GE fits digital ‘autopilot’ on Kazakhstan freight locomotives
The logistics arm of electrical giant GE has signed a deal with Kazakhstan Railways to equip its fleet of freight locomotives with an ‘intelligent’ onboard control system.
GE Transportation’s Trip Optimizer (TO) works in a similar way to a aircraft’s autopilot feature, learning a train’s characteristics and creating an optimal journey profile. It automatically controls the locomotive’s throttle and dynamic brakes features to reduce fuel burn and provide a more efficient handling.
As part of the next step in what is a 20-year partnership between the two companies, TO will be fitted on KTZ-Freight Transportation’s fleet of TE33A Evolution-series locomotives to make efficiency savings, a vital tool for the freight operator whose long-haul services are a key part of the Asia-Europe rail axis.
Gokhan Bayhan, General Manager of GE Transportation in Russia/CIS/Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, said: “We are happy to expand our cooperation with KTZ-Freight Transportation and pleased to have the opportunity to apply GE Transportation’s digital solutions in Central Asia. Rolling out Trip Optimizer will help increase the efficiency of KTZ freight locomotives, reducing fuel consumption by at least five per cent and lowering harmful atmospheric emissions.”
GE says that trains equipped with TO, which recently had its 10,000th order, are more punctual, operate more smoothly and emit far fewer emissions than other locomotives. More than 700 of Kazakhstan’s new and modernised locomotives are already powered by GE engines, with the fleet one of the youngest and most fuel-efficient in the entire CIS region. The new agreement follows a Memorandum of Understanding signed in June to explore the use of digital technologies to reduce fuel use, optimize power distribution and improve safety.
Established over 100 years ago, GE Transportation is a division of the US-based General Electric Company, which itself started out as a pioneer in the development of freight and passenger locomotives.