© Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC)
CPKC, CSX Collaborate to Develop Hydrogen Locomotives

CPKC, CSX Collaborate to Develop Hydrogen Locomotives

June 29, 2023
Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) and CSX Corporation plan to create kits to convert diesel locomotives into hydrogen locomotives to help create an alternative, efficient fuel for the environment.

Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) and CSX Corporation are entering into a joint venture to build and deploy hydrogen locomotive conversion kits for diesel-electric locomotives.

“This innovative collaboration expands our hydrogen locomotive program beyond a single railroad and represents an exciting next step in proving the long-term viability of hydrogen as a solution to emissions reduction for our industry,” said Keith Creel, CPKC president and chief executive officer. “Our hydrogen locomotive went from concept to reality in 24 months with the first zero emissions hydrogen locomotive having already pulled freight in revenue service. We look forward to this collaboration as we work to create a lower carbon future.”

The first step is to convert one of its own diesel locomotives using a hydrogen conversion kit, developed by CPKC.

According to CPKC, nearly the entire freight locomotive fleet of all railway operators in North America consists of diesel-powered units, representing the industry's most significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. The companies feel rail is a key to helping lower emissions and says the industry needs an effective, alternative fuel solution.

“CSX looks forward to working as a partner with CPKC in the development of the hydrogen locomotive program as it demonstrates our commitment to implementing alternative fuel solutions that could further enhance our emissions performance and offer our customers an even more environmentally-friendly transportation solution,” said Joe Hinrichs, CSX president and chief executive officer. “This exciting initiative will greatly benefit from the expertise of CSX’s advanced, large-scale facilities, where the locomotives will be built.”

In December 2020, Canadian Pacific (CP) announced plans to develop North America’s first line-haul hydrogen-powered locomotive by retrofitting a diesel freight locomotive with hydrogen fuel cells and battery technology to drive the locomotive's electric traction motors. The prototype, designed and built by in-house CP engineers, made its first movement under its own power in late 2021. By the end of 2022, the locomotive had made its first revenue moves and now has accumulated more than 1,000 miles of testing in revenue service.

CPKC has deployed a second hydrogen locomotive for testing in terminal operations, a program expansion supported by funding awarded by Emissions Reduction Alberta and the Government of Canada Low Carbon Economy Fund. The second hydrogen locomotive is expected to enter service later in 2023.