Back in 2001 the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation ordered five Siemens “Eurorunner” model ER20 diesel locomotives in Hong Kong. Originally intended to haul freight services, the locomotives remain in service today, but solely used on works trains and transferring EMUs trains between depots.
From the KCRC media release:
KCRC to purchase environmentally friendly diesel locomotives from Siemens
9 November 2001
The Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) today awarded a diesel locomotives contract to Siemens Ltd (Siemens). At a contract sum of HK$130 million, Siemens undertakes to provide the Corporation with five diesel locomotives with enhanced environmentally-friendly performance.
Designed and manufactured in Germany, the locomotives will be put into service gradually starting from the first half of 2004, after a series of stringent testing to be carried out from late 2003 to early 2004.
Currently, KCRC has 12 diesel locomotives which are mainly used to haul freight trains and engineering trains on the railway line. With the latest design and environmental concept, the new locomotives demonstrate substantial improvement in terms of noise emission. As compared with the existing locomotives, the noise generated will be reduced by up to 17dBA. The engine is also compatible with the use of ultra-low sulphur diesel which can reduce the emission of smoke and air pollutants effectively.
Under KCRC’s contract with Siemens, the first diesel locomotive will be delivered by the fourth quarter of 2003.
The five locomotives were built at the Siemens plant in Munich, Germany, then sent to the port of Bremerhaven in August 2003, where they were loaded onto a boat for the long voyage to Hong Kong.
Siemens publicity photo
On arrival in Hong Kong, the locomotives had to be transferred to a smaller cargo lighter before they could be brought ashore, at Hung Hom on 13 September 2003.
Photo by Tai Wah Sea and Land Heavy Transportation Limited
The official launch of the new locomotives occurred a few days later, on 17 September 2003.
黃賢創 photo, via Apple Daily
With the first locomotive being put into service on 16 January 2004.
Here is the KCRC media release marking the occasion.
KCRC’s new generation of environmentally-friendly diesel locomotives goes into service
16 January 2004
A new generation of five environmentally-friendly diesel locomotives will be put into service on East Rail.
Designed and manufactured by Siemens Ltd, these new generation diesel locomotives incorporate the latest acoustic technologies and concepts. The locomotives, which cost $130 million, are the first of their kind to be introduced in Asia.
Speaking at the Handover Ceremony of the new diesel locomotives, Mr Samuel Lai, Acting Chief Executive Officer of KCRC said that in recent years, KCRC has been committed to adding environmentally-sustainable elements to its railway operations, freight operations, railway maintenance and new project development. Besides introducing quieter and more energy-efficient new trains, and building noise barriers along the railway alignment, KCRC had been taking new approaches to managing the impact of our construction on the environment. KCRC had also been making sure that the contractors of the new railway project could comply with all relevant environmental laws and requirements.
‘Today’s Handover Ceremony brings the Corporation to an important milestone in its continuous journey of environmental protection. The five new locomotives incorporate with the latest acoustic technologies and concepts can reduce noise by 17dBA and cut smoke emissions by 20% when in operation,’ Mr Lai added.
KCRC has 12 diesel locomotives, which are mainly used to haul freight trains and engineering trains on East Rail. The new locomotives will reduce the noise emitted by freight trains and overnight maintenance activities. After four months of rigorous testing, the locomotives will be put into service on East Rail starting late January 2004. They will replace five older models currently in the KCRC fleet.
Also speaking at the ceremony, Mr Denis Leung, President and CEO of Siemens Ltd said, ‘Siemens is honoured to be able to meet KCRC’s stringent environmental standards and requirements. We shall continue to innovate in our design and development of locomotive systems to better serve our clients with the most superior products in the market.’
KCRC will donate one of its old diesel locomotives, which had been in service for more than 47 years, to the Hong Kong Railway Museum where it will go on display for public viewing.
Diesel locomotive KCR 51 is still at the railway museum today, while KCR 52-55 were sold to an Australian company, who refurbished them for freight service in 2005.
Rick W on Flickr also has some photos of the KCR ER20 locomotives being unloaded from the ship.
Another photo here and here.