[locomotive] ETCS corridors in Czechia are coming – Orlen Unipetrol orders more Vectrons


From the beginning of 2025, exclusive operation on corridor lines under ETCS will start in the Czech Republic. This means that more ‘classic’ locomotives will be sidelined, and new ones will get more space. Orlen Unipetrol will be better prepared:

The Czech operator has decided to expand its fleet of modern locomotives with four more Siemens Vectron MS, which have already proven themselves in Unipetrol’s operation. Currently, there are seven  locomotives in its fleet, all with A01 package, ordered in two batches:

  • Batch 1: 3 ordered in 2017, 383 050-052, delivered between late 2017 – early 2018
  • Batch 2: 4 ordered in 2020, 383 056-059, delivered between 2020 and 2022

The third batch will be delivered by the end of 2025. Operation is envisaged mainly in the Czech Republic and optionally in neighbouring countries.

“This investment will allow us to strengthen our position in freight transport and ensure efficient connections to key terminals, particularly in Poland and Germany.” said Jaroslav Dvořák, Managing Director of ORLEN Unipetrol Doprava

ETCS corridors change the game

In addition to the Vectrons, Orlen still uses several older electric locomotives for its line operations without ETCS, and for which it is not economically feasible anymore to install it. Diesel locomotives (with ETCS or soon with ETCS) also form a significant part of the fleet. In 2023, Orlen Unipetrol Transport was (in size) the third freight operator  in the Czech Republic.

Existing Vectron fleet: Unido-green is gone

At the end of 2023, the green-white Unido design on the Vectrons disappeared. The company completed the rebranding of 383 051-053, resulting from the renaming of the company under the Orlen brand. The Vectrons of the first series were delivered in green and white, now all are red and white. 383 050 was the last oen to get the make-over and was released on 19.12.2023.

Unipetrol Doprava 383.050 during a short stop at the station Česká Třebová on the way to Most from Petrovice u Karviné – 21.11.2017 – Photo: Jirka Štembírek
383 056 of Unipetrol in its new livery, seen in Ostrov nad Ohří (CZ) 19.12.2020 Photo credit: Jakub Skoupy