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GE Transportation Unveils New Evolution Series Locomotive; 17% Reduction in Fuel Consumption, 70% Reduction in Emissions

GE Transportation introduced the newest line of fuel efficient and low emissions Evolution Series locomotives, the Model ES44C4. The new model, which is part of GE’s ecomagination program, delivers a cleaner, faster, safer and more reliable alternative to the aging North American fleet of DC-powered locomotives.

Photo B ES44C4
The new Model ES44C4. Click to enlarge.

The new Evolution Series locomotive delivers significant performance improvement over existing DC-powered locomotives in three key areas:

  • Advanced traction control. Model ES44C4 delivers sophisticated traction control technology with its patented Dynamic Weight Management System that continuously monitors traction at the axles and automatically adapts to maximize performance on heavy trains. This system—– similar to traction control on an automobile—limits wheel slip at start up, on inclines and in adverse weather conditions, ensuring optimum performance and less wasted energy. In addition, this latest Evolution locomotive has a higher top speed than traditional DC-powered locomotives.

  • Greater reliability. Older, DC heavy-haul locomotives currently require frequent and expensive maintenance to keep them running, which translates to significant time off the tracks instead of hauling freight. GE’s new AC motors have fewer parts to maintain and eliminate the electrical problems that hamper DC motors. As a result, they are easier to maintain and provide a higher level of reliability, which will allow the new ES44C4 to spend more time on the rails instead of in the shop for maintenance and repairs. Ultimately, this new platform could replace the older generation of DC-powered locomotives.

  • Better environmental performance. Compared to older DC locomotives, Model ES44C4 uses up to 17% less fuel and reduces emissions by approximately 70%. Six hundred of GE's latest locomotives can displace up to 800 older locomotives, translating to an annual reduction of more than 70 million gallons of fuel. The overall annual emissions reduction from this displacement is estimated to be 48,000 tons of nitrous oxide; 1,500 tons of particulate matter; and 1.0 million tons of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway is the launch customer for this new model, and recently took delivery of 25 locomotives. GE is building the new locomotive at its Pennsylvania manufacturing plants in Erie and Grove City.

The Evolution Series Locomotive, launched in 2002 and introduced into revenue service in 2005, represents a $400 million investment by GE over eight years. GE Transportation recently celebrated the delivery of its 3,000th Evolution Locomotive.

Evolution Series Locomotives currently are operating in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, China, Mongolia, Australia, Kazakhstan and Egypt. Approximately 17,000 GE locomotives are in use in more than 50 countries around the world.



This is sort of news I welcome.

Not because it is some great and wonderful improvement but because the costs and benefits are well measured. And it is here, not coming.

Maintenance cost must be somewhat of a guess. You simply can't know. But purchase price, emissions, and fuel consumption are known.

Alex Kovnat

AC induction motors as Diesel-electric locomotive traction motors, have been around for years.

What I was hoping to see, was that GE's locomotives were using some form of energy storage, like a hybrid-electric car, to help the train up grades and recover braking energy instead of wastefully converting it into heat.


Bottom line is they need to finish the research on hydrogen fuel cell locomotives...


I suspect that a sensible sized battery pack would not store much of the energy in a 100 car train going down hill.

The economics of overhead power lines on hills would seem more realistic - at least when there is a grid nearby that can handle the demand for going up and the excess when going down the other side.

I am also sure this has been anaysed minutely

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