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European Railroad Discussion > Sweden: Grim Outlook for Green Cargo TRAXXes

Date: 03/04/13 06:12
Sweden: Grim Outlook for Green Cargo TRAXXes
Author: McKey

According to latest Swedish Tåg (Train) magazine the future of Green Cargo class Re TRAXXes looks very brim.

Green Cargo is by far the largest Swedish rail freight operator, owned by the Swedish state. It maintains a fleet of several hundred electric Rc/Rd/Rm locomotives for its use. As a part of fleet modernization 16 TRAXX F140 AC2 locomotives were bought a few years ago. With very difficult beginning these are now said to have finally gotten rid of all kinds of bigger and smaller malfunctions (due to Northern weather and harsh conditions). However the operator is in the process of simplifying its fleet of too many locomotive types. As reported before the Green Cargo class Ma is sadly gone now, and it looks like the class Re TRAXXes are next to follow.

The fleet of the Green Cargo TRAXXes were originally bought for heavy slab trains between Luleå in the North (the Malmbana ore is partly refined there to huge iron slabs) and Borlänge in the Middle Sweden. The idea was to save on the consumption of energy, since the Re (like any modern European electric locomotive) can feed the electricity back to networks unlike the older types Rc / Rm / Rd. One important factor here is the price of the iron ore which has plummeted between 2011 and 2012 and is only now recovering strongly. Due to this the Northland Resources which started mining in the Swedish and Finnish north starting this year is said to need less locomotion for its shipments than estimated earlier. This in turn affects the Green Cargo which is the operator for the Northland Resources ore shipments from Pitkäjärvi (right next to Svappavaara operations of LKAB/MTAB) to Narvik. The shipments are there, only starting much slower than estimated.

We know that Green Cargo is very pleased with the Bombardier rebuilt Rd2 electric locomotives (built out of Rc2 with Rc3 to follow) so this will be the number one type for future. It might be other R starting types will follow later. As TRAXXes have a steady aftermarket unlike Rcs and Green Cargo sees no use for the size of fleet it today owns and operates, the class Re is now endangered species in Sweden.

I included three pictures of Res stabled at Luleå below. Please notice the irons on the top of the units to drop the icicles in tunnels!

If you are interested in types from Rc1 to Rc6 + Rm, here is also a link to Swedish Rc+Rd theme page: http://www.4rail.net/reference_sweden_locos_el_rcrd.php

Date: 03/04/13 06:16
Re: Sweden: Grim Outlook for Green Cargo TRAXXes
Author: McKey

And here is the latest picture of the rebuilt Green Cargo Rd2 locomotive waiting for its next assignment in Gävle, north of Stockholm plus another one by Gerry of the Rd2 hauling a freight in Lund, Southern Sweden.

Date: 03/04/13 12:09
Re: Sweden: Grim Outlook for Green Cargo TRAXXes
Author: McKey

But, as usual there is one possible use where the Green Cargo already runs partly their own TRAXX F140 AC2 motives: DB Schenker Scandinavia fleet running between Sweden and Germany through Denmark. This might swallow some of the fleet come the end of recession.

I included one picture of the DB Schenker Scandinavia fleet class 185 locomotive in Odense, Denmark last week.

And I'm sure HectorRail would be locomotive hungry and willing to lease some of the GC TRAXXes with a right price. As would the "start up" Rush Rail. And the Blue Train (I hope to have pictures of it sometime this year to share here) are said to be looking for more motive power to help one TRAXX F140 they already have.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/04/13 12:15 by McKey.

Date: 03/04/13 23:28
Re: Sweden: Grim Outlook for Green Cargo TRAXXes
Author: McKey

Again, thinking the news forward myself, the Green Cargo has had program of making their services more effective last two years. For example earlier in Malmö the Southern freight lost connection by one hour and transported goods had to wait for 23 hours for the next hop. The timetables were adjusted so that the freight arrives just in time for the connection. A lot of similar adjustments were made. I think this increased efficiency and this timely service might also have led to decreased need of road locomotives.

So the only surprise is that the newest locomotives are now going. And even then if you look at what the TRAXX F140 AC2 has to offer for the operator it lacks one crucial feature that would had been a killer app here: AC2 model is just another modern electric locomotive...lacking small diesel generator which would had made all the difference in Green Cargo's use, since GC is trying to reduce the number of smaller localized switcher engines. Newer Bombardier TRAXX3 and Siemens Mobility Vectron hybrid versions can easily do the necessary local switching making the local switchers, which just are parked there 90% of the time redundant. So expect to see this kind of change next. And next news of retiring the fleet of Green Cargo's Rc1 locos which are the next oldest locos in the fleet.

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