Beacon has announced the signing of a landmark contract with Stadler for the provision of 30 bi-mode locomotives for the UK to be operated by GB Railfreight.

The 6-axle Class 99s can use existing 25kV overhead line where available combined with their high-power, efficient engine to complete the journey where electrification does not exist.

The introduction of these locomotives, with first in class environmental and performance benefits, underlines Beacon’s commitment to support rail freight in the UK, accelerating modal shift and builds on the strong environmental benefit of rail freight. After delivery of the Class 99’s Beacon will have over 500 locomotives in operation throughout Europe.

The Class 99 represents the next generation of locomotive and provides a solution for all freight flows throughout the UK. Able to reach speeds of up to 120 km/h, the Class 99 can run on 25 kV AC electrified lines with a power of 6MW. In addition, they feature a high-power, low-emission Stage V engine for operation on non-electrified lines. The Class 99 boasts a tractive effort of up to 500 kN. The internal environment of the Class 99 will provide optimal visibility, ergonomic desks and seating to promote safety and comfort for operators.

Beacon CEO, Adam Cunliffe said:

“Beacon is proud to introduce the Class 99 to the market; this is the result of a collaborative approach with our long-standing customer GB Railfreight and manufacturer Stadler. The Class 99 order underlines Beacon’s drive to support the UK’s journey towards a greener and more efficient rail network.

“We look forward to supporting the delivery programme for these locomotives ahead of introduction to service in 2025, providing further momentum to facilitate modal shift from road to rail.”

Inigo Parra, CEO of Stadler Valencia said:

“Stadler has extensive experience in the UK locomotive market.  Over recent years we have introduced with Beacon the Class 68 diesel-electric locomotive and the Class 88 bi-mode locomotive. We are very proud to go one-step further with the development of the Class 99, a versatile, high-performance locomotive that will provide environmentally friendly and cost-effective rail transport services.”

John Smith, CEO at GB Railfreight, said:

“Today’s announcement is an important milestone for GB Railfreight and the UK, and I want to thank the teams at Stadler and Beacon Rail for their collaboration in producing a train fit for a greener future. Rail freight is already a more sustainable alternative to moving goods by road, but the Class 99 will increase our industry’s levels of sustainability and propel us further towards meeting the UK government’s task to decarbonise the rail industry by 2040 in support of the UK’s net zero ambitions.”

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