French rolling stock manufacturer Alstom has signed a product test agreement with New York’s Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) for testing the implementation of one of its environmentally friendly traction technologies.

For a period of eight months, Alstom and LIRR will join forces to confirm the viability of transforming the railroad’s M-7 cars into battery-operated electric multiple units (BEMUs).

Both the entities will also evaluate BEMUs’ operational feasibility on the railroad’s Port Jefferson and Oyster Bay branch lines.

Once validated, these units could potentially replace the diesel locomotives on the railroad’s non-electrified lines, enabling commuters to reach their destinations without changing trains.

Alstom Americas president Jérôme Wallut said: “As the United States focuses on the role of infrastructure, notably sustainable mobility, in its economic recovery, it is especially meaningful to be entering into an agreement with Long Island Rail Road to study an energy-efficient, eco-designed traction alternative that could be tailored to meet the railroad’s unique operational needs.

“We’re proud of our innovative technologies which are helping railroads around the world meet their environmental commitments and look forward to potentially bringing the first battery-powered commuter trains to North America.”

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The M-7 electric multiple units operating at LIRR were developed by Bombardier Transportation, which is now a part of Alstom after the completion of the acquisition in January this year.

The company provides solutions for cutting down CO₂ emissions and pollution, including battery-powered trains and hydrogen trains.

In 2018, Alstom is claimed to have become the first rail corporation to introduce a hydrogen train in the market, as well as into commercial service.

Alstom recently secured a ten-year contract worth $105.34m (€87m) from Houston Airport System (HAS) to deliver operations and maintenance services for the Skyway automated people mover system at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport.