Rail technology company Wabtec has secured a multi-year contract from US-based Norfolk Southern for the modernisation of 330 locomotives.

As part of its ongoing efforts, Norfolk awarded the contract to further enhance fuel efficiency and minimise emissions from its fleet.

Under the deal, the D9-44CW locomotives will be modernised to convert into AC44C6Ms, adding another 20 years of life to each locomotive.

The upgraded FDL Advantage engine will be included in these locomotives, which will also be equipped with a suite of digital solutions, including Trip Optimiser, SmartHPT, and Distributed Power.

The deal is said to be Norfolk Southern’s third major modernisation order since 2015.

Once completed in 2025, Norfolk Southern is expected to have the largest modernised fleet in North America with more than 950 locomotives.

Norfolk Southern advanced train control vice-president Tom Schnautz said: “Modernising locomotives in our fleet will improve operational performance and reliability.

“Importantly, it will also help us achieve our science-based target of a 42% reduction in emissions intensity by 2034.”

According to Wabtec, the upgrades will deliver significant dividends per locomotive, including improved fuel efficiency by more than 25% and increased haulage capacity by up to 55%.

Norfolk’s carbon emissions are decreased by over 500tpa with each modernised locomotive.

Wabtec Freight Services president Pascal Schweitzer said: “By customising these modernisations for Norfolk Southern and installing state-of-the-art technology, we are helping the railroad realize outcomes including increased tractive effort, fuel efficiency, reliability and adhesion, which reduce maintenance costs.”

Earlier this month, Wabtec partnered with BNSF Railway to carry out a biofuel testing to boost sustainability in the railway sector.