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[GE, 8-7-09]

More than 60 million gallons of fuel a year could be saved if every train in North America were to be fitted with GE Transportation's Trip Optimizer, the supplier believes.

The launch customer for the energy management package is Canadian Pacific, which is to fit it to 200 locomotives after the success of trials with an initial 18.

The device optimises fuel consumption based on the specific train's make-up and route. It uses GPS and a digital track database to learn the train's characteristics, and can then calculate a fuel-optimal speed profile for the journey based on the train length, weight, gradients, track conditions, weather and locomotive performance.

Trip Optimizer automatically controls the throttle to maintain the planned speed, but the crew retains responsibility and can engage or disengage it at any time.

More than 500 train starts and 49,000 miles of running were accumulated during testing on three CP subdivisions with significantly different geographical characteristics.

Trip Optimizer is currently available for Evolution Series locomotives.