CN to Test EMD Mainline Hybrid Locomotive from Progress Rail

Canadian National Railway (CN) has purchased its first hybrid diesel-battery electric mainline locomotive from Progress Rail to further advance its decarbonisation efforts.

The EMD mainline locomotive will be tested on CN’s mainline in British Columbia to provide insight into the potential impact of retrofitting a larger portion of the operator’s fleet.

CN continues to advance decarbonisation efforts with EMD® mainline hybrid locomotive from Progress Rail
CN continues to advance decarbonisation efforts with EMD® mainline hybrid locomotive from Progress Rail

The project is supported by the Province of British Columbia, which awarded approximately 3.2 million CAD to CN under the Clean BC Go Electric Commercial Vehicle Pilots Program.

Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation said:

“British Columbians want a cleaner, climate-friendly future, and we are taking actions to make that a reality. Our vision is to build a low-carbon future that supports key sectors like commercial transportation while mitigating the impacts of climate change and meeting our greenhouse gas reduction targets. CN’s announcement takes us one step closer to this vision, using innovative clean technologies to reduce fuel usage and pollution.”

The plug-in hybrid mainline locomotive is a first of its kind in North America. It will initially be tested in Prince George and the northern part of the province under varying operational and weather conditions.

This testing will increase CN’s and the rail industry’s knowledge of battery technology and the impact of alternative propulsion technology on mainline locomotives.

Various alternative propulsion solutions will require batteries, including hybrid, battery-electric, and hydrogen fuel cell locomotives. CN anticipates that this initiative will contribute to further developing this technology in order to reduce transport emissions.

Jack Zhang, Executive Vice President of Locomotive, Progress Rail said:

“We are committed to developing innovative technologies that save fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our EMD hybrid locomotive is a versatile solution that fits various customer applications, providing increased performance and a lower carbon footprint.”

CN is already the most fuel-efficient railway in North America, using approximately 15 percent less locomotive fuel per gross ton mile than the industry average.

Its continued investment in alternative propulsion technology is part of a portfolio of emissions reduction initiatives that will support the company in achieving its greenhouse gas emission targets.

Patrick Whitehead, Executive Vice-President and Chief Network Operating Officer, CN said:

“CN is committed to supporting the transition to a net-zero economy and proud of the progress we’ve made so far on our decarbonisation journey. We know rail is part of the climate solution and we are determined to do our part by setting ambitious science-based targets. Today’s announcement is another milestone on moving forward towards a more sustainable future.”

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