First significant modernization of a diesel locomotive in Bulgaria is carried out in our plant. We kept the best of the original V60 locomotive, but replaced the outdated units with new ones and built a completely new, better and more comfortable cabin. Of course, the most significant part of the overhaul is the replacement of the engine with the latest Caterpillar C18 Stage V diesel engine, (just introduced this year).
The lack of spare parts for these locomotives and the difficulties in maintaining and repairing them have been a fact for years. In Germany, parts for the 12KVD engine have not been manufactured for a long time, and parts for other units are also not available. Locomotives suffer from their poorly designed cooling system, poor air compressor flow, outdated electrical installation and the use of DC motors.
In Germany, more than 2000 units of this type have been manufactured and distributed worldwide (even to Egypt and China), and in Bulgaria almost 300 locomotives have been delivered. Our factory has always been a leader in the repair and maintenance of the V60 in Bulgaria, but we can see that this locomotive series, in its kind, has no future.
To give new life to locomotives, we have undertaken the largest modernization ever made in Europe. We installed the latest and environmentally friendly diesel engine, which has similar parameters to the original 12KVD, mounted a double-flow helical air compressor, replaced the cooling system with a new one and built a new air-conditioned cabin with improved observability. However, we have kept the proven over the years undercarriage and transmission. We find them particularly suitable for shunting, and the level of the locomotive is unsurpassed in the compromised quality of the industrial branches in our country.
We have achieved exceptional energy efficiency with diesel fuel consumption of only 2 litters / hour (compared to 16 litters of the original locomotive). This will help the shunting operators to improve their service and the engine-drivers will now be able to work in a more comfortable, spacious and air-conditioned cabin. Improved observability and noise and vibration levels will reduce the pressure on the shunting staff.
We paid special attention to ecology and cleanliness. Our V60 has become not only the most environmentally friendly diesel locomotive in Europe, but also a benchmark for clean manoeuvrability. The Stage V standard will become mandatory for locomotive manufacturers in Europe in just a few years, but we have invested preventively in this more advanced and expensive technology. The contrast with the original 52 Series locomotive, with its visible exhaust gases and oil sprays, is striking.
As a locomotive plant, we are aware of our responsibility to our customers operating the 52 Series locomotives. There is already an alternative for them. As a shunting operator, we feel responsible for a better industrial atmosphere and a better working environment for our engine-drivers. We hope that other railway operators will join us.
Again, we are pioneers not only in Bulgaria but throughout Europe... We have a big goal. Our mission is to modernize the railway shunting in Bulgaria. We do this with our battery-operated machines, we continue with the modernization of the most massive shunting locomotive. We want last-mile operations to be clean, economical and safe.