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New electric locomotives serving freight traffic

VR Group’s Sr3 electric locomotives make it possible to apply new, efficient operating models in freight traffic. The new workhorse with its versatile features has now been operated in, for instance, pulp transport from Metsä Group’s bioproduct mill in Äänekoski to Vuosaari Harbour.

“We have succeeded in operating the new Sr3 locomotives, also known as Vectrons, in commercial traffic according to the planned timetable. The first ten electric locomotives were transferred from Siemens to VR Group in May–June. They have undergone an extensive and thorough testing programme,” says Petri Auno, Senior Vice President, Train Operations at VR Group.

The Sr3 electric locomotive is designed for Finnish conditions and the needs of Finnish industry. It is well suited for both heavy freight traffic and fast passenger traffic. The efficient workhorse can tow freight trains that are larger than before, more than 2,000 tonnes. From the outset, the diverse features of the locomotive have been utilised in new kinds of transport solutions.

Carrying out various tasks with a single locomotive

In addition to an electric motor, the new Sr3 locomotive also has two diesel engine units which the locomotive can use when running on short non-electrified track sections and harbour and industrial sidings. Furthermore, the locomotive has radio control equipment that makes it possible for the driver to move the locomotive from the outside and work independently without other shunting yard personnel.

“The versatile features of the locomotive make new and competitive logistics solutions possible. The entire transport chain can be carried out with a single locomotive from start to finish as separate diesel locomotives are not needed. The elimination of intermediary phases saves time. This is visible to the customer as logistic efficiency,” notes Tero Kosonen, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Rail Logistics at VR Transpoint.

More efficient pulp transport

The advanced features of the new Sr3 locomotives are utilised when transporting pulp from Metsä Group’s bioproduct mill in Äänekoski to Vuosaari. Together with the customer and partners, VR Transpoint has created a new and efficient logistics package that combines production, transport and port operations into a seamless whole. The rotation of the rolling stock is perfectly fine-tuned.

“With 100 per cent production volumes, the bioproduct mill transports 800,000 tonnes of pulp by rail to Vuosaari Harbour and from there to export. It is crucial that the logistics chain operates efficiently and seamlessly,” says Jari Voutilainen SVP, Logistics at Metsä Group.

Increasing the share of electrically driven traffic

VR Group aims to improve the energy-efficiency of both passenger and freight traffic by 20 per cent by 2020. In rail logistics, a key method of improving energy-efficiency is to increase the share of electrically driven traffic. The new Sr3 electric locomotives support this objective. When electric locomotives are used instead of diesel locomotives, the harmful effects of emissions and noise also decrease. More than 76 per cent of freight trains already run on electricity that is generated using renewable hydropower.

VR Group has ordered a total of 80 new, efficient and energy-conserving locomotives from Siemens. The value of the transaction is more than 300 million euros. This locomotive procurement transaction is part of a series of major rolling stock investments by VR Group. The batch production of the locomotives will begin in summer 2018 and the full batch will be delivered by 2026.