Eurotunnel has tested the Siemens Vectron locomotive to prove its compatibility with the systems and safety rules in the Channel Tunnel, to boost cross channel rail freight.
This is part of Eurotunnel’s strategy to develop “normal” rail freight between the UK and continental Europe, without relying on Class 92 locomotives.
For the test, the Vectron loco, in standard configuration and hauling wagons with a total weight of 1,350 tonnes, entered the Tunnel via the French portal at 22:42 and completed a series of traction, braking and pantograph tests.
The Vectron is equipped with four axles, instead of the six on the Class 92, which is currently used in the Tunnel. It exited at Folkestone before setting back to France for a second phase of tests, which was completed without difficulty around 06:00 am.
Michel Boudoussier, deputy chief executive of Eurotunnel, said: “The approval of new rolling stock is the vital counterpart to the open access model put in place by Eurotunnel. I am delighted that our cooperation with Siemens will open the way to new international rail freight flows, which will in turn, significantly reduce C0² emissions.”