Wabtec announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Carnegie Mellon University, a top university in engineering, artificial intelligence, battery technology, autonomy and robotics, which formalizes their joint aim to create technologies that will decarbonize freight rail transport, improve freight safety, and generate greater rail network utilization. In addition, Wabtec announced an MOU with Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W), the largest owner of short line and regional freight railroads, to pursue zero-emission battery and hydrogen freight strategies, as well as increase rail utilization across North America.
The announcements, which are based on a joint vision of building a more sustainable freight transportation network, were made during a ceremonial gathering on Carnegie Mellon’s campus, attended by U.S. elected officials and Pittsburgh dignitaries. This vision consists of two parts. One consists of powering locomotive fleets with alternative energy sources, such as batteries, and eventually, hydrogen fuel cells for a zero-emissions freight rail network pilot. The second focuses on advancements to current signaling systems and digital technologies to increase rail network capacity, utilization and safety across the U.S.
To accelerate this effort, Carnegie Mellon University, Genesee & Wyoming and Wabtec aspire to create the Freight Rail Innovation Institute – the first-of-its-kind effort to create zero-emission locomotives, develop technology that increases freight rail utilization and improve safety by 50 percent, and create 250,000 jobs by 2030.
To maximize utilization across the nation’s mainline rail network, which is the cleanest, safest and most efficient way to move goods over land, Carnegie Mellon University will play a leading role in developing the engineering technologies that bring together the data, logistics and intelligence needed to optimize rail operations, while reducing emissions