March 25, 2012

CN to acquire 161 locomotives

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CANADIAN National (CN) has announced plans to acquire 65 new high-power diesel locomotives, and acquire 96 second-hand units which will be upgraded.
CN is splitting the new locomotive order in two, with GE Transportation due to deliver 35 ES44AC 3.28MW locomotives in 2013-14, while EMD will supply 30 3.2MW SD70ACe locomotives. The new locomotives will be equipped with GE distributed power technology, and CN expects 50% of its high-power locomotive fleet will have distributed power by the end of 2013.

These are the first ac locomotives to join the CN fleet. "We will harness the key advantage of ac traction - much higher adhesion or haulage ability at low speeds - in assigning the new units to heavy-haul coal operations in northern British Columbia and Alberta, where steep gradients and sharp rail curvature place heavy demands on our locomotives," explains Mr Keith Creel, executive vice-president and chief operating officer.

The additional locomotives will help CN to accommodate projected traffic growth and reduce fuel consumption by allowing the retirement of older, high-maintenance units and the cascading of less efficient mainline units into less-demanding yard and local shunting operations.

CN is turning to the two suppliers for its second-hand purchases as well, with plans to secure 42 GE Dash 8-40C locomotives and 11 leased GE Dash 8-40C locomotives, both offering 2.98MW, and 43 EMD SD60, 2.83MW locomotives. The dc traction locomotives will be upgraded to CN specifications.

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