United States is the forerunner in locomotives having a fleet of 20,000 units. The locomotives have an average life span of 40 years with major overhauls done about 5 times. These locomotives have average horsepower between 2000 to 4000 units. Most of these locomotives today run on diesel or electricity.
However all this is set to change with locomotives running on batteries. Take the example of a locomotive called Green Goat. This locomotive uses energy from the lead acid battery. There is a small 100 horsepower motor that keeps the battery charged and ready until its power is required. The company that manufactures the battery is based in Vancouver, Canada and it is called Green Goat is Rail Power Technical Corporation.
The company claims that using battery powered locomotives will cut down fuel consumption by 30% and reduce the harmful emissions in the environment by up to 85%. Hence this is great news from sustaining the environment point of view. In the old days locomotives ran on coal power and they used to emit thick, black smoke in the environment.
However times are not far when you will see zero emission locomotives running all across the United States and other countries. Imagine that even if 10% of the current 20,000 locomotives in the United States are battery powered then there will be 2,000 of these locomotives and reduced fuel consumption rate will be around 30%. Then there are other areas to be considered such as increasing the passenger capacity for train based services that ply from rural areas to urban areas. Hence instead of commuting by car everyday the people would commute into trains. This can save a lot of fuel and it will get much better if the train routes would be handled by the new battery powered locomotives.