Updated: Feb 26, 2021
A trial using a Class 66 diesel locomotive powered by Hydro-treated Vegetable Oil (HVO) and hauling a long-welded steel track train from Scunthorpe to Eastleigh in December found the locomotive lost only 5% power, with journey times unaffected, DB Cargo UK has confirmed. This trial, featuring 66150, was the first to be carried out on the main line. A load bank trial using a ‘60’ is due to take place, followed by a main line trial.
A previous trial using a Class 67 on the Toton load bank had taken place in December. The Class 67 had been chosen because it has the same engine as those fitted to the core ‘66’ fleet.
Currently Britain’s largest rail freight operator uses around 42 million tonnes of red diesel per year to power its Class 60, ‘66’ and ‘67’ fleets. No modifications are needed to enable a locomotive to be powered by HVO, and the two fuels can be mixed. A reduction in emissions of around 90% are expected.
DBC Senior Mechanical Engineer Paul Wilton highlighted that a key benefit for HVO is that it’s available now and doesn’t need to pass through approval processes, compared with other alternative powers.