On 29 April 2016 BLS Cargo in Spiez received the first two of 15 new multi-system locomotives to operate between the Netherlands and Italy. The locomotives will undergo intensive testing over the coming weeks. By the beginning of 2018, they will be followed by a further 13 locomotives.
At the end of March 2015, BLS Cargo ordered 15 multi-system locomotives of type Vectron MS from Siemens. The first two locomotives were built in less than 13 months at the Siemens locomotive factory in Munich and were delivered on schedule to BLS Cargo, where they will be known as the Re 475.
«We are happy that we have been able to acquire the new locomotives in such a short time» said Dirk Stahl, CEO of BLS Cargo, in his address during the presentation of the locomotives to the media and clients. «Fitted out for international use, the Re 475s are the ideal addition to our fleet of locomotives and will bring us even closer to our clients along the Rotterdam – Genoa corridor».
«The BLS Cargo contract is very important to us in a number of ways», says Christian Schlegel, Head of Sales & Projects Europe at Siemens AG. «We are more than happy to be supplying BLS Cargo with locomotives for the first time. Moreover, these will be the first Vectron locomotives to be kitted out for all five countries along the North – South corridor from Holland through to Italy.»
Stronger market position
With these new locomotives, BLS Cargo will significantly enhance and develop its outstanding position with regard to innovative production concepts along the freight corridor. DACHINL multi-system locomotives are fitted with the necessary traction and train safety systems to enable them to travel through Germany (D), Austria (A), Switzerland (CH), Italy (I) and Holland (NL). The Re 475s will satisfy the increased requirements arising from anticipated growth on the freight corridor, as well as replacing older existing locomotives. During the course of the year, another three Re 475s will follow. The second and third tranches are planned for 2017 and 2018. This phased project will close up the shortfalls arising in the demand for locomotives ideally.
Intensive testing phase
The locomotives were tested for the first time in the Munich factory in April. From May, BLS Cargo and Siemens will test the locomotives more intensively in Spiez and on the Lötschberg axis, and will finalise the operating documentation. The subsequent handover of the locomotives is planned for the end of June, once licences for Switzerland, Germany and Austria have been obtained and all tests passed. They can then be used for traffic from Basel and on the Lötschberg axis.
Licences for Italy and Holland are currently in progress so that BLS Cargo will be able to make full use of the Re 475s from the middle of 2017 on the Rotterdam – Genoa corridor.
About BLS Cargo
BLS Cargo is the corridor haulage provider on the central north-south axis through Swit-zerland. We operate from Switzerland and, together with our capable partners, are able to offer you complete service packages between the North Sea and the Mediterranean. Block trains in unaccompanied combined transport, conventional wagonload services, as well as the rolling highway constitute our key service. Rail haulage services within Switzerland as well as in import and export transport make up a further mainstay of our operations. Working together with our international partners, we deploy our modern multi-system locomotives across national borders. BLS Cargo's shareholders are BLS AG (97%) and IMT AG (Ambrogio Group; 3%).
BLS Cargo’s market share in Swiss transit rail traffic is currently about 30%. This means that BLS Cargo is a key player on the Swiss rail transport scene, making a major contribution to meeting national targets for shifting freight traffic from road to rail.