Electric shunters enhance DB Schenker Rail UK’s environmental credentials

Electric shunters enhance DB Schenker Rail UK’s environmental credentials

DB Schenker Rail UK has become the UK’s first rail freight operator to introduce electric shunting units.  It is anticipated that the Zephir 1800e CRAB machines will reduce CO2 emissions by 649 tonnes each year.

Each Zephir 1800e CRAB machine has the capability to pull or push up to 400 tonnes with a maximum drawbar pull of 20 KN in the dry and 16KN in the wet – in dry conditions the unit can move up to three Class 66 locomotives at a time.

As part of the rail freight operator’s continuing environmental improvement programme, the battery operated units are being introduced at its maintenance depots at Crewe and Toton, where almost 14,000 locomotive moves are undertaken each year.

Until recently all DB Schenker Rail UK depots used diesel shunting locomotives to move the wagons and locomotives around the depots for maintenance.  However, following the decommissioning of the majority of its Class 08 shunting fleet, main line locomotives have undertaken shunting work.

Besides environmental improvements, the electric shunters provide safety benefits including increased visibility and less human interaction in coupling operations.  Decreasing prolonged exposure to noise within the depot and reducing exhaust emissions also ensures a better working environment for employees.

Andrew Byrne, Head of Maintenance and Infrastructure for DB Schenker Rail UK, said: Rail freight is already considered to be a more environmentally friendly mode of transport than road, but we still actively seek ways to reduce the organisation’s environmental footprint even further.

“We look forward to seeing the long-term benefits that the electric shunters will provide and are proud to be the first rail freight operator in the UK to introduce them.”