Meet the AMPS all-battery electric locomotive


Rail operator OmniTRAX has acquired its first all-battery electric locomotive, expanding capacity on its northern Ohio rail lines. The firm purchased the new GP9-based battery-electric switching locomotive from engine developer Alternative Motive Power Systems (AMPS) Traction.

“OmniTRAX is committed to operate safely and responsibly in the communities we serve, and AMPS Traction’s innovative technology is an important addition to our fleet and an important step for our industry”, Dean Piacente, CEO of OmniTRAX, said.

Zero emissions switcher

The new locomotive will be deployed by OmniTrax’ subsidiary Newburgh & South Shore Railroad (NSR) and is fully compliant with Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) standards.

The new NSR locomotive is a 250,000 lb unit and produces 1,700 gross horsepower and 80,000 lb dispatch. Thanks to its innovative technology the locomotive has around half the fuel costs of a comparative diesel engine and removes nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and particulate matter completely.

The product

“AMPS legacy of innovation in rail and hybrid electric power generation has resulted in their latest product, the 100 per cent battery electric IS2-70 zero emissions switcher”, a spokesperson for AMPS Traction explains. AMPS’ technology includes an A.C. traction system that is liquid cooled for continuous duty with minimal maintenance requirements and precise traction control. It is powered by a 315-630 kilowatt-hour lithium battery pack. The cab also features upgraded ergonomics with HVAC system and control stand designed for greater operator comfort.

“The AMPS IS2-70 Zero Emissions Switcher is an innovative, newly designed platform that requires drastically less maintenance than conventional and hybrid switchers and delivers a simple, clean, powerful and easy to use rail switcher”, AMPS Traction notes.

Headquartered in Denver, OmniTRAX is one of the largest privately-owned railroad companies in the US. The firm is a subsidiary of private investment firm The Broe Group and owns and operates a network of 21 short-line and regional railroads in three Canadian provinces and 12 US states. The company also provides transportation and supply chain management services, as well as intermodal and industrial switching operations.

DMTF programme

The new locomotive will be deployed by NSR as part of a strategy to improve environmental performance on its network.

In October last year, NSR received an award of 1.89 million US dollars (1.72 million euros) from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s Ohio Diesel Mitigation Trust Fund (DMTF) programme. This 75 million US dollars (68,4 million euros) grant initiative has been running for four years and provides funding to remove older more polluting diesel engines from use in priority Ohio counties. Grants cover applications for both repowering and replacement as well as a range of alternative solutions such as clean diesel, alternative fuel, and electric engines.

“We are thankful to Governor DeWine and Ohio EPA for their commitment to clean air and the grant program that has made this emission-saving equipment upgrade possible in our Ohio operations”, Piacente of OmniTRAX comments.

Under the terms of the award, the new all-battery switcher will replace a 1971diesel-powered switcher, with the grant covering 75 per cent of the cost. NSR estimates that the new battery-electric switching locomotive will reduce emissions for the operator by 77 per cent and prevent emissions of around 4.2 tons of nitrogen oxide.

Operating in the heart of Cleveland’s interstate highway system, NSR originally served the network of steel mills operated by US Steel in the Cleveland area. In recent years, the company has refocused on wider growth, developing a range of new freight services, including rail-to-truck and truck-to-rail transloading and inventory management solutions. Based in Cuyahoga County, NSR operates along a five-mile line with interchanges to Class I’s CSX and Norfolk Southern.

Author: Malcolm Ramsay

Add your comment

characters remaining.

Log in through one of the following social media partners to comment.