DB Cargo is breathing new life into old and redundant BYA wagons after successfully trialling a couple of prototypes with its customer Tata Steel.
Now, engineers at DB Cargo UK’s maintenance depot in Stoke are busy converting a rake of 29 of them into open hot coil wagons – a design that has been dubbed ‘The Stegosaurus’ due to its unusual appearance.
As Tata Steel has recently seen an increase in demand for open hot coil wagons, DB Cargo UK set about exploring ways to optimise its existing fleet of covered wagons to ensure it could continue to fulfil its customer’s requirements.
The challenge was given to DB’s cross-business Wagon Innovation Group, which came up with the concept of removing the doors from the BYA wagons and adapting the coil beds inside.
A prototype was completed in early 2020 and sent for live testing with Tata Steel, but it received only mixed reviews.
So, to obtain a greater understanding of Tata’s needs, DB’s sales and production teams spent some time discussing the design with Tata and fed back some of their queries and additional requirements to its Group Technical Services (GTS) team.
Armed with this feedback, GTS went back to the design board and an improved design was formulated. This used a modular approach – the wagon ends were removed to give better access for cranes during loading and robust dividers were added into the well of the wagon, giving secure pockets for various sizes of coil dependent on what the customer was transporting.
In addition, GTS designed a set of dividers which could be swapped into the vehicles to allow the transport of steel slab. The ability to utilise the same wagons on either open coil or slab traffic will increase utilisation of the new design while reducing the reliance on older, life-expired steel wagons, as the BYAs were also some 30 years younger than the current open fleet.
The wagon – BYA 966050 – was returned to Stoke for rework, which was completed in April this year. The wagon is now out in traffic with Tata and has received very positive feedback.
A full roll-out of the MK2 prototype has now been given the green light and Stoke will convert a further 29 wagons during 2021 with the ability to have either coil or slab spec as required.
Stoke depot manager Mike Richards said: “The team at Stoke is very proud of the MK2 prototype and has nicknamed it the Stegosaurus due to the side-on profile.
“We worked closely with our colleagues in the GTS team, along with procurement for the new modular items, to enable significant improvements over the MK1 offering.”
The production line to convert all 29 wagons has now been established, with a number of additional staff recruited to fulfil the conversion.
Mike continued: “Asset optimisation is a key strand of DB Cargo UK’s new strategy, and this project demonstrates clearly that innovation and a determination to deliver for our customers is alive and well in our business.”