After the successful introduction of the Vectron Dual Mode, German freight railroading also emerged. In September of 2020, still before the German Federal Railroad Bureau had officially declared permission, there was activity. At DB Cargo, the purchasing agents were getting serious. There was a big first order at Siemens Mobility with a master agreement about the delivery of up to 400 hybrid locomotives. Initially, the freight sector of the DB gave a binding order for 100 units of the class 249. Here it was about a kind of "248 light" with somewhat less output. The level of investment for the master agreement is over a billion Euros according to an announcement of this railroad unit. With such an extensive order, particular attention is paid to the wishes of the customer. The locomotives are delivered "with specific adjustments for DB Cargo's planned range of uses". The fixed order of 100 locomotives is to be delivered as early as 2023. DB Cargo is looking forward to these new units, because they fit in well with the strategy of being "large, green, and efficient". According to DB Cargo, the environmental friendliness of the rails is being underpinned in this manner, which would account for the numbers, because the savings potential for the hybrid locomotives from the current order is annually around 8 million liters / 2.11 million gallons of fuel and 17,000 metric tons of CO2. The maintenance costs could be less than for pure diesel locomotives.
One of the first Vectron Dual Mode light locomotives built for DB Cargo was available for viewing at the "InnoTrans 2022" show in Berlin: The new class designation 249 was also therefore chosen, because numerous changes had resulted compared to the units already delivered. The 249 was thus equipped with a forward mounted brakeman's platform and switching couplers that could be folded up. This means the locomotive is a bit longer and now measures 20,500 millimeters / 67 feet 3 inches over the buffers compared to the class 248 with 19,980 millimeters / 65 feet 6 inches. The output on the diesel motor has been reduced to 1,120 kilowatts / 1,502 horsepower, while the electrical output was increased slightly and is now 2,200 kilowatts / 2,949 horsepower. The diesel tank is now smaller, which has led to a reduction in the axle load to 21 metric tons, thus allowing this locomotive to be used on branch lines. Thanks to radio long-distance control, the class 249 is perfectly usable in switching work, because the engineer can navigate his locomotive externally. The maximum speed is now 120 km/h / 75 mph compared to 160 km/h / 100 mph for the class 248. DB Cargo plans to use these new locomotives in switching work to replace the quite elderly class 290 diesel locomotives.
DB Cargo is certainly well positioned with the Vectron Dual Mode light in line with a new climate policy and the expected increase in transport by rail. People can be excited about how this unit will prove itself in harsh everyday conditions and whether foreign railroads will grant permission to use this locomotive on their lines. The outlook is at any rate not bad.