USA: In New York, Wabtec and the Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) national railway operator signed a memorandum of understanding for the prospective delivery of 150 battery shunters with FLXdrive technology, as well as on the mainline fleet overhauling for LNG traction. The investments volume is declared at a level of $600 mln.
It is assumed that battery shunters will have power of 1,500 kW, and provide the annual savings on fuel by $75,000 per locomotive. The FLXdrive battery locomotive had been developed since 2018 by GE Transportation (acquired by Wabtec in 2019). The first order for this locomotive was received from the CN operator in Canada in November 2021. This year orders were reported from Union Pacific as well as from Rio Tinto and BHP. The total firm backlog for FLXdrive is within 20 locomotives currenlty.
FLXdrive battery locomotive by Wabtec. Source: Wabtec
On the other hand, it is planned to use NextFuel kits for the retrofitting of KTZ diesel locomotives with LNG traction. NextFuel was developed for Evolution series locomotives in 2012 and has been in mass production since 2018. Wabtec declares that this technology will increase the range of KTZ locomotives from 1,300 to 3,000 km, as well as reduce fuel costs by 26%.
More than 400 TE33A diesel locomotives (including modifications) operate in the KTZ fleet, the first ones were ordered from GE Transportation. The vehicles are based on the Evolution series, produced since 2009 at the LKZ plant in Astana (a joint venture of Wabtec and TMH). Also, the installation of GE diesel engines was carried out as part of the 2TE10M diesel locomotive overhauling.
It is planned to master both the assembly of FLXdrive shunters and the LNG-modernization of operated locomotives at the LKZ. As to Wabtec, the start of production is scheduled for 2024.