Denmark's first "digital" locomotive goes to Hirtshals


Nordjyske Jernbaner has been working at full throttle to complete Denmark's first "digital" shunting locomotive. The locomotive, which was completed on 26 June and will be final approved by the end of November, will be used for relocation of infrastructure but can also be used as pilot for freight trains to and from Hirtshals.

Since the new digital signal system ERTMS (European Railway Traffic Management System) was introduced on the section between Lindholm and Frederikshavn in late 2018, it has not been possible for "analogue" trains to travel the route, nor has it been possible for Nordjyske Jernbaner to transfer infrastructure between the railway line between Skagen and Frederikshavn and the railway line between Hjørring and Hirtshals.


The new, digital control unit of the locomotive

- Thanks to the experience we gained during the digitisation of our passenger trains, the entire digitisation process around the locomotive has gone according to plan. We can thus look back on a satisfactory process which was completed on time and with the desired result, says Morten Muff Jensen, Technical manager at Nordjyske Jernbaner.

With a "digital" shunting locomotive, Nordjyske Jernbaner now has the opportunity to transfer their own infrastructure between Hirtshals and Skagen, and at the same time they can also help rail freight operators with "analogue" trains. An initiative that can benefit both rail freight operators and Northern Jutland.

- In connection with our project, we have received a great deal of attention from several parties - including from the North Denmark Region who wishes to have more freight transported by rail. We are therefore happy and proud that we can contribute to transferring freight and thus heavy traffic away from the roads and onto the railway instead, says Managing director at Nordjyske Jernbaner Peter Hvilshøj.

The last details had to be in place before the upcoming test period of the locomotive.

The actual installation of the digital components was completed on Friday, 26 June. Now, the locomotive will undergo a test period that peaks on 12 August with brake tests, among other things. Afterwards, the final approval process will be started at the Danish Ministry of Transport which is expected to be completed in November. To make the best use of the waiting time, the locomotive will be painted in Nordjyske Jernbaner's blue colour during the intervening period, so that it is ready for commissioning as soon as the approval is granted.

The "digital" locomotive is a shunting locomotive, model Z70 from 1964. In the 1990s, the locomotive was renovated, during which it, among other things, got a new engine - and now, the locomotive is further modernised through a digitalisation.


The "heart" of the locomotive - here the driver can monitor all data communication between the signal system and the trains