New locomotive completed in Tapa after 90-year pause

Added on 03.10.2018

AS Operail presented a modernised C30-M locomotive in Tapa depot, the first locomotive built in Estonia in 86 years.

International railway logistics and transport company Operail introduced a new locomotive, modernised in collaboration with the Czech company CZ Loko. The C30-M is designed for shunting; however, it is equally suitable for freight transport. “When modernising the locomotive, we were initially guided by our need for a 6-axle shunter that would also be suitable for local transporting,” said Raul Toomsalu, Chairman of the Board of AS Operail. 

The locomotive was built during 2016 and 2017 in the Tapa depot. The construction was followed by a testing period, and the C30-M is now ready for everyday use on the Estonian railway as well as for sale on foreign markets. 

“In today’s economy and transit situation, we need to create additional value  to our existing services. We will continue developing the locomotives construction business in Tapa Depot in the nearest future. says the head of Operail, adding that two other locomotives are currently being modernised and a contract for the production of four additional locomotives is about to be signed. 

“While in the past we have mainly focused on freight transport, then in the last year we have steadily developed other business directions, as a result of which we estimate that we will end this year by turning a profit. In addition to freight transport, our economic results are also greatly affected by wagon rental and the repair and modernisation of the rolling stock,” added Toomsalu.

The Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kadri Simson said that she is happy that the state-owned Operail has adapted to the evolving market and found new challenges in both modernizing locomotives and renting wagons. “Operail is an important employer in Tapa and hopefully the new locomotive named today is the first of many,” said Simson. 

The last time a locomotive converted in Estonia was in 1940 in the metal works and engineering company of Franz Krull. Although local companies have later built railcars from passenger train wagons that moved from Tallinn to Tartu and Narva, it has been 86 years since the last locomotive was constructed. “We are very proud of the work of our Tapa unit, and I am glad that the excellent work done in Operail will also be seen by our foreign clients – we have already signed a cooperation agreement,” said Toomsalu. Operail uses the locomotive in Estonia in various stations for shunting, and for container transport between Muuga and Koidula border crossing point.

During its showcase event, the locomotive was also ceremonially named. The new locomotive received the dignified name Adam, which is a homage to Adam Zmijevski, a Tapa stationmaster who worked on the Estonian railway during 1909–1918. “We honour the tradition of giving new names to locomotives, and we named our first locomotive Adam, after the hardworking and diligent Tapa station master,” Toomsalu explained the origin of the locomotive’s name. 

Operail’s C30-M is a new, safe and modern modular locomotive that is more environmentally friendly than the previous ones. The locomotive was assembled using the frame and chassis of the C30-7A locomotive, manufactured by the international company General Electric, and the modules are designed by CZ Loko, a large manufacturer in Europe. The locomotive is certified in the European Union. The 6-axle locomotive weighs 138 tonnes with an axle load of 23 tonnes, and it uses AC/DC power transmission. The locomotive is equipped with the Caterpillar 3512C HD diesel engine with a power output of 1,550 kW (2,079 hp), and its maximum speed is 100 km per hour. The maximum allowed speed for freight trains in Estonia is 80 km per hour.