DB Cargo has signed a framework agreement with Siemens Mobility to procure up to 400 dual-mode locomotives.

The deal involved an investment of more than €1bn and will enable DB Cargo to replace its mainline locomotive fleet with more fuel-efficient units.

As agreed, Siemens will deliver Vectron Dual Mode locomotives designed specifically to meet the requirements of DB Cargo.

An initial order of 100 locomotives of the 248 series was placed with the rolling stock manufacturer. The deliveries are slated to begin in 2023.

Siemens Mobility Rolling Stock CEO Albrecht Neumann said: “With the Vectron Dual Mode, DB Cargo is investing in future-proof, sustainable and economical rail freight transport.

“As an alternative to conventional diesel locomotives, the Vectron Dual Mode offers the best of two worlds: It operates purely in electric mode on electrified sections of the route to save fuel and reduce maintenance costs.

“And it can be switched to diesel operation on stretches without overhead lines, eliminating the need to change locomotives.”

The bio-mode capability of the locomotives will help DB to save around eight million litres of fuel and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 17,000tpa.

DB Cargo aims to equip around 70% of its diesel locomotives with electric drives by 2030.

In July, DB awarded a €1bn contract to Siemens Mobility for 30 inter-city trains. The trains are expected to begin operations in 2022 on the routes between Munich and North Rhine-Westphalia via the Cologne-Rhine-Main line.