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ČD Cargo cancelled tender for heavy diesel locomotives, now requests more smaller ones

ČD Cargo Class 750, source: CEE Transport/Jan Sůra
ČD Cargo Class 750, source: CEE Transport/Jan Sůra

Czech freight operator ČD Cargo cancelled tender for heavy diesel locomotives. The call requested up to five newly-built interoperable diesel locomotives for international service. The motion was published in tender electronic journal.

“We received just one offer, that was more expensive than we expected. Thus we cancelled the tender,” ČD Cargo Chairman of the Board Ivan Bednárik said.

ČD Cargo called for delivery of diesel locomotives with power output up to 2400 kW. The operator planned to use them on international freight trains to Germany and Austria via border stations Cheb/Schirnding, Domažlice/Furth im Wald and Šatov/Retz. The contract would have guaranteed delivery of 3, and option for 2 additional locomotives.

Heavy diesel locomotives are virtually not produced at the current market. New emission and TSI specifications forced the producers to completely redesign the locomotives and lower the emissions. “There is virtually no existing locomotive with given specification that is homologated for countries requested by ČD Cargo. When discussing with producers, better price would be achieved in case of more locomotives requested,” Bednárik said.

There is other option available. ČD Cargo currently finishes with tender for up to 10 diesel locomotives with power output at least 890 kW. Those will be in the similar category as current Class 742 that is intended for shunting and light freign trains. The operator could use those locomotives coupled in tuples as an alternative for heavy diesels. “We have evaluated the offers and now we are waiting for signing the contract,” ČD Cargo CEO Tomáš Tóth said.

The average age of locomotives varies between 30 and 40 years. ČD Cargo owns around 200 Class 742 locomotives, that are not reliable due to their age. They require higher operational costs due to fuel consumption and maintenance.

The company expects to improve reliability of diesel locomotive fleet. The plan includes procurement of up to 10 new mentioned light locomotives, complete modernization of 50 from current diesel locomotives, overhaul of selected other diesel types. “The new light diesel locomotives are ideal for ‘bark beetle calamity’ wood trains. ‘The goggles’* are too heavy and have too big power output,” Bednárik explains. We currently tender modernization of 50 goggles. “It will be a complete modernization. Everything but chassis will be modernized,” Bednárik concluded.

ČD Cargo plans to finance the new locomotives with leaseback. The investment is part of the mid-term overhaul and modernization plan of the company. There hasn’t been almost any investment into fleet in the last 10 years.

*) Class 753.7 is called the goggles

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