16 Feb 2024

'Green’ loco’s platform to perform

An ‘environmentally friendly’ 90-tonne, hybrid locomotive is currently shunting around the rail tracks at our Scunthorpe site as part of a new trial.

The Class 18 CBD90 loco, hired by British Steel from rolling stock lease hire suppliers Beacon Rail Leasing Limited, has been transported into North Lincolnshire from the West Midlands.

The loco, according to its manufacturers Clayton Equipment Limited, has ‘zero emissions, low noise, low maintenance and ease of operation’, running primarily on a lead acid battery which is charged up using a diesel engine battery charging system or on-site electrical supply.

With a maximum speed of 20kmph and a fuel tank capacity of 800 litres, the loco’s axles each weigh 22.5 tonnes with the capability to pull 2,500 tonnes. It will be trialled for all service areas on site, except for the blast services.

Testing the Class 18 loco’s performance is in line with our Decarbonisation Strategy and the team analysing its operations will look at its efficiency, reliability, availability of spare parts and the potential reduction in maintenance costs.

Site Operations Manager - Internal Logistics, Trev Charlton, said: “This is one of a number of options we are considering to reduce our carbon footprint, and we are currently searching worldwide for a suitable powered shunting locomotive alternative. This is the first time British Steel has trialled a hybrid loco on site as an alternative form of loco power.

“We are particularly interested in the duty cycle of the hybrid battery. From the specifications, the loco has sufficient power for our operations, and we are keen to establish how long it can be operated without being plugged in. This will help us establish how many we will potentially need to purchase - if they are the correct solution for the business. We are also extremely interested in how it performs in colder weather.”

Beacon Director – Commercial, Viren Walia, said: “This is a battery-powered 90-tonne shunting locomotive capable of hauling loads of up to 2,500 tonnes. The loco can be charged through a three-phase supply and has remote control capability.”