UZ awarded GE a $US 1bn contract in February to build an initial batch of 30 complete TE33As, with 195 units supplied as kits for assembly in Ukraine. The 15-year deal also includes modernisation of 75 existing double-unit locomotives and the provision of fleet maintenance services.

The first train weighing 3824 tonnes left at 13.00 on December 12 and ran along the Melitopol - Volnovaha - Mariupol line, carrying iron ore concentrate. So far, 20 locomotives have been delivered to UZ, with the remaining 10 due to be delivered by the end of the year.

UZ says the TE33A, which received certification to operate on the Ukrainian network on November 15 after the first unit was delivered in September, can operate three times longer than the older UZ units between maintenance.

The TE33As, which emit 40% less emissions than 2ТЕ10 and 2ТE116 type locomotives, are equipped with an asynchronous 12-cylinder Evolution Series engine with electronic fuel injection providing a maximum output of 3.36MW. The unit has a maximum speed of 120km/h, with a 50% increase to the maximum trailing load.

The locomotives are equipped with modern safety and radio systems, automatic fire detection and fire extinguishing systems, as well as a built-in computerised microprocessor control system which monitors the status of the locomotive for predictive maintenance.

The TE33As will haul grain, ore, and metals products through the country’s industrial and agricultural centre, as well as to key ports along the Black Sea. Most of the production is being carried out at a GE’s facility in the United States, with final work at the Kryukov Railway Car Building Works in Kremenchuk, Ukraine.

“Today’s launch of GE locomotives onto the UZ network is a great demonstration of the successful start of our long-term cooperation with our American partners,” says acting UZ CEO Mr Yevgen Kravtsov. “The delivery timeline remains on-schedule, and on our side we are fully prepared to operate and maintain the locomotives. We are planning to continue our cooperation programme with GE in 2019.”

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