VR Group has received the first new Stadler Dr19 locomotive which will enter comprehensive test programme which includes test runs on different railway sections and in different train configurations as well as shunting work tests where wagons are arranged in the railway yards.
The trials which will be completed at the end of 2022 when VR Group will have additional locomotives from Stadler.
The first new locomotives will be introduced into commercial traffic in 2023.
Finland still needs diesel locomotives as currently more than half of the railway network has been electrified. VR aims to maximise the amount of electric hauling, but in the future other power sources will also be needed in addition to electricity produced with hydropower.
The structure of the new locomotive has been designed so that diesel can, in the future, be replaced with a more climate-friendly energy source once sufficiently competitive and reliable alternatives are available on the market.
The Dr19 locomotive is climate-friendly and is equipped with modern technologies enabling increased train sizes. “The new diesel locomotives will be mainly used in freight traffic and their pulling capacity is twice as effective as in our old locomotives. Today, train is by far the most low-emission mode of transport, but we are committed to reducing emissions even further. The new locomotive has many climate-friendly features and its particulate emissions are significantly lower than those of our old diesel fleet. Nitrogen oxide emissions, for example, are 80% lower”, Ilkka Heiskanen, Senior Vice President, Train Operations and Safety, of VR Group said.
In 2019, VR Group and Stadler signed a EUR 200 million contract for the supply of 60 diesel locomotives including an option for up to 100 vehicles, mainly of them expected to provide freight transport services. The deliveries start this year and will continue on a regular basis until the entire series of 60 locomotives has been delivered by the end of 2026. They will replace the 40-60 – year ageing diesel locomotive fleet.