Estonia’s Operail launches its first LNG locomotive

Estonia’s Operail has launched its first LNG-powered freight locomotive.

The country’s freight operator said in a statement it has launched the locomotive, first in the Baltics and the neighboring region, last week.

To remind, Operail said in February the project had been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The firm previously planned to complete the locomotive last year.

The project included converting one of Operail’s US-built General Electric C36 diesel-powered locomotives to dual-fuel LNG propulsion. It took five months to complete the conversion at Operail’s Tapa depot, including adding LNG tanks.

Operail previously said it would invest about 250,000 euros ($296,500) in this pilot project.

The LNG-powered locomotive should start operating for freight transportation in autumn 2021, according to the firm.

“The LNG freight locomotive is one of our focus projects in making rail transport, which is already environment-friendly, even more sustainable,” Raul Toomsalu, chairman of Operail’s board, said.

“We hope to see the expected positive result in terms of reduced emissions after the performance of the necessary tests and analyses, and we are planning to gradually transfer our other heavy freight locomotives to LNG as well,” he said.

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