UK: A contract has been signed between Eversholt Rail, Steamology, Freightliner, and Arup.

Eversholt Rail, a leasing company, which has already been working on very light rail vehicles, will be responsible for the development of the project dubbed New Dawn. The engineering company Steamology will contribute its new high-pressure steam technology. The rail freight operator Freightliner will provide operational input and experience, and Arup will offer consultancy to support the conversion. According to Railway Gazette, the project is backed by funding from the public innovation agency Innovate UK.

The six-axle Class 60 freight diesel locomotive, which was produced in the UK at the beginning of the 1990s, will receive steam generators and steam turbines using high-pressure steam generated through burning hydrogen. The 2,000-kW locomotive, equipped with 20 generators, four turbines, and a 140 kg hydrogen tank, will produce no CO2 emissions.

As Matt Candy, CEO of Steamology, informed Rail Business UK, the conversion activities are scheduled to be completed in 2025, followed by an estimated 12–18 months of certification tests.

Despite working on a plan to renew their rolling stock fleet and reduce emissions, some UK operators have reverted to diesel traction, even on electrified lines in 2021, against growth of electricity prices. Meanwhile, several UK rolling stock manufacturing facilities are now facing closure due to unclear order prospects.

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