US rail startup Intramotev has deployed its self-propelled battery-electric railcar technology for the first time in a traditional freight train, installing the ReVolt technology at a mine in Pennsylvania. 

The railcar retrofit hopper has already completed over 1,000 miles of travel on the 17 mile railroad between Iron Senergy’s Cumberland Mine in Waynesburg and its Alicia Harbour terminal. 

Tim Luchini, Intramotev CEO, said: “We’re excited to deliver the fuel savings and environmental benefits of the ReVolt to our customer Iron Senergy. 

“Today’s news marks an important milestone in our work to decarbonize mining and freight transportation, and we’re just getting started.” 

According to Luchini, the ReVolt tech works similar to a distributed propulsion system in traditional trains with multiple units by providing additional propulsion alongside the main engine, while also recharging its batteries from the energy generated during braking. 

Intramotev has seen early success for its technology in the mining sector, with its TugVolt locomotive replacement also set to debut at a calcium mine in Michigan later this year. 

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Speaking to Railway Technology last year, Luchini highlighted the potential of the sector to demonstrate the company’s technology thanks to the insular railroads used for mining transportation and the available data on the amount of material being moved. 

Iron Senergy CEO Justin Thompson said: “We’re thrilled to have partnered with Intramotev to deploy their forward-thinking technology. 

“We’re always searching for ways to double down on our commitment to innovation and sustainability, and this partnership helps accomplish that in a big way.”