The world's most modern terminal locomotive pulls heavier loads in Kiruna

When LKAB increases load weights for its ore trains by about 60 per cent, the upshot is that more powerful locomotives are needed at the terminals.

The T46 locomotives currently used for terminal shunting and loading and unloading of ore and additives do not meet the new requirements. Instead of buying new, however, Euromaint Rail has been entrusted to carry out a complete refurbishment.

The T46s were specially built for LKAB by Nohab in 1973 and 1974. T46s are known for having a particularly low and narrow profile for use in mines. Euromaint Rail renovated the locomotives 17 years ago, but that isn't possible this time around. The entire concept must be changed in line with the ore trains being extended from 52 to 68 carriages and the load weights increasing from 5,200 to 8,200 tons. As a result, terminal locomotives with improved performance are needed.

"We considered buying brand new locomotives," explains Thomas Nordmark, a project manager at LKAB, "but it would be considerably more expensive, and there are no locomotives on the market that meet our specific needs."

The T46 before the refurbishment (Photographer: Ulf L Eriksson)

The T46 after the refurbishment (Photographer: Christoph Domay)

Everything except the T46's frame and bogie was removed and a new, much more efficient drive train was installed. The new motor is a modern diesel motor with a high-pressure injection system and increased performance. Compared with the old motor, energy consumption should be reduced by up to 25 per cent, and emissions by a full 70 per cent. For that reason, the locomotive has been christened T46 GPC, with GPC standing for Green Power Concept.

Better working environment for drivers 

The working environment has also been considerably improved. The mid-cab on the old locomotive has been replaced with two new cabs, one at either end, with a modern control system, considerably better visibility, and improved driver comfort and ergonomics.

Euromaint Rail has only used well-tested components from leading quality suppliers for the refurbishment. The T46 must function in extreme conditions in every way: pulling huge loads in a tough mining environment and hard climate.

"For this project, we have drawn on all our varied experience of components and assembly solutions capable of coping with -40 °C, ore dust and 24-hour operation. This cooperation has been characterised by great openness, and good solutions have been replaced with even better solutions that will be reliable and easy to maintain," says Thomas Nordmark.

Trygve Engelbert, Technical Director at Euromaint Rail, is very pleased with the partnership with LKAB:

"We are proud to be able to supply services to a very demanding customer, working with LKAB to build the world's most modern terminal locomotive. It is very exciting and exhilarating to be able to develop, what is in principle, a brand new locomotive."


Fredrik Westerberg