Montreal Transit Buys Fuel Efficient Locomotives

Montreal Transit Buys Fuel Efficient Locomotives.
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Montreal Transit Buys Fuel Efficient Locomotives. Image T20.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Montreal Transit Orders New Fuel Efficient Locomotives to Curb Emissions

Montreal’s regional transportation agency has placed an order for 10 state-of-the-art fuel efficient locomotives aimed at modernizing its rail fleet while drastically slashing emissions.

The locomotives, known as Charger models, will be supplied by the rail manufacturer Siemens Mobility. They utilize hybrid powertrains that reduce fuel consumption and climate-warming exhaust versus conventional diesel locomotives.

Montreal’s public transit authority, Réseau de Transport Métropolitain (RTM), plans to deploy the new Charger units across its network of commuter rail lines surrounding the metro region. The order is part of RTM’s broader effort to electrify and decarbonize its rail system.

The agency aims for the new locomotives to cut diesel emissions on its network by up to 89% while improving reliability for hundreds of thousands of daily commuters. RTM also plans to operate the Chargers using a biodiesel blend to further lower their carbon footprint.

“We are delighted to continue our long-standing collaboration with Siemens Mobility to develop environmentally friendly public transportation services for Montrealers,” said RTM chief executive Phillippe Schnobb.

The Charger locomotive represents a proven, next-generation train technology succeeding earlier diesel models. The fuel efficient locomotives have already been adopted by transit agencies from California to Illinois to replace aging diesel fleets.

Chargers use hybrid drivetrains that capture braking energy and provide power assistance to the engine. This allows them to slash fuel consumption by up to 30% compared to traditional diesel locomotives, according to RTM.

The engines also employ turbocharging, electronic fuel injection, and after-treatment systems to slash emissions versus older models. Nitrogen oxide and particulate matter emissions are reduced by over 80% in Chargers.

Montreal’s rail network serves over 177,000 passengers on weekdays, spanning eight lines and nearly 200 stations. RTM aims to be fully electric by 2040 as part of Montreal’s broader climate strategy.

The new Chargers will help RTM meet sustainability targets while improving service as it transitions its diesel fleet to electric. Nearly half of the agency’s locomotives have already been converted to electric, powered by overhead catenaries.

However, electrifying Montreal’s entire network with fuel efficient locomotives remains a gradual process, given the complexity and costs involved. The Chargers provide cleaner diesel power in the interim until wires can reach all routes. Their hybrid drivetrains also lay the groundwork for projected battery-electric conversion in the future.

The city of Montreal has undertaken ambitious measures and policies to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve carbon neutrality by the year 2050. According to city estimates, transportation has been identified as a major source of emissions that must be addressed, accounting for approximately 40% of Montreal’s total carbon footprint. Within the transportation sector, RTM contributes a significant portion of emissions from its extensive commuter rail network.

RTM’s diesel locomotive fleet and rail operations currently produce over 15% of the greenhouse gas emissions from Montreal’s public transit systems based on city emissions inventories. That is why Montreal’s climate strategy has prioritized reducing locomotive emissions through fleet upgrades and electrification.

See also: Dutch Trains 100% Renewable, Other Countries Follow.

The procurement of advanced hybrid Charger fuel efficient locomotives by RTM represents one component of the aggressive effort by Montreal officials to decarbonize public transportation as part of the city’s broader emission reduction and carbon neutrality goals. Comprehensive actions across transportation modes will be essential if Montreal aims to realize its ambitious mid-century emissions targets.

Charger fuel efficient locomotives form part of the city’s public transit electrification scheme funded by the province of Quebec. Efforts also include replacing old metro cars, adding electric buses, and expanding light rail lines. Officials state the environmental upgrades will improve transit quality and accessibility across Montreal’s diverse neighborhoods.

As Schnobb said, “This procurement will allow us to provide safe, sustainable mobility solutions while also supporting Quebec’s economic recovery.”

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