October 8, 2015 12:00 PM, EDT

This Shrink-Wrapped Freight Locomotive Is on Its Way to Africa

A shipment of six sustainable locomotives set sail last weekend on a 6,000-mile ocean voyage to Africa, where they will soon be in operation as freight locomotives.

James Street Media Services

The 220,000-pound Railserve Dual Leaf Gen-Set locomotives, each individually shrink-wrapped, departed from Houston on the Intermarine M/V Ocean Grand, destined for Libreville, Gabon.

The African locomotives were hauled by rail from Longview, Texas, to Houston. In Houston, Breakbulk Transportation cleaned, packed and prepped the locomotives.

The Leaf locomotives were purchased by Société d’Exploitation du Transgabonais (SETRAG), the state railway of Gabon, as part of a long-term modernization of the country’s freight-rail operations.

The Railserve Leaf uses two Cummins QSX15 gensets to minimize fuel usage and reduce emissions while maintaining the performance of a traditional switching locomotive. The Dual Leaf operates with only one genset under lighter loads, further reducing both fuel use and emissions.

“This is Railserve’s first delivery of Leaf locomotives to a destination outside North America,” said Leaf Program Manager TJ Mahoney. “In addition to its requirement for sustainable operations, SETRAG was looking to modernize its locomotive fleet and have readily available parts for future maintenance needs. The Leaf Locomotive from Railserve met those requirements.”

Railserve modified the standard Leaf locomotive design for operation in Gabon, where specifications are different from those in North America.