March 29, 2019. The project jointly implemented by the group of companies “Latvijasdzelzceļš” and the company LLC (SIA) “DiGAS” – dual-drive shunting locomotive – has become the object of interest of one of the largest natural gas companies in the European Union, French company GRDF, as well as the city of Lille administration, which has welcomed the perspective of the project in the future. Implementation of the dual-drive locomotive project commenced two years ago, and, from the end of the last summer, the diesel and gas driven shunting locomotive ČME3 has been tested in action to analyze its economic benefits and environmental impact.

France is planning to ban diesel-driven vehicles by 2025, therefore, alternative and speedy solutions already should be sought, Frank Dersin, Hauts-de France Regional Vice-President for Transport, stressed during the meeting. Along with the electrification, use of natural gas is one of such solutions, since this technology may be implemented in comparatively short period, furthermore, no large investments are required.

The project has not been completed yet – testing of locomotive is still in progress, but it is already clear that this is a perspective project for access roads, where electrification is not possible, points out Edvīns Bērziņš, President of LDz, adding that implementation of the project is not complicated, furthermore, it will pay off in 3–4 years and be beneficial both for the environment and public health.

According to the initial testing results and calculations by the company “DiGAS”, use of dual-drive locomotive will result in annual financial savings in the amount of 31,800 euro per each locomotive, excluding gas equipment costs. Whereas, while the current annual impact of each diesel locomotive on public health is 112,000 euro, financial impact of operation of dual-drive locomotive is nearly half of that.