Written by Aaron-Michael Fox.

Last week, CSX Transportation announced a joint venture with Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) for the building of hydrogen conversion kits for diesel-electric locomotive engines. To get started, the partners will convert one of CSX’s diesel engines using the kit developed by CPKC. The conversion will be done at CSX’s Huntington Locomotive Shop.

The prototype engine, developed by CPKC in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, made its first moves under its own power in late 2021 and by the end of last year had made revenue runs and accumulated more than 1,000 miles of track testing. The second engine that will be built in Huntington, is expected to enter service later in 2023.

“This innovative collaboration expands our hydrogen locomotive program beyond a single railroad and represents an exciting next step in proving the long-term viability of hydrogen as a solution to emissions reduction for our industry,” said Keith Creel, CPKC president and chief executive officer. “Our hydrogen locomotive went from concept to reality in 24 months with the first zero emissions hydrogen locomotive having already pulled freight in revenue service. We look forward to this collaboration as we work to create a lower carbon future.”

“CSX looks forward to working as a partner with CPKC in the development of the hydrogen locomotive program as it demonstrates our commitment to implementing alternative fuel solutions that could further enhance our emissions performance and offer our customers an even more environmentally friendly transportation solution,” said Joe Hinrichs, CSX president and chief executive officer. “This exciting initiative will greatly benefit from the expertise of CSX’s advanced, large-scale facilities, where the locomotives will be built.”

According to WVCEO.com, nearly the entire fleet of freight locomotives in North America is diesel-powered, representing the industry’s No. 1 source of greenhouse emissions. CSX and CPKC believe that rail transportation has a role to play in finding long-term, effective alternative fuel sources. Huntington, West Virginia may lie at the center of that plan.

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