CN Wabtec FLXdrive loco impression

USA: Canadian National’s Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad has purchased a Wabtec FLXdrive battery-electric freight locomotive, with financial support from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Marine & Rail Freight Movers grant programme.

Wabtec’s FLXdrive battery loco is designed to work in multiple with conventional diesel locos to provide an energy storage capability, providing the train with a power boost where needed and enabling the diesel engines to be switched off or idled in yards or other sensitive areas.

Wabtec said FLXdrive can reduce fuel consumption and emissions by up to 30% and ‘help open the door to new alternatives beyond the diesel-powered locomotives used today’.

FLXdrive ‘is a defining moment for the freight rail industry, and Wabtec is proud to partner with CN to accelerate the industry toward low to zero-emission locomotives’, said Wabtec President & CEO Rafael Santana when the order was announced on November 4.

CN said the use of new forms of traction is part of its portfolio of carbon reduction initiatives. The railway said it currently uses approximately 15% less locomotive fuel per gross tonne-km than the industry average. In April the Science-Based Target Initiative approved CN’s commitment to reduce scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gases emissions by 43% per million gross tonne-km from 2019 levels by 2030, and it has committed to reducing scope 3 emissions from fuel and energy related activities by 40% per million gross tonne-km.

‘As part of our sustainability strategy to reduce freight transportation emissions through innovation, we plan to continue to lead the sector by deploying low and no carbon technologies’, said CN President & CEO Jean-Jacques Ruest. ‘We believe rail has tremendous potential to reduce the environmental impact of transportation. As a mover of the economy, CN is committed to playing a key role in the transition to low-carbon economy.’