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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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