DB Schenker Rail UK has introduced new electric shunting units, Zephir 1800e CRAB machines, which are designed to offer reduced CO2 emissions.
The new battery operated units are part of DB Schenker Rail UK’s environmental improvements and it is estimated that the shunting units will reduce CO2 emissions by 649t each year.
DB Schenker Rail UK maintenance and infrastructure head Andrew Byrne said: "Rail freight is already considered to be a more environmentally friendly mode of transport than road, but we still actively seek ways to reduce the organisation’s environmental footprint even further.
"We look forward to seeing the long-term benefits that the electric shunters will provide."
The new machine will be capable of pulling or pushing 400t with a maximum drawbar pull of 20kN in the dry and 16kN in the wet.
DB Schenker will use these vehicles across its maintenance depots at Crewe and Toton. These depots handle approximately 14,000 locomotives every year.
According to the company, the new shunters will be able to move up to three Class 66 locomotives at a time.
In addition, the vehicles will offer safety benefits as they increase visibility and require less human interaction.
It will also reduce prolonged exposure to noise within the depot and reduce the amount of exhaust emissions, the company stated.
DB Schenker Rail UK was previously using diesel shunting locomotives to move the wagons and locomotives around the depots for maintenance.
The company decommissioned the majority of its Class 08 shunting fleet in September last year.
Image: DB Schenker Rail UK’s electric shunting units. Photo: courtesy of DB Schenker.