An Agreement of Cooperation signed last week at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum by Gazprom, Russian Railways, and domestic machine builders Sinara Group and Transmashholding (TMH) signals a new phase of development for the wider use of natural gas to fuel locomotives in Russia. The agreement provides for the consolidation of companies’ efforts to introduce the use of natural gas as a motor fuel for railway rolling stock.
The document was signed by Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, Oleg Belozerov, President of Russian Railways, Dmitry Pumpyansky, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sinara Group, and Andrey Bokarev, President of TMH. The parties intend to develop and adopt a program of action to implement the task.
According to the Agreement, Gazprom will build modern gas-fueling infrastructure facilities in the locations approved by Russian Railways and will provide for the refueling of the railway rolling stock with liquefied natural gas. The Company will assist Russian Railways in testing gas-powered locomotives.
Russian Railways will see to the adaptation of production & technical facilities at railroad depots and will develop and implement a vocational training and re-training system for engineers, technicians, and locomotive crews working at gas-powered locomotives. In addition, Russian Railways will adopt a program for converting its corporate motor vehicles to natural gas.
In their turn, Sinara Group and TMH will provide for the certification, manufacturing, and maintenance of natural gas-fueled locomotives (mainline gas turbine locomotives for Sinara Group and gas turbine shunters for Transmashholding).
In its own press release Sinara Group advises a long-term contract is planned between the Sinara Group and Russian Railways for the supply of the main gas turbine locomotive GT1h intended for use on non-electrified sections of the public railways in Siberia and the Far North.
Sinara will reportedly build up to 40 gas GT1h mainline locomotives for use on non-electrified lines in Siberia and the far north of Russia. Sinara is currently certifying a GT1h test gas-turbine locomotive and has prepared a production site for series production. Having already undergone 30,000 kms of trials, the locomotive demonstrated capacity to haul a 9,000-tonne train for 700km without refuelling, revealing “excellent technical and economic opportunities”.
As the chairman of Sinara Group Board of Directors, Dmitry Pumpyansky says the agreement is another important step in the implementation of a comprehensive national program of implementation of NGV equipment and underlines the willingness of companies to continue to innovate to create a new class of vehicles, reducing the environmental burden on the environment and has high technical and economic indicators.
For its part, TMH has built an 880kW type TEM19 LNG-powered shunting locomotive, which is being tested by Sverdlovsk Railway. The TEM19 locomotive has a gas-piston engine developed by specialists of JSC VNIKTI together with Bryansk Engineering Plant (part of TMH). The company has calculated the gas-powered shunting locomotive TEM19 will significantly reduce energy costs by up to 20% per year and is already planning production.
In addition to rail, the Agreement expresses intention to develop a state program to implement NGV technology for road, rail, sea, river and air transport and special purpose machinery applications.
(Source: Gazprom, Sinara Group, TMH)