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RailPower, Mitsui Explore Hybrid Locomotives for Japan

RailPower Technologies, makers of the Green Goat hybrid switch locomotive, and Mitsui Bussan Transportation System Co. have agreed to explore the market potential for RailPower’s hybrid locomotive technology with Japan Freight Railway Company (JRF).

Mitsui will not only conduct a study on the applicability of the technology for JRF but also examine other potential users and applications in Japan. Should there prove to be a potentially viable market for Railpower’s technology then a suitable manufacturing partner would be engaged.

Japan is not dissimilar to other areas of the world where low horsepower locomotives have become old and the industry is facing tightening restrictions on emissions.

—Jim Maier, RailPower President and CEO

The Green Goat hybrid switch locomotives generate the tractive equivalent of 2,240 hp by combining a Caterpillar C9 8.8-liter, inline 6-cylinder diesel engine with a large bank of valve-regulated lead acid batteries.

Tests indicate the Green Goat is as much as 60% more fuel-efficient than conventional yard locomotives with a commensurate reduction in greenhouse gases. RailPower Technologies says its Green Goat reduces NOx and diesel PM by as much as 90%, compared with conventional yard locomotives.

In addition to the Green Goat yard switcher, the company also offers different models of higher-powered road switchers based on the Green Goat technology. Railpower recently announced the sale of 98 such hybrid and low-emissions locomotives to Union Pacific Railroad for use in Texas. (Earlier post.)

Mitsui is a 100% subsidiary of Mitsui & Co., specializing in railway- and transportation-related business in Japan. Mitsui is also the leading company working for the importation of European/American advanced technology for railway operators in Japan.



Neat. Though trains are not the biggest culprits when it comes to fuel usage from a cargo carying point of view. Semitrailers are to blame.

Tim Russell

That may be true but conventional yard switchers idle all the time. From a noise/polution standpoint railpowers locomotives are a big step forward. They have other units that combine 2-3 engines and batteries in one locomotive frame rather than run one large engine all the time. Great savings in fuel usage and polution.


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