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<< Rail News Home: Mechanical

3/23/2012    Mechanical



Rail News: Mechanical

CN to add 161 locomotives to high-horsepower fleet



Yesterday, CN announced plans to acquire 65 new high-horsepower locomotives and 96 secondhand, high-horsepower locomotives.

In 2013 and 2014, the Class I expects to take delivery of 35 new ES44AC locomotives from GE Transportation and 30 new SD70ACe locomotives from Electro-Motive Diesel Inc. (EMD). The 4,400-horsepower GE units and 4,300-horsepower EMD units will be alternating-current (AC) locomotives — a first for CN, said Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Keith Creel in a prepared statement.

“Our current fleet of approximately 1,900 locomotives employs direct-current traction technology, which has served us well because of the overall favorable grades of our network,” he said. "We will harness the key advantage of AC traction — much higher adhesion or train-pulling ability at low speeds — in assigning the new AC units to heavy-haul coal service in northern British Columbia and Alberta, where steep grades and sharp rail curvature make heavy demands on our locomotives."

The new locomotives also will be equipped with distributed power (DP) technology, which is designed to improve train handling and fuel efficiency. Half of CN’s high-horsepower locomotive fleet will sport DP by 2013’s end, said Creel.

“A robust, fuel-efficient locomotive fleet is critical to CN's plan to take advantage of the traffic growth we expect in the years ahead, and to ensure we have the motive-power assets to improve the supply chains of our customers and enhance their competitiveness in domestic and global markets,” he said.

Later this year, CN also plans to purchase 42 secondhand GE Dash 8-40C locomotives, 11 leased GE Dash 8-40C locomotives and 43 secondhand EMD SD60 units. The 3,800- to 4,000-horsepower Dash 8s will be upgraded to CN specifications.

The acquisitions will enable to the railroad to retire older, high-maintenance locomotives and reassign less fuel-efficient mainline units into less-demanding yard and local switching operations, said Creel.


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