CANADIAN National (CN) has ordered a 2.5MW FLXdrive battery-electric freight locomotive from Wabtec, the first 100% battery heavy-haul locomotive in North America. 

Wabtec says the next-generation FLXdrive technology can reduce fuel consumption and emissions by up to 30%. The locomotive will be delivered in 2023 and the purchase is supported by Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) through the Marine and Rail Freight Movers Grant programme. 

“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,” says CN president and CEO, Mr JJ Ruest. “At CN, we believe rail has a 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.”

“I am excited to see that CN’s Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad (B&LE) Company has received a grant from the Pennsylvania DEP to help with the purchase of a new innovative Wabtec battery-electric locomotive,” says Pennsylvania State representative, Mr Parke Wentling. “As a member of a family that has proudly worked for Bessemer for four generations, I am thrilled by this opportunity to accelerate the future of rail by promoting cleaner and more efficient transportation.”

In April 2021, the Science-Based Target Initiative (SBTi) approved CN’s commitment to reduce scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 43% per million gross ton miles by 2030 from a 2019 base year. CN furthermore commits to reduce scope 3 GHG emissions from fuel and energy related activities by 40% per million gross ton miles by 2030 from a 2019 base year. 

An in-depth examination of Wabtec’s battery development programme appeared in the July 2021 issue of IRJ. Website subscribers can read the story here.