TE33A-0131, KTZ, photographed between Aynabulak and Kopr, Kazakhstan, on July 19, 2012. Photo by David Gubler (source: www.commons.wikimedia.org).
Undoubtedly one of the most ‘exotic’ locomotives ever to be used in Poland – albeit only for tests – is type TE33A (TЭ33A in original script) heavy freighter from Kazakhstan. It belongs to the well-known ‘Evolution’ family, developed by GE Transportation Systems, and was designated type ES44ACi (the sole version for the 1524 mm gauge). This locomotive was chosen by national railways of Kazakhstan KTZ (Kazakhstan Temir Zholy) as a replacement for ex-Soviet heavy diesel freighters, mainly two-section type 2TE10, and 310 examples were ordered. First ten were built at the GE plant at Erie, Pennsylvania. The rest were to be assembled at the Lokomotiv Kurastyru Zauyty plant (a KTZ subsidiary), which opened in July 2009 in Astana (now Nur-Sultan). Production continues – according to Russian sources, 292 examples were delivered until late 2019s. TE33AC is a dual-control variant, of which 47 examples were built, including thirty for Ukraine from the Erie plant. TEP33A is a passenger version with maximum speed of 160 km/h; KTZ ordered 110 examples, of which seventeen have already been delivered. Further orders came from other countries:
- Azerbaijan (ten);
- Kyrgyzstan (five);
- Moldova (twelve, to be assembled from components built in the USA);
- Mongolia (one example from the USA, further orders expected to follow);
- Tajikistan (six);
- Turkmenistan (one).
One locomotive of this type, with an out-of-sequence number TE33A-9999, was used for demonstrations and tests. Between May 5 and June 23, 2015, it was tested by LHS (a PKP subsidiary that operates a broad-gauge line between Ukrainian border and Upper Silesia). On one occasion, it worked the heaviest train in Europe to be hauled by a single-section locomotive. However, no orders have followed.
Main technical data
1) Until late 2019, excluding TE33AC and TEP33A.
2) Tests only.
References and acknowledgments
- www.aolkz.kz (Lokomotiv Kurastyru Zauyty website).