New locos pull their weight
Two new hybrid locomotives are reducing fuel costs and minimising environmental impact as they move iron and steel around the Port Talbot site.
Simon Morgan, Works Manager Internal Logistics, said: “As well as environmental benefits, the new locos help the stability and productivity of our operations by providing better reliability with lower maintenance and higher availability”.
The iron torpedoes from the blast furnaces to the steelplant, and hot-rolled coils ready to despatch. The third loco is due imminently, with two more due in 2021 to replace more of the current, ageing 14-strong company fleet.
Simon added:”The locos are part of an ongoing investment in our infrastructure and have been designed to be future-proof, using the latest battery technology. The size and weight of the locos are a new concept to the industry, and while we’ve had some teething issues, the drivers have been working with the manufacturers and we’re making further minor adjustments for future deliveries. “But, generally, the drivers are loving them – they’re easy to drive, have plenty of power and run almost silently”.
Each electric loco weighs 90 tonnes and is capable of pulling (or pushing) loads up to 2,500 tonnes.
Power is delivered by the traction battery and 416kW maintenance-free, high torque electric motors. The locomotive is self-contained, with onboard battery charging coming from a low-emission diesel engine (so they don’t need plugging in at night!).
Clive Hannaford, Managing Director at Clayton Equipment, said: “The design of these bespoke locomotives, with manufacture, test and commissioning, has taken just over 24 weeks. They are the largest designed and built in the UK in more than 16 years, and use high quality steel for the 30-tonne frame, supplied by Tata Steel’s Plate Profiling Centre in Wednesfield”.