Hamburg is continuously consolidating its position as Europe’s largest rail port, and the number of shunted trains is therefore increasing. So as to minimise the environmental footprint caused by this growth, Metrans, the rail subsidiary of Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA), has purchased two new shunting engines featuring the latest hybrid technology.
Alstom’s Prima H3 locomotive was used for heavy-duty shunting for the very first time in July this year, a world first. A second Prima H3 is expected in January 2017. Since these engines run on battery power for between 50 and 75 percent of their operating time, this generates significant fuel and emissions savings.
The three-axle H3 hybrid engine emits approximately 50 percent less CO2 than conventional shunting locomotives running on diesel, since their energy consumption is reduced by this factor. Emissions of harmful substances such as particulate matter are even reduced by up to 70 percent. A further advantage of the new technology is these locomotives’ considerably quieter levels of pass-by noise.
Through more efficient supply directly from the national grid the electricity consumption can also be reduced even further. “This is the next step,” promises Roger Mahler, the managing director of Metrans Deutschland. “We are preparing to charge the engines’ batteries at 400-volt sockets. Emission-free rail transport will then even be possible without overhead cables!”