CSX of the United States has unveiled its first locomotive to be converted to hydrogen fuel cell power. It used a kit developed by fellow Class 1 freight railway Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC).

The locomotive has been rolled out less than 12 months after CSX and CPKC announced a partnership to develop hydrogen traction last summer.

Conversion was undertaken by the CSX locomotive workshops in Huntington, West Virginia, retaining the frame, cab, traction motors and bogies of the EMD GP40-2 locomotive. “Converting an existing unit into a next-generation locomotive further extends the useful life of the asset,” CSX says.

The hydrogen fuel cell-powered locomotive will now undergo field testing to further evaluate its performance and determine the feasibility of deploying this new traction technology in freight operations.

CSX says that hydrogen fuel cells are a promising alternative to fossil fuels, offering greater efficiency and zero emissions, emitting only water vapour and contributing to cleaner environment.

“The successful debut of our first hydrogen-powered locomotive stands as a testament to the exceptional skill and dedication of our employees at the CSX Huntington locomotive shop,” says CSX president and CEO, Mr Joe Hinrichs.

“We are proud to work with CPKC to scale this hydrogen technology and help pave the way for meaningful sustainable solutions for the future.”