The Canadian Pacific Railroad has successfully deployed its first hydrogen-powered freight locomotive.
- The locomotive, a modified SD40-2F freight locomotive produced by General Motors, is the first zero-emissions locomotive operated in Canada and made its first run in October in Calgary, Alberta, Trains Magazine reports.
- The railroad is still focused on operating diesel-electric locomotives in the near future but it is excited about the potential of green locomotives if the continued tests and revenue operations prove successful.
- All major North American railroads have committed to reducing carbon emissions and others are testing similar low-emissions locomotives. Union Pacific has purchased 20 battery-electric hybrid locomotives for rail-yard work.
- Canadian Pacific plans to deploy two additional locomotives by the end of 2023.
Why it’s News
Canadian Pacific’s tests are a major step forward for North American railroads, although there are major infrastructure issues and tests standing in the way of converting all major North American railroads to hydrogen.
CEO Keith Creel says that there are major steps that need to be taken when it comes to testing and scaling the viability of hydrogen-powered locomotives—especially in the cold and rugged areas of Canada. If the tests are successful, new locomotives will be deployed in local service before possibly expanding, building hydrogen fuel stations across major routes.
“It’s the perfect test bed. If you can operate there—heavy haul, cold temperatures, the most challenging operational conditions I’ve ever experienced in my career, it will work anywhere … I’m telling you this has the potential, if it proves its mettle and it shakes out in the very tough validation tests we’ll give it, it will be truly transformational for this industry. And it’s something we’re extremely proud of,” says Creel.
Backing up a Bit
As we previously reported, hydrogen-powered trains have begun being deployed in multiple passenger routes across the U.S. and Europe.
The state of California and its railway transportation agencies purchased its first hydrogen-powered trains in September, to be deployed between 2024 and 2027 in San Bernardino, Sacramento, and Merced.
German, Italian, French, Dutch, Swedish, Polish, and Austrian railways have similarly tested hydrogen-powered trains.