Europe’s first CNG shunter locomotive attracts international attention


As the year draws to an end and all are looking towards the new decade, the DiGas team would like to look back at the main happening in the year 2019 – the successful completion of piloting and extensive testing the first CNG shunter locomotive in Europe. 

Together with Latvian national railway Latvijas Dzelzceļš (LDz), DiGas launched the pilot project two years ago and began the testing of the dual-fuel shunter locomotive ChME-3 in the summer of 2018. While not without its challenges, overall, the pilot project can be deemed successful since the technical, economic, operational, and ecological feasibility of the dual-fuel technology was confirmed. This pilot project displayed that natural gas is the single best readily available solution for increasing the economic efficiency and ecological footprint of the railway industry. We would also like to emphasize that during the operational testing period, the prototype CNG shunter locomotive managed to attract international attention and resulted in multiple visits by a number of international companies and organizations. 

We would like to especially thank Latvijas Dzelzceļš for being a major part of this bold step towards making the railway transportation greener and for the close support within the last 2 years. Additionally, it is important to thank Alexela Oil AS (Estonia), DTEK (Ukraine), Ganser CRS AG (Switzerland), Gaz Réseau Distribution France (France), Representatives of the Municipality of Lille (France), Representatives of Hauts-de-France Region (France), Arterail (France), Operail AS (Estonia), Enefit Kaevandused AS (Estonia), ATC Group (Russia), International Science Education Center “Развитие” (Russia), Vilniaus Lokomotyvu Remonto Depas (Lithuania) for their expressed interest in DiGas dual-fuel system for railway applications and the pilot of CNG shunter locomotive ChME-3. Follow us in the year 2020 as we are launching several other pilot projects where different shunter and mainline locomotives will be equipped with DiGas dual-fuel system to operate on LNG and spread the benefits of natural gas further.   

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 784620.