Gas turbine carrier makes series of experimental trips with heavy trains along Surgut
– Limbey – Korotchaevo section
In July 2018, Russia’s first serially manufactured gas turbine locomotive,
the GT1h-002, made two experimental trips with freight trains of increased weight
and length on the Surgut – Limbey – Korotchaevo section at Sverdlovsk
In the course of the experiment, it was necessary to confirm the correct calculation
for the siting of the servicing depots and filling stations for gas engine locomotives
in the north of the Urals Federal District and in addition to determine the critical
(maximum) mass of freight trains for the GT1h series gas turbine locomotives at the
The GT1h-002, an improved version of the GT1h-001, is officially included in the
locomotive fleet of Sverdlovsk Railways and is in permanent use to haul trains, including
formations with increased weights and lengths, on the Yegorshino – Alapaevsk
– Serov – Sortirovochny section.
In addition, this innovative locomotive is taking part in tests aimed at achieving
a gradual implementation of the "Agreement on the Use of Natural Gas as a Motor Fuel
concluded by Russian Railways, PJSC Gazprom and Railway Equipment Manufacturers."
On July 21-25 2018, during the first experimental trip on the 636 km Surgut
– Limbey – Korotchaevo section, it became possible to haul trains
weighing up to 7,000 tons along this section using GT1h type locomotives without refuelling.
Within the framework of the second experiment, which was carried out on 29-30 July,
a gas turbine trail proceeded along the 532-km Limbey – Surgut section carrying
freight weighing more than 9,000 tons. The train was formed on the access railways
of the Purovsky Condensate Processing Plant. The trip confirmed the possibility of
operating gas engine locomotives with trains of 9,000 tons on the Limbay – Surgut
section without refuelling.
Fuel for both experimental trips was more than sufficient by quite a margin, which
also confirms that the preliminary calculations for the locations of locomotive refuelling
points running on liquefied natural gas were correct. The refuelling points are slated
for Voinovka, Tobolsk and Surgut stations, but so far the only such complex in operation
is near Yekaterinburg.
On 15 February 2018, Russian Railways, Gazprom, the Sinara Group and Transmashholding
signed a programme of joint measures to implement the "Agreement on Cooperation between
the Companies on the Use of Natural Gas as a Motor Fuel."
The purpose of the joint activities is to expand the geographical range of locomotive
operations for engines running on liquefied natural gas on non-electrified sections
of Sverdlovsk Railways with an increased weight of freight trains to 9,000 tons.
The parties will work together to develop and improve the design of gas engine
locomotives, develop the infrastructure for supplying liquefied natural gas to gas-powered
locomotives, develop the infrastructure for servicing locomotives and prepare a regulatory
and legal framework.
In accordance with the programme, by 2023 Russian Railways plans to increase the
fleet of gas-fuelled main line gas turbine locomotives and shunting gas turbine engines
operating on liquefied natural gas (LNG) from a total of three now to 22 units.
With regard to refuelling gas turbine locomotives, Gazprom intends to build two
low-tonnage LNG production complexes in the cities of Tobolsk and Surgut, as well
as service depot for gas engine locomotives at Voinovka and Surgut stations.
In 2018, PJSC NOVATEK confirmed its willingness to participate in the gasification
programme of the Voinovka – Surgut – Limbay section. Under consideration
in particular is the possibility of constructing an LNG production facility at the
Purovsky Condensate Processing Plant, as well as a service depot for gas engine locomotives
at the Zavodskaya railway station, which is adjacent to Limbay station on Sverdlovsk
Within the framework of the pilot phase between 2013 and 2019, gas turbine locomotives
are being operated at the 302-km Yegorshino-Serov-Sortirovochnyi section with trains
of increased weight and length and a TEM19 shunting gas turbine at Yegorshino station.
During the first stage from 2020 to 2022, it is planned to organise trains with
a weight of up to 9,000 tons on the 222-km Voinovka – Tobolsk section, as well
as to operate shunting gas-turbine locomotives at Yegorshino, Voinovka and Tobolsk
From 2023 to 2025, the range of driving trains with a weight of up to 9,000 tons
with gas engine locomotives will be extended to 1,097 km (Yegorshino-Serov-Sortirovochnyi
and Voinovka-Tobolsk-Surgut). Gas turbine shunting locomotives will serve Surgut station.
In the future, it will be possible to expand the range of operations of locomotives
with gas engines to Limbey station, while after the construction of the Northern Latitudinal
Railway, which will connect the Sverdlovsk and Northern railways, the range will increase
yet further to 5,500 km.
The main advantage of gas turbine locomotives compared to other types of locomotives
is their ability to develop considerable power with relatively small dimensions and
weight. Even at its full design load, the GT1h can reach speeds of up to 100 kph.
Gas turbine locomotives operate on liquefied natural gas (LNG), a fuel which meets
the highest environmental standards. The exhaust emissions of the gas turbine engine
comply with the European Euro-5 ecological standard, while the level of external noise
is under the current sanitary standards of the Russian Federation.