Rail Operations fuels its ambitions with tri-mode Class 93s

Ten tri-mode locomotives are being ordered by Rail Operations (UK) Limited, in a deal worth more than £40 million.

Built by Stadler in Valencia, the first Class 93 will arrive in August 2020. They will be leased from Beacon Rail and will be powered by either AC electric, diesel or battery power.

ROL owns Rail Operations Group, as well as three other companies under its umbrella. It plans to use the ‘93s’ to expand its operations, including the resurrection of a Rail Express Systems-style operation.

Chief Executive Officer Karl Watts, in an exclusive interview with RAIL on December 4, said: “We have gone for the Class 93 as it is the Class 68/‘88’ UKLIGHT platform.

“We needed that platform and the approvals that go with it. That is still two years from the order placed to the locomotive entering traffic in revenue-earning service. If we hadn’t got that, it would be four years.”

Watts said he had looked at the EuroDUAL locomotive offered by Stadler, but this did not fit the UK loading gauge. However, the Swiss manufacturer offered a solution involving an updated diesel alternator set plus Lithium Titanate Oxide (LTO).

He explained: “We had to be careful not to go too big. It’s an ‘88’ design with the biggest engine we could fit. It needs a bigger cooling system as a result. The LTO batteries are there to support the alternator set. The hybrid offers 1,800hp usable power compared with the 1,300hp from a ‘37’, so it is roughly comparable to a ‘47’ on diesel.”

  • For more from RAIL's exclusive interview with Watts, as well as more on the '93s', read RAIL 868, published on December 19, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from December 15.


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  • BigTone - 19/12/2018 14:31

    In my opinion, this is what Class 88 should have been. Decent amount of power when away from the wires. Did DRS say something about reviewing their loco stock, including Class 88?

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  • AndrewJG8918 - 20/12/2018 02:59

    Will the Class 93 Tri-mode locomotives be used on freight duties. As well used on passenger charter services such as used on GWR Riviera Sleeper, Caledonian Sleeper and possibly few train operators could order some of the Class 93s including KeliosAmey TfW Rail, ScotRail and LNWR (London-Blackpool North).

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  • GWRrailwatch - 27/12/2018 14:44

    Well, once again, our railways are leading over other forms of transport with multi-hybrid traction. Showing road transport the way ahead. Another thing that’s positive with our railways.

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  • Leon whitfield - 20/12/2020 12:06

    When will first class 93 in service

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