Swedish locomotive leasing company Nordic Re-Finance has agreed to a deal with Swiss state-owned SBB Cargo for a sales/leaseback arrangement of SBB’s four-axle radio-controlled diesel AM843 locomotives.

These Vossloh G1700-2 locomotives, produced between 2003-2009, are primarily used for shunting, but can also be used for lighter line-haul operations.

Financial details of the agreement have not been disclosed.

The locomotives will remain in Switzerland and will continue to be operated by SBB Cargo for at least five years as SBB Cargo switches to electro-diesel and battery-diesel hybrid locomotives, after which the plan is for them to be redeployed primarily in Sweden.

“We are making this acquisition for several reasons. The most important is to create an environmental bridge to the solution of the next generation of fuels. Purchasing new diesel locomotives with a depreciation period of 35-40 years is not reasonable,” said Sven Engquist, working chairman of Nordic Re-Finance.

“The second reason is that the fleet of this type of locomotive in Sweden is approaching the end of its lifespan. It is not economically viable to equip these 50 to 60-year-old locomotives with the new ERTMS signalling system, which costs several million Swedish Krona per locomotive.”

Engquist says that the purchase addresses the market demand that Nordic Re-Finance sees and that collaborating with SBB Cargo feels “secure and stable” due to the companies’ good relationship from previous vehicle purchases.

By acquiring a modern fleet of locomotives produced in the 2000s, which have also received environmental updates throughout their lifespan, Nordic Re-Finance says that it is ensuring that future-proof diesel locomotives will be available in the Swedish market.

“Together, we have paved the way for the modernisation of our fleet and the sustainable reuse of our AM843 locomotives,” said Jasmin Bigdon, head of rolling stock at SBB Cargo.

“Thanks to our collaboration, built on trust from previous transactions, we were able to find a win-win solution and further expand the strategic partnership between SBB Cargo and Nordic Re-Finance.”

The AM843 locomotives are currently used for transportation, industrial shunting, terminal and harbour shunting, and infrastructure work in Switzerland.