CZ/SK verze

Reportage from the Technical Conference CZ LOKO: The top Czech railways discussed the Green deal, ETCS and railway trends. CZ LOKO introduced a virtual depo.

Reportage from the Technical Conference CZ LOKO: The top Czech railways discussed the Green deal, ETCS and railway trends. CZ LOKO introduced a virtual depo.
photo: CZ LOKO/CZ LOKO
11 / 06 / 2021

The second year of the technical conference took place in Pardubice and took place online. About 300 participants watched the conference. The conference discussed topics of European importance, such as the Green Deal. The conference was attended by the top of the České dráhy. The CEO of CZ LOKO, Josef Gulyás, acted as the organizer. Among the discussions were Tomáš Tóth, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ČD Cargo, Jiří Kolář, Director of the Railway Authority, and Jiří Svoboda, Director General of the Správa železnic.

"We are here to discuss where the railway is going and what the expectations are from operators, legislation. The reason for the technical conference is feedback. The production program will be of no use to us unless there is a hunger for it on the market. The first technical conference was supposed to find out what the market wanted, how fast it wanted it, what the dynamics of change were. The result of the last conference was that any conventional vehicles are dead today and we have to change them dramatically in order to be a market leader," Josef Gulyás, CEO of CZ LOKO, told the Technical Conference.

In the railway market, safety demands, legislation are increasing, and the Green Deal is also affecting the whole thing. Few customers want classical conventional locomotives these days. CZ LOKO must adapt to these changes. It is the art of adapting to the dynamics of change around you that is the main key to success for clients. That is why CZ LOKO started combining atomic and hydrogen comfort, CNG, LPG and is now launching a hybrid portfolio. The first CZ LOKO hybrid locomotives will be heading to Italy in 2021. It is a combination of an electric locomotive with AKU batteries and an internal combustion engine.

The aim is to offer vehicles that are efficient, environmentally friendly, and affordable. "The ideal locomotive should have DC and AC, it will have an internal combustion engine, battery pack, CNG, LPG, 120 meters, 200 tons and no one will buy it," said Josef Gulyás, CEO of CZ LOKO. Now there is a race between locomotive manufacturers, who will offer an ecological and economic solution together with a complete service.

Správa železnic has multiple systems such as DC, AC and independent traction. The deployment of overhead contact lines and ac unification are increasingly being addressed. Austria has already announced that they will have fully electrified railways. The Czech Republic currently has 520 kilometers ready, which will be electrified. SŽ is therefore also looking for various subsidy resources. "For us, the gauntlet is for the infrastructure to turn green," said Jiří Svoboda, Director General of the Správa železnic.

"The railway authority will keep its fingers crossed. It certainly makes sense to move in a direction, electrification, switching to one current system, and hybrid vehicles. This is a trend that Europe and the world will follow. We've got ten years. Let's do this, I think it's time," said Jiří Kolář, director of the Railway Authority.

The conference also included one big technical surprise in the form of a virtual depot. CZ LOKO is now offering this novelty to its customers and railway enthusiasts. The latest CZ LOKO industrial locomotives are ready for inspection in the virtual railway depot, despite any restrictions. It is the first virtual showroom of this type in a railway environment. A real-time tour accompanied by a virtual specialist is also available for business partners.

"The customer has to choose the railway not only because it is green, but also because it makes economic sense," said Tomáš Tóth, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ČD Cargo. The Green Deal, he says, is both a threat and an opportunity. However, this is more of an opportunity for large carriers because they transport a large number of commodities. The material transported gradually changes as a result of the change in energy and energy mix. In the future, it will be more about renewable energy, not solid fuels. Tomáš Tóth also stated that rail transport has higher energy efficiency and much lower energy performance. This also applies to independent traction, where diesel locomotives are used. Compared to trucks, the railway consumes three times less diesel per unit. According to the head of ČD Cargo, customers are now interested not only in price but also in environmentality. Some customers also want to guarantee that locomotives consume energy from renewable sources. ČD Cargo is currently on the verge of upgrading its fleet. It is envisaged to purchase hybrid locomotives with battery and electric drive.

Jiří Kolář, Director of the Railway Authority at the conference, appealed, among other things, that from 16 June 2020 the obligation to certify the maintenance system applies to all categories of railway vehicles. Until then, that was only true for trucks. All companies should thus be ECM certified for their railway vehicles by 22 June 2022 at the latest. Thus, cars, as well as railway vehicles of construction companies, such as undershoots, will have to be certified.

The technical conference CZ LOKO brought a number of topics that are central to the development of the railway sector in the following years. This unique meeting of the top Czech railways helped to answer burning questions and to start another debate about the further direction of the Czech railway.

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