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Fort Saskatchewan gets first all-electric locomotive

Fort Saskatchewan will be getting its first all electric locomotive.

Cando Rail & Terminals has replaced the diesel generator in one of their old locomotives with lithium-ion batteries.

James Mutcher, director of motive power and mechanical with Cando Rail, says that their main focus with their new locomotives is the environment.

“Part of the job I have is to look for different ways to reduce our environmental impact when it comes to our locomotive fleet,” said Mutcher. “So, I’ve been researching and following the projects that are going on, especially when it comes to hydrogen.”

“We finally came to understand that the battery powered would be the best option to meet our needs.”

Other than cutting down emissions, Mutcher added that these battery-run locomotives are also cost effective.

“There’s a reduction in costs when it comes to maintenance and energy requirements, for example the elimination of fuel,” stated Mutcher. “Also, electrical energy is cheaper, and the amount of energy that would be required is greatly reduced.”

The first of these all electric locomotives is expected to be tested in late 2024, as Cando is still working on finalizing designs and retrofitting the locomotive.

“The electrical system in a locomotive is very easily adapted to battery power. So, if this test is successful, which we know it will be, then there’s opportunity to retrofit a number of locomotives, not just in our fleet, but in other North American locomotive fleets.”

Fort Saskatchewan has already been using hybrid locomotives, which use a combination of batteries and diesel, but this will be the first locomotive to be entirely powered by batteries.

A render of the first electric locomotive.