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Rail News Home CSX Transportation

June 2024

Rail News: CSX Transportation

From the editor: For Class Is, the future of motive power is now


By Pat Foran, Editor-in-Chief

In mid-April, CSX unveiled its first hydrogen-powered locomotive, which was developed through a partnership with Canadian Pacific Kansas City. The locomotive was converted from an existing diesel unit using a hydrogen conversion kit developed by CPKC. And there's more to come from the Class I's hydrogen locomotive initiative, as Managing Editor Jeff Stagl reports in this month's cover story.

With a goal to decrease greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions 37.3% by 2030 — and to comply with sustainability demands from customers, communities and other stakeholders — CSX plans to use motive power that doesn't emit nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and other pollutants.

Hydrogen-powered units are but one option on the sustainability table. As CSX Director of Innovation-Alternative Fuels Corey Davis told Stagl, a move to zero-emission locomotives is inevitable.

“This is the fleet of the future,” he said.

CPKC's a bit farther along on the fleet-of-the-future path. In December 2020, the railroad unveiled plans to develop North America's first line-haul hydrogen locomotive by retrofitting a diesel locomotive with hydrogen fuel cells and battery technology to drive the electric traction motors.

The prototype made its initial revenue service move by 2022's end. A second unit subsequently was deployed; two low-horsepower hydrogen units now serve customers daily in Calgary. CPKC also has developed its first high-horsepower hydrogen locomotive, which is currently in testing. Meanwhile, the collaboration with CPKC will continue, CSX execs say.

The other four Class Is have similar GHG emission reduction goals and are investing in a range of technologies, as well.

For North America's largest railroads, the future of motive power technology is now.

Mongeau elected NS chair

Three weeks after Norfolk Southern Corp. shareholders sided with 10 of the company's 13 director nominees, including President and CEO Alan Shaw, the newly elected board unanimously chose Claude Mongeau as chairman.

The former CN CEO, who's has served as an independent director of the NS board since 2019, will chair the board's Executive Committee and resign from his positions on the Human Capital Management and Compensation and Safety committees, NS officials said on May 28.

Mongeau is the perfect choice to preside over NS at a time when “the Great Experiment lives on, albeit under scrutiny,” as independent transportation analyst Tony Hatch noted in a message to his clients on May 9, the day of the shareholder vote.

Hatch coined the “Great Experiment” term after hearing Shaw talk about managing through a cycle, thinking longer term and taking a more balanced approach to service, productivity and growth at NS' December 2022 investor conference.

The recipient of our 2016 Railroad Innovator Award, Mongeau understands scheduled railroading. He recognizes the need for the kindler, gentler customer focus element that must accompany it. He understands what it takes to focus on — and invest in — growth.

Kudos to the new NS board.

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