Union Pacific signed a historic deal with Wabtec to modernize its locomotives

Union Pacific signed a historic deal with Wabtec to modernize its locomotives

The agreement, worth more than $1 billion, is the largest investment in modernized locomotives in rail industry history.

Under the contract, Wabtec will upgrade Union Pacific’s 600 locomotives. Specifically, this will include 525 AC4400 and AC6000 locomotives and 75 Dash-9 locomotives. The modernized locomotives will feature a suite of digital solutions and innovations, including FDL Advantage engine upgrades and modular control architecture. Modernization will extend the life of locomotives. It is expected to increase reliability by more than 80%, the fuel efficiency of the locomotives may improve by up to 18% and haulage ability may increase by more than 55%. 

“Modernizations are a game changer for our customers offering the ability to realize significantly more value out of existing locomotive assets,” said Rafael Santana, President and CEO of Wabtec. “By customizing these solutions for our customers and installing state-of-the-art technology, we are helping our customers realize outcomes including increased tractive effort, fuel efficiency, reliability, and adhesion, which reduce maintenance, repair and overhaul expenses. These fleet benefits will support Union Pacific’s sustainable service improvements and long-term growth strategy.”

Union Pacific's long-term strategy is to reduce its environmental impact. The modernization should help Union Pacific support its emissions target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (Scope 1 and 2) by 26% by 2030 from a 2018 baseline, as well as achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

“Wabtec’s modernization program helps make our existing fleet more fuel efficient, capable and reliable. The resulting increased tractive power enables us to move more freight with fewer locomotives, which improves efficiency and reduces emissions,” commented Lance Fritz, Chairman, President and CEO of Union Pacific.

In concrete numbers, the total order is expected to enable Union Pacific to achieve emissions reductions of approximately 210,000 tonnes per year, equivalent to removing emissions from nearly 45,000 passenger cars.  The modernizations also support the circular economy. Approximately 70,000 tons of steel (the equivalent of more than 51,000 passenger cars) will be reused and recycled.

This deal is the third major modernization order from Union Pacific since 2018, with more than 1,030 locomotives upon completion in 2025. Wabtec will modernize the locomotives at its plants in the United States. The deliveries are expected to begin in 2023

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