Germany’s Federal Railway Authority (EBA) has approved Siemens Mobility’s Vectron Dual Mode locomotive for operations.

The approval is expected to benefit the companies who have already ordered the dual-mode locomotives.

Based on the Vectron platform, the diesel-electric locomotive is designed for freight operations as an alternative to conventional diesel units.

The use of these vehicles will eliminate the need to replace locomotives for hauling freight trains on non-electrified lines.

Around 60% of Germany’s railway network is currently electrified.

Siemens Mobility Rolling Stock CEO Albrecht Neumann said: “The Vectron Dual Mode enables our customers to provide sustainable and cost-effective rail freight transport.

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“As an alternative to conventional diesel locomotives, the Vectron Dual Mode offers the best of two worlds: It operates in electric mode on electrified rail routes to save fuel and reduce emissions and maintenance costs, and can switch to diesel operation on sections without overhead lines, eliminating the need to change locomotives.”

Capable of running at a maximum speed of 160km/h, the Vectron Dual Mode locomotive has a track gauge of 1,435mm and weighs 90t. It is designed to run on a 15kV AC voltage system and features a 2,600lt fuel tank.

In September, DB Cargo signed an agreement to procure up to 400 dual-mode locomotives. It also placed an initial order of 100 units.

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

The deliveries are expected to commence in 2023.