Siemens’ Nordic Vectrons enter Finnish rail freight market
Eight new Siemens broad-gauge ‘Nordic’ Vectron locomotives have gone into service on Finland’s rail freight network. They are the first of 80 locomotives that will all be delivered by 2026, and have been authorised for use by Trafi, the Finnish transport safety agency.
The contract, which is worth more than 300 million Euros and Siemens’ biggest single Vectron order to date, is Finnish rail operator VR Group’s first broad-gauge configuration order, and includes an option for a further 96 locomotives, Designed specifically to cope with the region’s harsh winters, the so-called Nordic Vectron’s first commercial operations are between Tampere and Vuosaari harbour in Helsinki.
With a maximum output of 6.4 MW and a top speed of 200 km/h, the locomotives’ bogies are designed for operating on 1.524-millimetre broad gauge lines, bigger than the standard European 1.435mm gauge. The locomotives will be used entirely in Finland and are equipped with both the European Train Control System (ECTS) and the Finnish JKV-STM train control system.
They are capable of handling the challenges of Finland’s tough winter conditions and associated challenges, such as temperatures as low as 40 degrees below zero, powder snow and collisions with larger animals. They have cavity roofs, a reinforced front hatch, side buffers and automatic couplers.
The locomotives will also be well-equipped for handling timber, one of Finland’s major rail freight commodities. Timber is often moved in and out of forests on non-electrified lines, but the Vectron has two diesel modules and on-board radio shunting, which means there is no need for separate diesel shunting locomotives.
Petri Auno, Senior Vice President of Train Operations at VR Group, said: “It is wonderful that we will be able to operate the locomotives in commercial traffic according to the planned timetable. We have been looking forward to having the new locomotive in both passenger and freight traffic. At this stage, we would like to thank our own team, the team at Siemens and the Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi, which served as the licensing authority for their excellent cooperation.”
The group is aiming to improve the energy-efficiency of both freight and passenger traffic by 20 per cent by 2020. The new electric locomotive enables a greater share of freight transports to be carried out using electric traction instead of diesel locomotives.