A battery-electric freight locomotive is to be developed in the United States by BNSF Railway and GE Transportation.

The programme will see GE Transportation design and build an AC Evolution Series locomotive which will feature an overall energy-management system, including onboard energy storage.

This battery-electric locomotive will generate 2,400kWhrs of power and will be paired with diesel locomotives to power a freight train traveling from the city of Stockton to Barstow, California.

BNSF estimates that it could reduce the train’s total fuel consumption by at least 10 per cent.

Photo: GE Transportation.

Photo: GE Transportation.

GE Transportation’s vice-president of global technology Dominique Malenfant said: “Battery-powered or hybrid locomotives are promising technologies for the rail industry with the potential to reduce operating costs and emissions.

“This project will give us tremendous insight into the capabilities of battery power and the best operational methods of leveraging the technology. It will accelerate the development of this cleaner, more efficient solution for the freight rail industry.”

The equipment will be manufactured in 2019 and be deployed in 2020.

Back in 2010, BNSF, in partnership with US Army Corps of Engineers and Vehicle Projects Inc, ran the first hydrogen-powered locomotive (Pictured). This was a 130-tonne diesel shunter which used a 240kW fuel cell provided by Ballard.


Read more: Average age of Britain’s train fleet falls for first time in more than a decade