The economic crisis, coupled with upcoming stringent emission norms, has constrained the demand for new locomotives in the North American market. However, with the steady recovery of freight volumes and growing commuter rail projects, demand levels are set to rebound rapidly. The revival of demand will be driven by locomotive OEMs adopting advanced power train technologies that are significantly eco-friendly as well as adhere to new EPA emission standards.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (automotive.frost.com), North American Locomotive Market: A Strategic Analysis of Power Train Technologies and Auxiliary Systems Considered by OEMs for EPA Emission Compliance, finds that the North American locomotive and power train market will require 4,500 new locomotives and about 5,600 diesel power trains by 2017. The research covers the following segments: high horsepower freight locomotives, medium horsepower switcher locomotives, medium-high horsepower passenger locomotives, and non-road power trains for locomotive application.
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The anticipation of growing rail projects in the commuter and high-speed rail segments, the steady recovery of rail freight traffic, and the ageing fleet of about 7,000 freight locomotives has stirred up great interest in the growth prospects of the locomotive industry in North America among stakeholders.
"In addition to 7,054 freight diesel locomotives in North America reaching their retirement age by 2015, there will also be new demand for passenger locomotives from 19 commuter railroad customers," notes Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst Surendar Chandrasekaran. "The growth in commuter rail projects across the North American region will fuel demand for new passenger locomotives in the initial phase of the forecast period. This growth momentum will be supplemented by the need to replace the ageing fleet of the freight locomotive market from 2015 onwards."
The market will also witness a peak in demand from 2015, as the Tier 4 EPA emission norm becomes effective, causing most railroads to execute their shelved procurement plans for new emission-compliant advanced locomotives.
EPA Tier 3 and 4 emission norms require substantial changes to power train technologies that include the addition of exhaust after-treatment technologies. Locomotive OEMs will have to innovate and introduce advanced power train technologies, such as common rail, DPF, and SCR, in a relatively shorter time frame to ensure their products are EPA compliant.
"The biggest challenge for high horsepower locomotive OEMs will be to develop, test, and commercialize an all-new power train that is as reliable as its predecessors, while adhering to the EPA Tier 4 emission norms – all in a short span of 4 years," remarks Chandrasekaran.
High horsepower locomotive OEMs must actively look for partnerships with expert non-road power train manufacturers that have Tier 4 non-road emission compliant solutions and adopt their efficient power train technologies/concepts in the development of a new high horsepower locomotive. Alternatively, locomotive OEMs must build power trains capable of running on ethanol, which effectively meets EPA Tier 4 emission levels.
"While medium horsepower locomotive OEMs will switch to using smaller, non-road power trains procured from specialist non-road engine suppliers, high horsepower locomotive OEMs will either partner with non-road specialist power train suppliers or introduce battery-based hybrid power trains to enable downsizing and reduce overall emissions," avers Chandrasekaran.
North American Locomotive Market: A Strategic Analysis of Power Train Technologies and Auxiliary Systems Considered by OEMs for EPA Emission Compliance is part of the Automotive & Transportation Growth Partnership Service program, which also includes research in the following markets: Rail Catenary Systems – Executive Analysis of Copper Requirement for Electrification across Strategic European Markets, Strategic Analysis of the European Rail Signaling Systems Market, Strategic Opportunity Analysis of the Russian Rail Market: Implication for the Global Supply Chain, and Strategic Analysis of the European Rail Electrification Market. All research included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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North American Locomotive Market: A Strategic Analysis of Power Train Technologies and Auxiliary Systems Considered by OEMs for EPA Emission Compliance / M64A