Decarbonizing Rail Transportation
Revolutionizing the Future of Freight and Stimulating Job Growth
President Biden and Congress have pledged to build a clean energy economy, creating millions of jobs while curbing the effects of climate change. With emerging technologies to enable a sustainable future, the transportation sector is at a critical inflection point. Freight rail can and should be a centerpiece of the Build Back Better infrastructure plan.
The time to act is now.
Freight 2030 is a critical path to our nation's continued success and focused on three key principles:
- Decarbonization through zero-emission battery and hydrogen-hybrid locomotives.
- Technology that increases freight rail utilization and improves safety each by 50%.
- Creation of 250,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs
Freight 2030 Vision
Decarbonizing and Increasing Utilization of Rail Transportation
To bolster the Freight 2030 vision of a competitive and sustainable North American freight transportation network, Wabtec, Carnegie Mellon University, and Genesee & Wyoming railroad propose the creation of a public-private partnership to create a Freight Rail Innovation Institute.
Freight 2030 seeks to ensure U.S. leadership in the decarbonization of freight rail while improving safety, increasing freight utilization and stimulating job creation in the transportation industry. Freight 2030 will drive breakthrough research in renewable energy technologies and propel the advanced manufacturing of zero-emission battery and hydrogen hybrid locomotives.
In addition, it will integrate advances in technology for safety and capacity improvements. Increasing capacity, means more freight will be moved on existing rail lines, which in turn means more jobs in train yards, maintenance shops and factories manufacturing green locomotives.
The goal of the initiative is to eliminate over 300 million tons of CO2 annually across the globe (over 100 million tons of CO2 annually in North America) and enable the creation of over 250,000 jobs.
The Institute will be a non-profit entity working in partnership with a diverse set of educational institutions, rail and locomotive sector stakeholders, National Laboratories, and energy technology and supply chain companies. It will advance early stage fundamental research through rapid prototyping and enable the manufacturing and testing of a zero-emissions train pulling over 6,000 tons (~50 freight cars) running for 200 miles in revenue service. The initiative will include a future of work focus to create training and education programs to support the current and future rail workforce.
The Institute will also allow the U.S. to become the leader in eliminating GHG emissions from freight transport ahead of others – including China and Europe, as well as become an exporter for the world.
Accelerating a transition to a more utilized, efficient, and GHG-free rail network is within reach.
Let’s build the future of freight rail together.
The Importance of Freight Rail
Did you Know?
A single freight train can move a ton of freight 472 miles on one gallon of fuel. A truck only gets 134 miles per ton out of a gallon. That is 1,000 gallons of fuel saved per carload.
Rail moves 40% of freight (per ton-mile) and accounts for less than 1% of total U.S. GHG emissions.
Operations and capital investment of America’s major freight railroads supported ~1.1 million jobs (nearly eight jobs for every railroad job), $219 billion in economic output and $71 billion in wages.
Bringing Together Government, Industry and Academia to Create the Future of Sustainable Rail
Carnegie Mellon is the nation’s leading university in artificial intelligence and academic research in robotics and autonomy. CMU has sparked innovations that transformed transportation, infrastructure, agriculture and manufacturing, and is at the forefront of education and future of work initiatives.
Genesee & Wyoming (G&W) is the largest owner of short line and regional freight railroads, the ‘first and last mile’ to the customer. G&W’s 113 North American railroads transport 1.5 million annual carloads for 3,000 customers over 13,000 track-miles across 42 states and four Canadian provinces. G&W is a safety leader in the rail industry and at the forefront of efforts to apply new technologies to drive more freight traffic to rail.
Wabtec is the global leader in innovative rail technologies and solutions. Wabtec has been a leader in research and rail manufacturing for over 150 years and has the vision and ability to achieve a zero-emission rail system in the U.S. and around the world. Wabtec’s 23,000 locomotives globally move more than 20% of the world’s freight. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, Wabtec operates in over 50 countries with ~27,000 employees worldwide, including over 10,000 in the U.S.
In the News
- BNSF/Wabtec BEL Pilot: The Results Are In
- FLXdrive wins the 2021 Fast Company World Changing Ideas award for Transportation
- This hybrid freight train uses 18,000 batteries to cut its carbon footprint
- Technology plays key role in decarbonizing freight rail: Wabtec exec
- Wabtec, G&W, Carnegie Mellon to launch research institute
International Railway Journal
- Wabtec, G&W, Carnegie Mellon to collaborate on new freight-rail technologies
- Wabtec, G&W, Carnegie Mellon to Launch Research Institute
- Could battery-electric locomotives become mainstream?
- Wabtec lays out plans for zero-emissions locomotives
Pittsburgh Business Times
- Wabtec seeks federal funding to help develop zero-emissions locomotives
- Wabtec CEO pitches lawmakers on research institute with CMU to explore carbon-free rail technology
- Wabtec’s FLXdrive battery-electric locomotive begins revenue tests on BNSF