CN purchases first hybrid locomotive

hybrid diesel-battery locomotive The Canadian National Railway Company (CN) has purchased its first hybrid diesel-battery locomotive from Progress Rail which will be tested to analyse the opportunity for retrofitting a larger portion of its fleet.

“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,” Patrick Whitehead, CN Executive Vice-President and Chief Network Operating Officer, said.

The EMD hybrid electric main line locomotive a first of its kind in North America, will be evaluated on CN’s main line in British Columbia, starting in Prince George and the northern part of the province, under varying operational and weather conditions. The testing will increase CN’s and the rail industry’s knowledge on battery technology and more specifically, on the impact of alternative propulsion technology on mainline locomotives.

As different alternative propulsion solutions will require batteries, including hybrid, battery-electric, and hydrogen fuel cell locomotives, CN anticipates this initiative will contribute to further develop this key technology, while immediately reducing emissions.

“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,” Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation said.

The purchase of the hybrid diesel-battery locomotive is a project implemented in collaboration with the Province of British Columbia who awarded approximately CAD 3.2 million (USD 2.3 million) to the CN under the Clean BC Go Electric Commercial Vehicle Pilots Programme.


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