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Operail's first LNG freight locomotive is ready

Operail's first LNG freight locomotive is ready
photo: Operail/Operail
19 / 07 / 2021

The first LNG freight locomotive in the Baltics and the neighbouring region, which was constructed at Operail's Tapa depot (Estonia), was successfully launched last week. The first launch and meters driven on the railroad will be followed by a period of tuning, testing and certification.

"The LNG freight locomotive is one of our focus projects in making rail transport, which is already environment-friendly, even more sustainable," said Chairman of the Board of Operail Raul Toomsalu. "We hope to see the expected positive result in terms of reduced emissions after the performance of the necessary tests and analyses, and we are planning to gradually transfer our other heavy freight locomotives to LNG as well."

"The locomotive took five months to build. We reconstructed the diesel fuel tank of the American General Electric C36 locomotive and added LNG tanks. Other necessary systems and contemporary security equipment were also installed on the locomotive to guarantee maximum safety," explained Managing Director of the Tapa Depot Mihhail Sinani. "The locomotive now uses two kinds of fuel, which means that it can be powered by diesel as well as LNG – it will help us reduce our fuel costs by 30%, and the machine emits 20% less carbon dioxide and as much as 70% less sulfur oxide into the air."

A testing and certification period must be completed before the locomotive is put into service. "First of all, we will add sensors to the LNG freight locomotive, which will allow us to measure the number of emissions and carry out a more detailed analysis of environmental impacts. This will be followed by the preparation of the documents required for the certification of the new locomotive type, tests, and test drives on our local infrastructure as well as on the public railroad," said Sinani.

The LNG freight locomotive should start operating for freight transportation in autumn 2021.