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Wabtec modernising more trains for Norfolk Southern

Wabtec Corporation has announced it is undertaking an additional multi-year order from US transportation company, Norfolk Southern, to modernise 330 locomotives.

The deal is part of an ongoing partnership, and it seeks to help Norfolk Southern further improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions from its fleet. With each modernised locomotive, Norfolk Southern’s carbon emissions are reduced by more than 500 tons per year.

The deal marks the third major modernisation order from the railroad since 2015, making it the largest modernised fleet in North America, with more than 950 locomotives upon completion in 2025.

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Tom Schnautz, vice president of advanced train control for Norfolk Southern, said: “Modernising locomotives in our fleet will improve operational performance and reliability.

“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.”

Wabtec will modernise D9-44CW locomotives that are more than 20 years old and transform them into AC44C6Ms, which will add another 20 years of incremental life to each locomotive.

The modernised locomotives will feature the FDL Advantage engine upgrade and a suite of digital solutions including Trip Optimizer, SmartHPT, and Distributed Power. The modernisations will yield significant dividends per locomotive, including fuel efficiency improved by as much as 25%; a more than 40% increase in reliability; haulage ability increased by up to 55%; and a reduction of maintenance, repair, and overhaul expenses by 20%.

Pascal Schweitzer, president of Wabtec Freight Services, said: “Wabtec has developed a portfolio of modular technologies for a variety of retrofit solutions for middle-aged locomotives. This has been done in a strategic way, analysing the fleet and needs of our customers. Our modernisation program allows Norfolk Southern to enhance its existing fleet by bringing the aging locomotives’ performance to the latest standards.

“By customising these modernisations for Norfolk Southern and installing state-of-the-art technology, we are helping the railroad realise outcomes including increased tractive effort, fuel efficiency, reliability and adhesion, which reduce maintenance costs.”

Wabtec’s modernisation program is a key component of Wabtec’s sustainability efforts. It updates ageing locomotives with customised solutions that range from simple changes like control system upgrades to complex restorations, such as the comprehensive transformation of an aged DC locomotive into an AC locomotive outfitted with state-of-the-art digital technology.

To date, Wabtec has delivered more than 1,100 modernised locomotives in the Americas. The fuel efficiency benefits of these locomotives have reduced carbon emissions by more than 1.4 million tons since 2015. That reduction is the equivalent of removing the emissions from 340,000 cars.

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