GE Transportation announced Monday the introduction of its newest line of fuel-efficient and low-emissions Evolution® Series locomotives, the Model ES44C4, part of the company’s ecomaginationSM environmental program. The company says the new line will deliver a cleaner, faster, safer, and more reliable alternative to the aging North American fleet of DC-powered locomotives.
GE Transportation, part of Fairfield, Conn.-based General Electric Co., will produce the new line at its Pennsylvania manufacturing plants in Erie and Grove City, Pa.
Three key performance improvements are touted by the company: advanced technology, greater reliability, and better environmental performance.
GE says the advanced technology in the Model ES44C4 “delivers sophisticated traction control technology with its patented Dynamic Weight Management System that continuously monitors traction at the axles and automatically adapts to maximize performance on heavy trains.” This system automatically transfers some of the weight from the two idler axles to the four AC-powered axles whenever additional traction is required.
In terms of reliability, the company says, “GE’s new AC motors have fewer parts to maintain and eliminate the electrical problems that hamper DC motors. As a result, they are easier to maintain and provide a higher level of reliability, which will allow the new ES44C4 to spend more time on the rails instead of in the shop for maintenance and repairs. Ultimately, this new platform could replace the older generation of DC-powered locomotives in hauling our nation's freight.”
GE’s environmental emphasis asserts, “Compared to older DC locomotives, Model ES44C4 uses up to 17% less fuel and reduces emissions by approximately 70%. Six hundred of GE's latest locomotives can displace up to 800 older locomotives, translating to an annual reduction of more than 70 million gallons of fuel—the equivalent of taking 115,000 cars off the road for a year. The overall annual emissions reduction from this displacement is estimated to be 48,000 tons of nitrous oxide; 1,500 tons of particulate matter; and 1.0 million tons of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas.”
GE says BNSF is the “launch customer” for the new locomotive, recently taking delivery of 25 units. "We are putting these locomotives through rigorous testing to determine the benefits of this new AC alternative, and the early results have been positive,” said BNSF Vice President of Mechanical and Value Engineering Chris Roberts. In the photo, four units (two at each end of the train) are seen during recent tests conducted by BNSF along the Columbia River by Wallula Gap near Yellepit, Wash. (Photo courtesy of Richard A. Olson).
In a statement, Lorenzo Simonelli, president and CEO of GE Transportation, said, “Railroads helped build this country, and this locomotive is proof that manufacturing and heavy industry can deliver the innovation that will drive economic growth.” He added, “It also provides a direct replacement option for the current six -axle, 4,400-hp locomotives being delivered today."
More information is available at www.getransportation.com.