CP’s Hydrogen Locomotive Programme will retrofit an existing diesel-electric locomotive, replacing its diesel prime mover and traction alternator with hydrogen and battery technology to power its traction motors.

Once operational, CP will conduct rail service trials and qualification testing to evaluate the technology’s suitability for the rail freight sector.

“This is a globally significant project that positions CP at the leading edge of decarbonising the freight transportation sector,” says CP’s president and CEO, Mr Keith Creel. “CP will continue to focus on finding innovative solutions to transform our operations and adapt our business, positioning CP and our industry as leaders for a sustainable future.”

Nearly all freight locomotives currently operated in North America are diesel-powered, and the sector is the rail industry’s largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions.

CP says that the project builds on its prior experience with testing other low-emission modes of propulsion, such as biofuels, compressed natural gas (CNG) and battery-powered solutions.

Since 1990, CP has improved its locomotive fuel efficiency by more than 40% through a variety of measures and technology deployments designed to improve its fuel economy and reduce emissions.

CP has confirmed that the programme is affiliated with the Canadian government’s Hydrogen Strategy for Canada, announced on December 16.