Railway firm Canadian National Railway (CN) has acquired the FLXdrive battery-electric freight locomotive from Wabtec.

The initiative has received financial backing from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection under the Marine and Rail Freight Movers Grant Programme.

CN intends to join forces with Wabtec to use the ‘next generation’ of FLXdrive technology for its first 100% battery heavy-haul freight locomotive.

The technology is expected to cut down emissions and fuel consumption by up to 30%, helping CN to achieve its green objectives.

Pennsylvania State Representative Parke Wentling said: “I am excited to see that the Canadian National’s Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad (B&LE) Company has received a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to help with the purchase of a new innovative Wabtec battery-electric locomotive.”

CN president and CEO Jean-Jacques Ruest said: “As part of our sustainability strategy to reduce freight transportation emissions through innovation, we plan to continue to lead the sector by deploying low and no-carbon technologies.

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“At CN, we believe rail has a tremendous potential to reduce the environmental impact of transportation. As a mover of the economy, CN is committed to playing a key role in the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

CN is said to be the ‘most fuel-efficient railway’ in North America that utilises nearly 15% less locomotive fuel per gross ton mile compared to the industry average.

In April, CN obtained the approval of the Science-Based Target Initiative (SBTi) for its goal to minimise scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions by 43% per million gross tonne miles by 2030 from the base year of 2019.

In addition, the company aims to cut down scope 3 GHG emissions from fuel and energy associated activities by 40% per million gross tonne miles by 2030.

Last month, Wabtec won a $69.28m (€60m) contract to supply platform gates for a metro automation project in Marseille, France.