Dual-mode locomotives successfully undergo trials

Two dual-mode locomotives next to each other in front of a maintenance shed.

Dual-mode locomotives successfully undergo trials

Six dual-mode locomotives are undergoing trials to put them through their paces before scheduled operations.

Following the official presentation of the new dual-mode locomotive in March 2024, the innovative engine is now undergoing a period of intensive trials. Six of the locomotives are being tested in Zwickau and Kreuztal, Germany, in order to assess their performance under real conditions before they enter service.

The dual-mode locomotive: an all-rounder

The dual-mode locomotive combines the strengths of an electric locomotive with those of a diesel shunting engine. It can be operated on both electrified lines and those without an overhead contact wire. This flexibility makes it a particularly valuable addition on the entire rail network in Germany, including for demanding shunting tasks and long-distance connections.

Endurance testing in everyday operations

The locomotives are being put through their paces in a trial period that is due to last until the end of June. They are having to prove themselves in demanding scenarios, including on journeys with heavy hauled loads, on steep rising gradients and over long distances. Seamlessly switching between electric and diesel operation is a particular focus, as this is the locomotive's major innovation. Another area being tested extensively is shunting, which has its own specific requirements. The trials are being supervised, documented and analysed by the staff on site and the DB Cargo project team.

A close-up of a dual-mode locomotive from the side with the lettering "Dual-Power: Double the drive, less CO2" in German.
The dual-mode locomotive combines the strengths of electric and diesel engines.

Initial results positive

After two months, the team’s initial conclusion is positive: "The dual-mode locomotives are performing as expected and are proving their worth even in difficult weather conditions. We are especially pleased with the time savings on lines that were previously operated with diesel shunting locomotives under overhead lines. We identified some small issues during the test runs, which the manufacturer, Siemens, is currently working to optimise with the support of DB Cargo," says Erik Unbehaun from the DB Cargo Fleet Strategy department.

Looking ahead

The trials are providing valuable insights that will be incorporated into further improvements. The team will continue to collect data and make optimisations until the end of June. Once the trial period has concluded successfully, series delivery of the locomotives will start in late summer 2024. Thirty dual-mode locomotives are due be in operation by the end of the year, with all of the approximately 150 engines that have been ordered scheduled to be delivered by 2027. With its new dual-mode locomotives, DB Cargo is setting another example of how innovative and sustainable solutions can make rail freight transport more efficient and environmentally friendly.


Get in touch with our expert.

Erik Unbehaun

Fleet Strategy and Portfolio Management, DB Cargo AG