Union Pacific buying 20 Battery-Electric Locomotives from Progress, Wabtec

Jan. 31, 2022
Union Pacific may spend more than $100 million for the 20 battery-electic locomotives, according to reports. The historic railroad firm announced plans to reach net-zero emissions by 2050

Union Pacific Railroad will purchase 10 battery-electric locomotives manufactured and delivered by a subsidiary on on-site power equipment firm Caterpillar.

That order is only half of the overall investment being made by Union Pacific as it strives to decarbonize its freight efforts. The Omaha, Neb.-based rail giant also is acquiring 10 battery-electric locomotives from Wabtec.

Caterpillar subsidiary Progress Rail will supply 10 of its EMD Joule-model locomotives. The EMD Joules will be built in Indiana and tested at rail yards in Nebraska and California.

“We are pleased to supply our EMD Joule locomotives to Union Pacific representing our largest battery-electric locomotive order to-date,” said Caterpillar Chairman and CEO Jim Umpleby. “At Caterpillar, we’re continuing to invest in new products, technologies and services to support our customers during the energy transition, helping them achieve their climate-related goals as they build a better, more sustainable world.”

The locomotives will be manufactured in Muncie, Ind., and the first units will arrive onsite in late 2023, with complete delivery anticipated in early 2024.

Union Pacific also will buy the 10 FLXdrive battery-electrics from Wabtec. FLXdrive offer 2.5-MWh of capacity powered by 7,000 battery cells.

WABTECH also will manufacture the new locomotives in the U.S.

Union Pacific may spend more than $100 million for the 20 battery-electic locomotives, according to reports. The historic railroad firm announced plans to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

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(Rod Walton, senior editor for EnergyTech, is a 14-year veteran of covering the energy industry both as a newspaper and trade journalist. He can reached at [email protected]).