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Diesel loco nightmare on electrified lines

Turkish railways face the risk of using diesel locos on electrified lines.

TCDD’s electrification project continue. In addition to current 2000-km-long electrified conventional lines, engineering works continue on 1500-km-long conventional lines.

TCDD has the target of electrifying all its network until 2023. Energy and maintanance expenses of electric locos are much less compared with diesel ones. Thus, none of the operators prefer investing in diesel locos.

On the other hand, the electric loco fleet in Turkey is limited. There are 125 electric locos in Turkey, all of which are owned by TCDD Tasimacilik. 45 Toshiba locos which are 20 years old in average and 80 Rotem locos which had been produced since 2014.

New, light and fast Rotem locos are mainly used in passenger transportation. Toshiba locos are still the favorites of freight though they are old. Toshiba was the choice of first private train operator, Omsan.

Turkey has the target of developing its locomotive fleet with 500 new locos until 2023, but the question of “how they’ll be supplied” is still not clear.

Turkey’s first local production project, E5000, is in very early stage. The first loco is expected to be ready in 4 years. Since it’ll be first completely locally produced, this time may delay.

Tulomsas is considering production of a 6-axle electric locomotive which is convenient for heavy transports. There’s no official announcement about this, but is expected to be produced with licence of an existing locomotive. It’s not known when this loco can be put on market.

Global loco producers like Siemens and Bombardier, which currently have big orders in hand, may not meet this need either. Besides, Ministry of Transportation, had stated that Turkey will save USD 4 bn with local production of these 500 locos. This means locol production of locos will be supported.

The only fast solution is the improvement of Rotem loco. Rotem locos are tried to be more convenient for heavy transportation by physical change and software update.

Hope it’ll work. Otherwise, we may see many diesel locos on electrified lines.

Cover Photo: Steve Hobson ©


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