DB Schenker Rail's subsidiary has entered into an agreement with Alstom to test locomotives equipped with a hybrid drive system.
DB's subsidiary, Mitteldeutsche Eisenbahngesellschaft (MEG), is to lease five hybrid-switching locomotives from Alstom for deployment with Dow Olefinverbund in Germany.
The agreement includes an option to purchase the low-consumption hybrid-switching locomotive at a later date.
The acquisition of the locomotives by MEG marks the beginning of the use of hybrid locomotives for rail freight operations in Europe.
Using a small 250kW diesel generator, the locomotive delivers a maximum power output of 600kW.
The prototype has been undergoing continuous testing in normal day-to-day operations since July this year.
Other vehicles upgraded with the technology will be launched by the end of 2011.