A CRRC Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive-built electro-hybrid center cab class 461 shunting locomotive for Austrian Federal Railways subsidiary Rail Cargo Hungary (RCH) has arrived at the VUZ train test center near Velim, Czech Republic, for an extensive testing programme.

The inaugural test of the locomotive took place in the early morning of July 29 to check compatibility with the test centre’s rail infrastructure. After completing the check and gaining approval, the E-hybrid shunter started to operate on the large test loop, which has a length of about 14km.

The 100km/h shunting locomotive has a single pantograph on top of the cabin roof for energy supply from overhead wire to operate and to charge the last-mile battery pack. The 18.3m-long Bo-Bo E-hybrid shunting locomotive weighs 72.2 tonnes.

In contrast to the 5.4MW CRRC Bison battery-electric locomotive, which is also undergoing testing at Velim to obtain an authorisation to place in service, the registration and EVN for the shunter are Hungary based. The 36-month certification and authorisation process commenced from RCH’s signing of the contract with CRRC Zhuzhou, which took place in September 2019. While the multi-country Bison has an EVN showing Germany as country of registration, the hybrid shunter will  only be authorised for operation in Hungary. RCH says the locomotive will support single wagon load operations.

Under the contract with CRRC Zhuzhou, the supplier will deliver two units of each locomotive type. The operator will lease the units for four years initially, after which the company has the option to extend the lease or purchase the locomotives outright. RCH also has the option to order up to 20 of each locomotive type.

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