Carbon reducing efforts are taking hold across the rail industry

What does a 100% battery-electric locomotive sound like? You might not believe your ears it’s so quiet, and it signals a monumental shift for the rail industry.

The Issue:

Rail leaders are pushing the envelope using multiple technologies to reduce carbon footprints and meet their climate-related goals. Working together, we can move fast, challenge the status quo, and find solutions that propel the industry forward.

One example is the first battery electric switcher locomotive for North America, the EMD® Joule SD40JR, manufactured by Progress Rail, a Caterpillar company.

Reducing carbon emissions for mainline locomotives is particularly challenging. Long distance freight service requires large onboard capacity for fuel storage and consistent fueling infrastructure along the way.

Transitioning away from diesel fuel to lower-carbon intensity fuels is a big opportunity, but there are many ways to accomplish this based on region, application and service type.

The Solution:

MxV Rail was instrumental in Progress Rail’s efforts to test their battery electric locomotive, applying the MxV Rail teams’ specialized engineering and railroad expertise to put this new technology through the paces and to work with a sense of urgency.

“Since the EMD Joule is a unique new locomotive, we needed to test its functionality in a real-world setting, and MxV Rail was vital to that testing. This locomotive represents a big shift for the industry and a change in how locomotives operate,” said Michael Cleveland, Progress Rail’s director of advanced energy. “The result is a powerful switching locomotive that doesn’t need diesel fuel. To the casual observer, it looks nearly like any other locomotive, however, it is delivering environmental benefits for workers, communities and the broader industry.”

The MxV Rail team has real-world experience to help solve problems and advise on how to make such a new technology work in service. The combination of the Progress Rail and MxV Rail teams, along with the secure testing facilities, provided a great environment for tuning this technology. The conditions in Pueblo, Colo., are also optimal for rail tests.

Moving Forward:

Pacific Harbor Line (PHL) has announced it is working with Progress Rail to complete a year of testing on its railway in California.

These stories of progress demonstrate how the industry – from the Class Is to the short lines, from suppliers to researchers, manufacturers, engineers, and developers – are pulling together for continuous improvement toward a more sustainable future.

MxV Rail remains committed to assisting in solving the rail industry’s greatest challenges related to safety, efficiency, reliability and sustainability. MxV Rail’s team and campus are uniquely positioned and equipped to assist the rail community in developing, testing, and evaluating new technologies in many areas of operations and safety, including alternative fuels leading to a reduced-carbon future in the industry.

“We are here to help the industry move forward in many capacities and on many topics – whether through industry-guided research or directly contracting with individual suppliers, as was the case with Progress Rail,” said Scott Cummings, AVP Innovation & Research at MxV Rail.

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