PHL to Test Progress Rail EMD® Joule

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor

Progress Rail, a Caterpillar company, has teamed with Anacostia Rail Holdings subsidiary Pacific Harbor Line (PHL) to test its new EMD® Joule battery electric locomotive in the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, Calif., during the second half of 2021.

The six-axle switcher locomotive will feature “the latest lithium-ion battery technology and battery management system, alongside a.c. traction and state-of-the-art electronics,” according to Progress Rail. Battery capacity is said to be 2.4 megawatt hours, for a run time of up to 24 hours, depending on charging and utilization.

As part of the demonstration project, “the zero-emission, zero-idle and low-noise EMD® Joule locomotive, capable of 3,200 horsepower in this application, will be rigorously tested in all types of service” at PHL.

“Today’s announcement with PHL builds upon the excitement our team has witnessed in introducing a new battery-powered locomotive for yard and switching applications,” Progress Rail President and CEO Marty Haycraft said. “We look forward to continuing to address customer needs around the globe, including helping meet or exceed their ambitious environmental requirements and goals with the latest rolling stock technologies.”

“PHL has always been in the forefront of demonstrating and acquiring successful new, low-emission technology,” PHL President Otis Cliatt II said. “The Joule is the first battery electric switcher locomotive designed by a major locomotive supplier for North America that appears robust enough for the demanding PHL environment. As such, PHL is pleased to have the opportunity to demonstrate this technology. What Progress Rail and PHL will learn from this demonstration will hopefully advance the prospects for zero-emission locomotive solutions in the San Pedro Bay ports.”

According to the Port of Long Beach, zero-emission cargo movement is important for the future. “We’re very supportive of this effort by Pacific Harbor Line and Progress Rail,” said Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach, which has its own zero emission cargo-mover tests, as well. “PHL is already a national leader in sustainable rail operations, and no one should be surprised to see the company take yet another step forward.”

“Pacific Harbor Line has a long history of using the cleanest rail technology available to serve this port complex,” added Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “As each of our cargo terminals use PHL services for its on-dock rail, we commend Pacific Harbor Line leadership for taking a prominent role with respect to demonstrating zero-emission rail technology.”

Progress Rail announced its development of the battery-powered switcher with South American customer Vale in July.

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