[locomotive] Trial operation with DB Baureihe 249: first results [update]

On 29.03.2024, during the presentation of 249 001 in Halle, Siemens Mobility handed over the final paperwork for this new locomotive class to DB Cargo director Dr. Sigrid Nikutta. It heralded the start of the trial operation of these new diesel+electric locomotives, designed for light goods service/shunting service. DB Cargo has published an interim report on the trials:

This article was first published on 28.05.2024 and was updated on 07.06.2024 (rewritten with input from DB Cargo Deutschland)

DB Cargo Vectron Dual Mode light 249 001 in Retrodesign © Bastian Vogelvanger

Six locomotives (249 001-006) are being tested at the Zwickau and Kreuztal sites to check their performance under real conditions before series delivery. They will be put through their paces until the end of June. They must prove themselves with high trailer loads, steep gradients, and long distances. A particular focus is on switching between electric and diesel operations. The DB Cargo project team supervises, documents, and analyses the operations.

After two months of trial operation, the team has drawn some initial conclusions: The dual-power locomotives can be used in the planned shifts and perform as expected, even in challenging weather conditions. Notably, the time savings on routes previously operated with diesel shunting locomotives under overhead lines are considerable. Small adjustments have already been identified during the test runs; Manufacturer Siemens is working on optimising them.

Once the trials are completed, series delivery will start in late summer 2024. By the end of the year, 30 dual-power locomotives should be in operation, and all 146 machines will be delivered by 2027.

In the picture: Probebetieb:

In May, locomotives 249 001, 004, and 005 could be seen with local freighters between Halle and Zwickau, while 249 002 and 003 were active in the mid-west of Germany, around Siegen and in the Westerwald.

DB Cargo 249 001 with military train from Pockau Lengenfeld in the direction of Chemnitz, taken on 23.05.24 in Hetzdorf © Alexander Richter

Series production

Anticipating a positive outcome of the trails, series production in Munich has already commenced; 248 007, 008 and 010 have been reported. Below, you see 008 during a test run in May:

DB Cargo 249 008 on 15.05.2024 © Klaus Seidl

Siemens is now using a closed series of 100 numbers for the Vectron Dual Mode Light locomotives (= Vectron type H01-1a) for DB Cargo Deutschland.

249 001 = Z 001 = Siemens 23059
249 002 = Z 002 = Siemens 23060
249 003 = Z 003 = Siemens 23061
249 004 = Z 004 = Siemens 23062
249 005 = Z 005 = Siemens 23063
249 006 = Z 006 = Siemens 23064
249 007 = Z 007 = Siemens 23065
249 008 = Z 008 = Siemens 23066