UP Inks signs $1 billion upgrade deal with Wabtec

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Marybeth Luczak, Editor-in-Chief

Pictured: Main cab of the modernized UP locomotive at the Wabtec plant in Fort Worth. (Photograph courtesy of Wabtec)

Union Pacific (UP) has selected Wabtec to upgrade 600 locomotives in a deal worth more than $1 billion, the manufacturer announced July 27.

This is Wabtecthe third major power upgrade order of AT THE TOP since 2018, covering over 1,030 locomotives on completion in 2025.

Under the new order, Wabtec will upgrade 525 of UP’s AC4400s and AC6000s, as well as 75 Dash-9s in what it called “the largest investment in retrofit locomotives in UP history.” railway industry”. They will include the FDL Advantage engine upgrade and Modular Control Architecture, a next-generation control technology that would be applicable across Wabtec’s entire installed base of locomotives. The upgrades will not only extend the life of the locomotives, but will also provide benefits such as up to 18% improvement in fuel efficiency; a more than 80% increase in reliability; and an increase in transport capacity of more than 55%, according to Wabtec. In addition, he added, each upgraded unit will reduce about 350 tonnes of carbon per year; and UP will achieve approximately 210,000 tons of annual emissions reductions from the total retrofit.

Work will take place at Wabtec’s US plants, with deliveries expected to begin in 2023. The automaker said 70,000 tons of steel would be reused and recycled, the equivalent of more than 51,000 passenger cars.

“Union Pacific is taking thoughtful and deliberate action to reduce our environmental impact and help our partners improve theirs,” said Lance Fritz, president and CEO of UP, which seeks to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions. (GHG) emissions by 26% by 2030 compared to 2018, and is on track to net zero emissions by 2050. “Wabtec’s modernization program is helping to make our existing fleet more fuel efficient, more efficient and more reliable. The resulting increase in tractive power allows us to move more freight with fewer locomotives, improving efficiency and reducing emissions.

Pictured: A retrofitted UP locomotive at the Wabtec plant in Fort Worth. (Photograph courtesy of Wabtec)

“Upgrades are a game-changer for our customers, providing the opportunity to extract significantly more value from existing locomotive assets,” said Wabtec President and CEO Rafael Santana. “By customizing these solutions for our customers and installing state-of-the-art technology, we help our customers achieve results such as increased tractive effort, fuel efficiency, reliability and grip, which in turn reduces maintenance expenses. , repair and overhaul.These fleet benefits will support Union Pacific’s sustainable service improvements and long-term growth strategy.

In related developments, four UP locomotives produced by Wabtec are now running on 100% biomass fuel to determine the feasibility of using a blend of 80% renewable diesel and 20% biodiesel, as part of of the railway’s ESG initiative titled “Building a Sustainable Future 2030”. ”. Also as part of this initiative, in January 2022 UP ordered 10 battery electric locomotives each from Wabtec and Progress Rail, a Caterpillar company, for field trials; “green” units plus yard infrastructure upgrades are expected to exceed $100 million.

Additionally, in March 2022, Wabtec was selected to retrofit 330 GE Dash 9-44CW units for Norfolk Southern, bringing Wabtec’s total Class I power upgrades to over 950 upon completion. in 2025. CSX partnered with Wabtec in June 2021 to modernize the locomotives in its fleet, increasing their fuel efficiency and reducing emissions.

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