UNITED States Class 1 railway Norfolk Southern (NS) has awarded Wabtec a multi-year contract to modernise 330 locomotives as part of the railway’s efforts to further improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.

Wabtec will modernise D9-44CW locomotives, which are more than 20 years old, and transform them into AC44C6M locomotives, adding another 20 years of life to each locomotive. The modernised locomotives will feature the FDL Advantage engine upgrade and digital systems including Trip Optimizer, SmartHPT, and Distributed Power. The modernisation will improve fuel efficiency by up to 25%; reliability by more than 40%; haulage capacity by up to 55%; and reduce maintenance, repair, and overhaul expenses by 20%. The modernisation of each locomotive will reduce NS’ carbon emissions by more than 450 tonnes a year.

The deal is the third modernisation contract agreed between NS and Wabtec since 2015, with 950 locomotives now due to be upgraded by 2025.

“Modernising locomotives in our fleet will improve operational performance and reliability,” says NS vice-president, advanced train control, Mr Tom Schnautz. “Importantly, it will also help us achieve our science-based target of a 42% reduction in emissions intensity by 2034. Wabtec’s proven modernisation program allows us to maximise the value of our locomotives, minimise the use of new materials, and reduce the environmental impact of our operations.”