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Private equity infrastructure investor InfraVia Capital Partners has formed Nexrail Lease to supply low-emission locomotives for unelectrified routes. The new leasing company has placed a framework order for up to 50 Vossloh Locomotives DE18 Stage V SmartHybrid locos, and taken over 53 existing locos.
CRRC ZELC subsidiary Vossloh Locomotives is to supply Nexrail with up to 50 DE18 Stage V SmartHybrid locos, a four-axle mid-cab design for heavy shunting, main line and engineering operations.
These will have a 1 800 kW diesel engine meeting EU Stage V emission standards, along with a 144 kW traction battery providing up to 1 h of emission-free operation and fuel savings of 20% to 50%. The locos will be equipped with ETCS, and approved for use in Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Germany and parts of the Netherlands.
‘We have put a lot of energy and know-how into the development of the DE18’, said Vossloh Locomotives Executive Director Dr Bernd Hoppe on September 15. ‘We are proud to say that it is a fuel efficient locomotive without compromise in every respect, offering our customers maximum versatility in terms of applications, economic and ecological advantages, and thus investment security, both in its mature configuration and in the SmartHybrid version.’
Nexrail will be the exclusive provider of the SmartHybrid in Belgium. It will also take over 53 existing DE18, DE12, G6, and G1000 locos, which have an average age of under five years and are leased by customers in Germany, France, Italy, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Sustainable fuels and battery hybridsThe Executive Chairman of Nexrail is Neil Bennett, founder and former COO of Beacon Rail, with the team including CEO Luuk von Meijenfeldt, CCO Mark Remie and CTO Bernd Wagner.
The company is aiming to become a leading lessor of hybrid and dual-mode locomotives and bespoke rolling stock, and it is working with biofuel and hydrogen-derived e-fuel companies to be ‘at the forefront of the energy transition journey’ of non-electrified lines.
‘Nexrail is already developing plans to introduce sustainable fuels and battery hybrid solutions across all its markets’, said Bennett, and the transaction with Vossloh Locomotives ‘is the inaugural step of our own journey as a lessor’.
Von Meijenfeldt added that ‘we are sending a strong signal to the market that Nexrail is their partner for locomotives on non-electrified parts of the network all over Europe. For our Belgian clients, it is a particularly important message because our DE18 Stage V SmartHybrid is not just the first hybrid locomotive of its kind but also the first mid-cab locomotive introduction to Belgium in 20 years. You can expect more of such introductions from us all over Europe.’
Athanasios Zoulovits, Partner at InfraVia Capital Partners, said ‘the rail freight transport market is growing continuously. This positive tailwind is expected to gain further momentum driven by the virtuous role rail plays in reducing carbon intensity of supply chains.
‘The strong replacement needs of the aged European rail locomotive stock driven by regulatory requirements on emissions and signalling and the increasing demand of operators for innovative full-service leasing solutions provide further support to the investment thesis of the Nexrail team.’
This article first appeared on www.railwaygazette.com
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